34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A beautifully concise, wonderfully reasoned book,
This review is from: Letter To A Christian Nation (Hardcover)
Much as I'm a fan of Dawkins, he can seem to rant a little sometimes. I can absolutely appreciate why, I feel the same frustrations myself when talking to believers, but needless to say it will alienate those he might want to reach most, believers.
The tone of Harris' short book is measured and reasonable throughout, well written and nicely paced, a pleasure to read.
The crucial point, though, is that the logic is undeniable. For example, at one point he discusses the effect of religion in divorcing morality from the reality of human and animal suffering. Personally, I'm astonished and distressed at the thought of the Catholic Church maintaining its ban on condoms with 4,000,000 people dying of AIDS in Africa every year. He mentions this, but also discusses (p 26):
...the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is now the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. The virus infects over half the American population and causes nearly five thousand women to die each year from cervical cancer... We now have a vaccine for HPV that seems to be both safe and effective... And yet, Christian conservatives in our government have resisted a vaccination program on the grounds that HPV is a valuable impediment to premarital sex. These pious men and women want to preserve cervical cancer as an incentive towards abstinence...
That may imply that the implementation of an HPV vaccination programme would eradicate cervical cancer (obviously untrue), but the point is that because of what people believe their religion demands, they are willing to allow immense, terrible and preventable suffering. He makes a similar point with reference to abortion and stem-cell research; what can be wrong with using 150 human cells to ease the suffering, or save the life of innumerable people suffering now?
This book, deserves, needs, to be read, by everyone. If nobody is converted by it, maybe at least we can have a better quality of debate?