27 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Patchy and inconsistent,
This review is from: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (Paperback)I read the book immediately after watching Bowling for Columbine and was still thinking about how fear can be used as a tool of manipulation.
Sam Harris sets out to scare. He makes valid arguments about religion but he is not even handed in his approach. Islam bears the brunt of his attack, followed by Christianity. There is some criticism of Judaism but, in comparison, it gets off rather lightly and he is simplistic in his dealing with current day problems in the Middle East. The thought of nuclear weapons being one day in the hands of the mad mullahs is indeed frightening, but no more so than the thought that one day it might be members of the United Torah Party or Israel Beiteinu with their fingers on the nuclear button in Jerusalem. The former possibility he deals with extensively, the latter he ignores. His lack of balance made me wonder if there was perhaps, some sub conscious agenda intruding from his own background.
For me, he lost it completely in the last third of the book. His apologetics for American foreign policy were not intellectually honest and his attack on moral relativism took little account of how within even one society, moral values change over time. To live in a Sam Harris world would be to exchange religious abosolutist views for those of Sam. The final part dealing with spirituality was inconsistent with his previous exhortations to base world views on the available evidence.
It is an interesting read if you want a polemic against religion, especially Islam, but it leaves too many holes.