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Letter to a Christian Nation (2006)

de Sam Harris

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"[Since the publication of my book The end of faith, t]housands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ's love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse."--P. vii.… (més)
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On one hand, Letter to a Christian Nation is extremely unlikely to even slightly budge the audience (fundamentalist Christians) to whom it's ostensibly addressed towards Harris's way of thinking. On the other, it's a bracing and instructive synopsis of the real-world harm done in the name of religion. Harris is unflinching in his analysis, and, as the kind of moderate secularist that he takes to task towards the end of the book, it was good for me to read, even if I will never be as much of a hardliner as he is. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
Well, Sam Harris certainly doesn't pull any punches with this book. It is very hard-hitting and very anti-religion. It is mainly anti Christian in it's approach but other religions (Muslims in particular) are not spared either. Sam poses the book as a letter to Christians which systematically takes apart most of the claims of Christianity. Such as the claim that they have a unique book (the Bible) that was given by God and is more or less infallible. Sam points out the inconsistencies in the Bible, the God of the old testament being in favour of slavery, human sacrifice, (and all sorts of sacrifice) genocide, rape, etc etc. (And points out that Jesus says that the old testament is all still valid for the Christians).
He does have a few kind words for the Jains....who seem to have a non-violence philosophy that they take seriously. And Sam thinks they are much better in this respect than Christians.
He also makes the point that Christians are not the only ones who make class about having a sacred book that provides the "one true way". The Koran, for example.
It is a powerful polemic and made an impression on me. Basically, it's hard to argue with his logic. Maybe, one might think it a bit over the top...though he makes the point that one shouldn't let Christians get away with wishy-washy cop-outs ....like people in the old testament needing tougher treatment than we need today. And he makes mince meat of Pascal's wager and the goodness of God and the predictions of prophecy. (Why didn't the prophets predict the internet and some real stuff).
Will it have an impact on believers? I doubt it. Seems to me that believers are pretty much impervious to arguments. Even when they hear with their ears they seem to be able to change their thinking ...especially older people.
Anyway, I'm impressed and happy to award it 5 stars. ( )
  booktsunami | Jul 11, 2021 |
Sam Harris is precise and eloquent in his writing. ( )
  SeekingApatheia | Apr 13, 2021 |
Forget Hitchens. Forget Dawkins. This guy pummels religion with such verocity and with such crushing logic that it borders on hilarity. It is scary. I'm afraid I'm going to have to send a copy of this to a few individuals. Not you though. Get your own copy. ( )
  andy_clark | Dec 31, 2020 |
go away white man we get it ( )
  ncharlt1 | Oct 11, 2020 |
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You believe that the Bible is the word of God, that Jesus is the Son of God, and that only those who place their faith in Jesus will find salvation after death.
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Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious
You are, of course, free to interpret the Bible differently—though isn't it amazing that you have succeeded in discerning the true teachings of Christianity, while the most influential thinkers in the history of your faith failed?
I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs.
In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" of a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more that the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.
If God exists, either He can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities, or He does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.
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"[Since the publication of my book The end of faith, t]housands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ's love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse."--P. vii.

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