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Paperback Letter to a Christian Nation Book

ISBN: 0307278778

ISBN13: 9780307278777

Letter to a Christian Nation

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Book Overview

From the new afterword by the author: Humanity has had a long fascination with blood sacrifice. In fact, it has been by no means uncommon for a child to be born into this world only to be patiently and lovingly reared by religious maniacs, who believe that the best way to keep the sun on its course or to ensure a rich harvest is to lead him by tender hand into a field or to a mountaintop and bury, butcher, or burn him alive as offering to an invisible...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

In Favor Of A Rational Outlook

This brief volume wastes no time in getting to the point: Christianity is what it claims to be, or it isn't. There is no middle ground in this debate. Believers are convinced that their faith is true and valid. Harris brings up many inconsistencies from both the Old and New Testaments that point to a man-made origin for Christianity, rather than the divine beginning we've all been taught. And his arguments are oftentimes very pointed and difficult to refute, logically. Emotionally, many believers will oppose it because it doesn't present the conventional view of Christianity. Indeed, many of the "reviews" here are testament to the hostility of many believers towards Mr Harris. But he uses the Bible's own words in much of his reasoning. In other places, he resorts to logic, an example of which I'll quote here: (speaking to his Christian audience regarding atheism) "The truth is, you know exactly what it is like to be an atheist with respect to the beliefs of Muslims. Isn't it obvious that Muslims are fooling themselves? Isn't it obvious that anyone who thinks that the Koran is the perfect word of the creator of the universe has not read the book critically? Isn't it obvious that the doctrine of Islam represents a near-perfect barrier to honest inquiry? Yes, these things are obvious. Understand that the way you view Islam is exactly the way devout Muslims view Christianity. And it is the way I view all religions." While many believers will see this as an assault on their religion, I submit that Christianity is strong enough to stand up to a little criticism and scrutiny. If your faith is so fragile that it crumbles under Harris' thrust, then it wasn't very robust to begin with. But I think that Harris does a very good job of presenting a format for believers to examine their beliefs and gain some perspective regarding their religion in comparison to other faiths and to those who don't adhere to any faith. Highly recommended.

Dark Ages Thinking PERFECTLY Debunked

This is maybe the best articulation of why dogmatic religion is such an obscene manifestation of human discourse. Harris does a better job of laying out the issues than anyone else I've read in the defense of scientific humanism and true morality. His discussions of Christian opposition to stem cell research and their other medieval moral crusades are perfectly contrasted to the morality of objective reason. If anyone doubts that we are in the midst of a moral crisis in America, Harris reveals fully and logically why the Christian agenda in particular and religions in general are such a bane to modernity and a free and progressive society. At heart, his logic points to the fact that fundamentalist Christianity, and in fact all religion, tacitly supports extremism and by extension supports the efforts of Islamic terorists to blow up whomever they please in their effort to bring on the apocalypse. A great point in the book is when he asks Christians to consider why they reject Islam as the true faith and then to consider how it feels to be an atheist with regard to all faiths. I love this book. A sample: "One of the most pernicious effects of religion is that it tends to divorce morality from the reality of human and animal suffering." Amen, brother! "Religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are not--that is, when they have nothing to do with suffering or its alleviation." Right on! His discussion of the "Ten Commandments" is absolutely stellar. Half of them are nothing but theological commands! Why would we ever want them etched in marble and placed in a court house. Harris's discussion of Christ's philosophy is also refreshing. The ideas in the New Testament are nothing new, as he points out, and they are not even that well articulated. Socrates, the Jains, the Taoist Chinese, the Zen Buddhists, and many others said the same things in a better way and with more consistency. You have to ask, why did Jesus find it necessary to threaten people? Highly recommended book to those who think freely and who seek reason as a guide to life. Not recommended for the religious, as the power of logic in this little book will likely unhinge your delusional received world view. Bravo!

