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on 25 November 2006
The basic premise of the book is that there are many contradictions with Christianity especially with how it is practiced in the United States. The assertion is that nothing has to be "believed" on insufficient evidence. This book is a great source for a logical retort to many religious claims. Read this book and pass it along to your friends. It is worth it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 26 November 2015
When any individual claims to be hearing voices emanating from obviously supernatural beings, which guide their every action, and sometimes lead them to do very questionable things contrary to human laws and against the interests of society as a whole, we call them psychotic. When millions behave in the same way we call them religious and accept them blithely into our homes, our institutions and even, on the odd occasion, thrust, ardently, into their hands, the keys to the kingdom and the very future of the planet.

Harris continues in this slim volume the start he made in 'The End of Faith', to combat such none-sense, and it is equally well written and compellingly and persuasively argued.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 August 2011
For more details, read product details or other reviews. Suffice to say this very short book is worth reading to clarify a few ideas and well up to the Harris mark. It also has glowing plaudits from Desmond Morris, Roger Penrose and Richard Dawkins to name just a few.
It may be small (96 pages) but it is full of big ideas.
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on 18 October 2015
This slim tome (just less than 100 pages) is Sam Harris's follow up to his anti-religious polemic book The End Of Faith. Written in the form of a letter addressed to the Christian majority of the USA it is a clear and concise rebuttal of the Christian faith. It addresses many of the themes which came up time and again in letters received from Christians following the publication of the earlier book, and demolishes them with simplistic ease. Tackled are such issues as religion and morality, women and religion, the origins and contradictions of the bible, and issues of fanaticism in Christianity and Islam.

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.
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on 1 May 2007
Sam Harris is an atheist, a "bright", and does not make an effort to conceal the fact - quite the opposite. He is an outspoken critic of religions, of unjustified beliefs, and of the actions religious people undertake due to or justified by their beliefs.

Just as many critics of religion before him, Harris sees religion in general and the Christian faith in particular not only as a philosophically questionable position, but as a political issue. With creationism becoming a majority position in the US and religious influence not only on US' domestic policies, it is hard not to agree with him. Same point could be made for other countries and other faiths, but Harris has a specific audience in mind - the American public.

For the most part, the book is a shortened, very straight-forward, well-written and more accessible version of "The End of Faith" by the same author. Harris leaves no doubt that he thinks the Christian faith to be fundamentally wrong, and its fundamentalist followers to be both politically influential and harmful. He is also very clear about why he thinks so. Seen as that, it is a brilliant and short essay very worth reading.

My problems with the book are twofold: First, the arguments are not very original: The basic flaws of Christian faith(s) in particular have been pointed out since at least the 2nd century CE (e. g., the theodizee problem or the circularity of faith's justification - and we still lack satisfying arguments from Christian apologists for both issues). Second, Harris does not really try to explain why this is so: Why the tenets of all religions seem so obviously absurd to everyone except their respective followers. But without really asking in depth why people belief, it seems unlikely that he will change their beliefs, nor the political opinions they base on them.

In short: Sam Harris addresses the US public, and his "letter" is gritty, clear, to the point and well-worth reading - a very good introduction to his thoughts.

But I doubt he will reach many people apart from those who already agree to him anyway (and who will find Harris' more detailed "The End of Faith" more interesting). To understand why this is so, how religions work, I would rather recommend P. Boyer's "Religion Explained", D. C. Dennett's "Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" or R. Dawkin's "The God Delusion".
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on 2 June 2008
It is sometimes said that the pen is the sharpest of weapons when used correctly. In no book I have read has this been more true. This book is a mere 90 very small pages, even slow readers will make it through in a couple of hours, and the arguments are completely devastating all the way through, I was an out-an-out atheist before reading it, and I've always been so, but this book makes the points so well that I almost felt sorry for any true believers reading it, they must be crying when they finish this, but if so, it should be tears of joy and understanding.

Challenge every believer you know to read this book.
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on 15 February 2007
I much preferred this to Dawkins' God Delusion. Where the latter contains too much of the author's own personality - including a tendency to self aggrandizement? - Harris' style is much more objective and observational. His points are made clearly and concisely - there is no meandering waffle here. If you have already read around the subject of atheism, this is a great summary of the major points of view and will inspire you to dig deeper.
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on 8 July 2012
We are, for the most part, Christians or Muslims or (name your Faith) purely through accident of birth and upbringing. It passes from generation to generation and so our "Faith" is something we grow up with and by adulthood it is so ingrained in our minds that to challenge some of our beliefs takes us right out of our comfort zone. That is what our Faith is .. a comfort zone.

Sam Harris - like Professor Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens - forces us to confront the weight of our faith-based beliefs with the weight of rational argument. Unlike Dawkins and Hitchens, though, he does it in a more straightforward and readable way. It is compelling reading, though disturbing because it is stretching our personal ties with blind adherence to Faith to breaking point. But, the crux of the matter is this: once you have gone through the trauma of the break it is strangely liberating.

The potency of Harris's book is the fact that it is addressed to probably the most pious (Christian) nation on the planet, i.e., the USA. In this respect it is an act of some bravery in a land where a large percentage of the population believe the literal truth of the Bible in every respect, from the Creation as described in Genesis, to the acceptability of killing people in defence of "God" with his blessing.

Read this excellent little book and start using the brain you were born with.
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on 22 January 2008
If you believe that the bible is neither historical fact nor a suitable moral compass for the development of humankind but have been unable to confidently express this in a debate with a 'believer' then "Letter to a Christian Nation" will suitably arm you with all the logic, reason and scripture to make your case.

It's a very short book, easily read in an evening, but is very much to the point. It applies the same reasonable scrutiny to religion as we are encouraged to apply to all other areas of science and anthropology, no more and no less. The result is a balanced, unbiased yet very conclusive argument against the existence of a biblical God, highlighting the very real dangers of religion and 'blind faith' and providing a water-tight defense of its conclusions.
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on 8 October 2006
Sam Harris says what a lot of us have been thinking, but have been afraid to say in public. In this concise book, Harris directly attacks the very foundation of religious faith.

One might expect such a book to be either mean-spirited or intentionally provacative. Christian Nation is neither, although some will exerience it that way. Harris sticks to the facts. He does not believe that religious faith, including but certainly not limited to Christianity, is good for people.

Harris is concerned with reducing human suffering and increasing human happiness. He agrees that many of the things that Jesus about love and kindness are indeed valuable and wise. He points out, however, that the bible contains much, much more than love and kindness. It contains cruelty, such as slavery, and pointless rules, such as the ban on graven images.

In the end, Harris argues, religious faith, or any belief that is not based on evidence and reason, does not make sense and will ultimately lead to unnecessary suffering.

No doubt, many good and loving people would be offended or hurt if they read this book. But that simply proves Harris' point. These people have been so blinded by faith that they cannot even consider the possibility they have been led astray. Hopefully, a good number of religious people will muster the courage to read the book anyway.
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