"read this book and wake up" write Richard Dawkins in his review of this book. Well i read the book, but i think i was more put to sleep that awoken.
The general gist of the book is that religion is evil, to promulgate this view he goes through a list of wars and sets off saying how religion is the actual root of the problem. This is troublesome since, though wars have been fought in the name of religion, many more have been fought for other things. He discusses how even non-religious or even anti-religious tyrannies are in fact rooted in religion, yes Harris states that the Nazi's and Communists are, in his words, "political religions" ... ah... now to ignore the atheistic undertones in both dictatorships (not even undertones, atheistic foundations) is bad enough but to go further and flip the coin and say rather it is religions fault is absurd. He mentions anti-semitic tendancies in church history (that should be repented of, no doubt) and states this is Christian dogma... The main critique of this is pure and simple, Jesus was Jewish... Even Martin Luther, a theologian who in latter days was anti-semitic even wrote a treatise defending the Jews in his youth stating that Jesus was infact Jewish and you cant seperate Jesus from the Old Testament. More so, Communism he states its religious like worship of Stalin, But isn't communism foundationally atheistic, werent thousands or more Christians persecuted.
In discussion on free will is deeply contradictory to who his understanding of consciousness, in the essence that he's a materialist when it comes to free will, but not gives the impression (discussion with a supporter of his hasnt contradicted this statement but to be safe, Ill say the impression is given rather than a statement made) that he believes ideas are apart from us, this derives from his support of Eastern religions.
He does a Dawkins and discusses some Christian speakers, one Catholic speaker who was claiming that the death sentence for crime was a New Testament idea and quotes St. Paul. This speaker is dangerously wrong and contradicts his pro-life belief. The quotes (3 words were quoted, are completely misused and ignores that Christians were infact getting executed for their faith (including Paul himself) and wanted pushing for people to come know God, why would he push for death sentences... The blame, needs to be predominantly on those Christians who abuse the bible to push for their political agenda, but Harris is at fault as well, for setting up these guys as following true Christian ethic.
He quotes the Quran as well, I dont know the Quran so I cant say if he's right or wrong and I would encourage someone who does to state wether Harris is right or wrong.
This is book and other of a similar nature have spawned out of 9/11, now its need to be pointed out that one religion has connections to this, not all of them.
If you're going to read this book, do background research. Dont accept what he's saying to be true without critically thinking about it. This book could one day be an anti-religious tract, which could push for the persecutions of believers.
I would beg you on this, that the Christian understanding of the Christian scriptures is wrong and is seen as a mere rule book for today. The bible is a historical book, and alot of the laws he quotes are for a particular time and place (i.e., for the Isrealites thousands of years ago) and in the New Testament, alot of these issues are resolved. Jesus came to save people because they couldnt keep any of the law, not even the moral law. We all have failed that.
If you have read this far, I thank you and I hope if you do read this book, i hope i have given a good review of it.