Follow up to End of Faith

Sam Harris received a lot of criticism for his book, "End of Faith." There were also people who believed he was speaking about Islam rather than the group of Abrahamic religions. This book is directed at the Christian majority of the United States and adresses the group directly. The book is very short, so it takes a couple of hours to read at the most.

Letter to a Christian Nation - Special Delivery

"Letter to a Christian Nation" is a rallying cry to rationalists everywhere and should serve as a wakeup call to retrograde Christians eagerly toiling away to displace science with magical thinking, overturn a woman's right to choose, relegate gays and lesbians to second class citizenship, or ensure the apocalypse. Harris presents concise arguments with lucidity, brevity and impact. If you haven't read his prior book "The End of Faith" the thesis of "Letter to a Christian Nation" will be startling and new. If you have, this worthy distillate of his prior work specifically focuses on the fundamentalist follies and foibles of America's cleverly marketed McJesus movement. With deft strokes Harris pens a number of reasons not to be a Christian - or religious at all. He exposes the unreasonableness of faith, explaining with clarity and philosophical rigor why there is no real justification for believing in God, and how the notion of "faith" does little to justify any unfounded belief, or merit respect for same. Moral arguments come next as Harris, using examples ranging from Mother Teresa to the hatred of homosexuals, demonstrates that the Christian value system easily leads to ethically repugnant behavior - despicable in principal and practice because of the widespread and very real human suffering it creates. Christianity's maniacal obsession with people having sex is revealed as morally destitute - religious right political mandates that keep condoms out of Africa only increase the staggering AIDS death toll. Earlier this year Christian luddites unsuccessfully attempted to block the life saving Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, which will prevent many cases of cervical cancer because - in their twisted moral calculus - it might lead to teenagers having a little more sex. In this latter case what is deeply evil - immoral doesn't begin to describe it - is that Christians have decided that dying of a preventable disease is the price teenagers should pay - their punishment for a capriciously and arbitrarily defined concept known as sin - for daring to enjoy each other's bodies. Harris never holds back and isn't afraid to offend his intended audience. After a through debunking of the fraudulent anti-evolution ideology that has become a litmus test for the Christian Young Earth Creationist (YEC) claque, he concludes by bluntly stating that those who don't accept evolution on the facts are ignorant at best, delusional or dumb at worst. In a world where people are killed every day because they hold different views about which internally inconsistent and ultimately incomprehensible book God supposedly wrote, and mail-order ministers or medieval mullahs impose the ravings of bronze to iron age mystics on impressionable children, scientific marvels save and improve countless lives every day - what excuse is their for belief in a God who slaughters innocent children by the tens of thousands in tsunamis, or the global genocide euphemistically glorifi

An Unborn-Again Christian's Thoughts

I was a born-again Christian and I would argue with anyone who didn't believe in Jesus like I did. I had issues trying to decide whether Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell was more divine. Last year, my faith was temporarily breached after reading "The Da Vinci Code", because I naively thought it was about the art of burglary. I recovered after a few days and everything seemed to be back to normal, until last week when a friend of mine couldn't stop talking about "Letter to a Christian Nation". I was shocked, but my curiousity got the best of me and I reluctantly asked him if I could borrow it. I looked at the cover, slowly opened the book, and by the time I reached page 9, I was hooked. Ninety pages later, I had lost my faith completely. Initially I hoped it was only temporary and I would recover from the lapse in my belief (even if it was not based on proof), but now I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I can't go back to tithing and praying for forgiveness because I'm worthless compared to Jesus, or feeling guilty about practically everything that I've ever done. I like the feeling that I'm in control of my own destiny. Sam Harris points out the negative aspects of the Christian Coalition and other religious extremists who won't tolerate any doctrine except their own. Religion once had an important purpose and many people still need it, but it has been abused in order to control people. Christians have certainly killed in God's name throughout history and in this respect, they are no different than radical Muslims.
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