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Letter to a Christian Nation Hardcover – 19 Sep 2006
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"I dare you to read this book... it will not leave you unchanged. Read it if it is the last thing you do" (Richard Dawkins)
"Sam Harris's elegant little book is the most refreshing and wonderful source of ammunition for those who, like me, hold to no religious doctrine... Read it and form your own view, but do not ignore its message" (Roger Penrose)
"Sam Harris is a brave, intelligent, clear-sighted author whose brilliant essay should be read by every adult who has ever believed that a religious faith can solve the world's problems" (Desmond Morris)
"Harris and (Richard) Dawkins both share a wonderfully refreshing refusal to parse their language into more saccharine statements... Guaranteed to enrage all but the most delusional theist" (Irish Independent)
"Harris picks apart the very seams of Christian belief in such a convincing fashion that any shred of belief I had has now been obliterated. This is a good thing. We only get one life - why waste one minute of it on mumbo jumbo" (London Lite) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
A hard-hitting polemic against religious fundamentalism - Foreword by Richard Dawkins --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There is nothing new here for a long-standing atheist but it's well-expressed and flows quite well, even between unconnected arguments.
For a Christian, I can imagine this might make uncomfortable reading. And the only reason I haven't given this 5 stars is the fact that I felt uncomfortable with Harris' last minute diatribe against the Muslim world, some of which felt over-the-top and unnecessary to the point of the letter.
For the most part, an excellent introduction to Christians as to what atheists think about their religion and why we can't believe what they believe.
Most head-in-the-sand Christians won't read anything that would challenge their faith but I would hope that a simple, short book like this would make that simple task more feasable. By reading this book, a Christians would certainly have some questions and be forced into a bit of thinking. But if their faith is genuine, honest and real why fear this?
Surely they'd come out the other side with a deeper, stronger faith.
I'd certainly applaud Harris for going out of his way for making it as easy as possible for a Christian to challenge their beliefs - a crucial part of any objective thinking.
Harris makes some excellent points. Among them:
1. Four of the most revered Theologians Augustine, Aquainus, Calvin and Luther were mad men who advocated torture and all sorts of hardship.
Does this mean that the Joe average Christian, who one would assume would abhor such perniciousness, can understand scripture better than the most influential thinkers in the history of Christianity?
2. Objections to stem cell research from hardline Christians is preventing research into the most promising science that offers hope to so many cruel and life debilitating ailments.
3. The problem of evil - how could a loving God preside over such a cruel world. Theodicy cannot answer this.
4. The number of world conflicts emanating from regions with disparate religious groups:
- Palestine (Jews V Muslims)
- Balkans (Orthodox Serbians V Catholic Croatians V Bosian Muslims)
- Northern Ireland (Protestants V Catholics)
- Kashmir (Muslim V Hindus)
- Sudan (Muslims V Christians and animists)
- Nigeria (Muslims V Christians)
- Ethiopia (Muslims V Christians)
- Ivory Coast (Muslims V Christians)
- Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists V Tamil Hindus)
- Philippines (Muslims V Christians)
- Iran and Iraq (Shiite V Sunni Muslims)
- Caucasus (Orthodox Russians V Chechen Muslins, Muslims Azerbaijanis V Catholic and Orthodix Armenians).
It can't all be a coincidence. Surely there's something dangerous about religion that any rational person should be able to observe.
Is the Bible a fail safe guide to morality? It certainly has some extremely disturbing passages such as stoning your bride to death if she is not a virgin.
Is Christianity the number one religion for love and compassion? Even a cursory examination of Jainism would show that not to be the case.
But why are so many Christians adamant they have the moral highground, the truth and pretty much everything you need unless you are one of them?
It really is a great little book.
I have bought more copies of this book than any other as I regularly give copies to friends and family members, as I am that confident that their lives would be bettered by considering the issues it raises.
A copy of this book should reside in every hotel room across the Western world.
It is a very well constructed argument based on common sense and scientific fact, and in my opinion demonstrates perfectly that those less schooled in the origins and doctrines of their own faith are most often the most fanatical believers. If you are a person of faith then you owe it to yourself to read this book with an honest and open mind to at least see the other side of the argument in order to have a balanced view.