In response to his award-winning best seller The End of Faith, Sam Harris received thousands of letters from Christians excoriating him for not believing in God. Letter to A Christian Nation is his courageous and controversial reply. Using rational argument, Harris offers a measured refutation of the beliefs that form the core of fundamentalist Christianity. Addressing current topics ranging from intelligent design and stem-cell research to the connections between religion and violence, Letter to A Christian Nation boldly challenges the influence that faith has on public life in the United States.
Don't miss Harris' The End of Faith.
©2006 Sam Harris. All rights reserved; (P)2006 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
This book resonated for me as few before, but I've yet to see any comments on the reader, Jordan Bridges. This is among the finest and most engaging readings of a any work I've acquired. While not perfect, Bridges hits Harris' tone and intent time after time, matching him almost note for note. At times angry, sarcastic, witty, emotive and always passionate, this is a very fine effort that deserves recognition and respect. I hope we are lucky enough to hear Harris' next work read by Bridges.
Sam Harris has written this short work as a follow-up to his earlier book THE END OF FAITH (also available now from Audible).
Although titled in a way that suggests that christianity is the target of Harris' analyses and arguments (or, of that christian variant that insists the USA is, or should be, a "christian nation") don't let that mislead you.
It is actually a hyper-rationalist critique of religion in general, christianity simply providing the framework for structuring the arguments.
The work is well read and sufficiently short (a bit under two hours) that most would probably benefit from listening two or three times, at least to have given all the arguments a fair hearing.
An enormous amount of material is covered in the book and it would be no surprise to find that one argument or another triggered so emotional a reaction in the listener that portions of subsequent material were missed.
The book is a challenge to the religious, a challenge to apply the same rationality to religion and religious beliefs that we commonly apply to all other aspects of our world and lives.
Give this work a serious listen and you'll never deserve to be targeted by Socrates' "The unexamined life is not worth living"
This is a great book, but should not have been necessary. The End of Faith should have been sufficient and I recommend starting there. If you are not prepared to put in the extra time, then this is the one for you.
Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction audiobook addict.
Letter to a Christian nation, as the title suggests, is written as a letter to a Christian nation i.e. the United States. The reader should not expect to find any original critique. What makes this book special is Sam Harris ability to deliver arguments in an extremely forceful and clear way.
He begins the book with some important premises which many religious people simply do not think about or have repressed. For instance, either God exists or he doesn't. If the Christian God exists (as he is described in the bible) then the Muslims are wrong and the other way around. Indeed if the Christians and the bible is correct then all Muslims (and Hindu, Buddhists, pagans etc) will go to hell.
If you believe that the bible is the word of God then you must believe the above and you must also advocate the stoning of people who work on Sundays etc. Ok, you say, but we shouldn't take it literally, fine, but then how do we interpret it, and how do we know which interpretation is the right one? Also if a divine being wrote the Bible is it too much to expect him to reveal a few secrets about the universe, like how to cure cancer or how electricity work or whatever. It seems that whoever wrote the bible did not know more than the average person at the time the bible was written. It would also have been nice if God or Jesus had said that slavery was wrong instead of letting us reach that interpretation two millennia (and many many slaves) later.
This was just one example out of a dozen or so arguments that Harris brings up suggesting that God does not exist or that if he does he is not a very nice creature. Because it is short, clear and very accessible this ranks among the best books I have read in this category. Highly recommended.
It's really difficult to argue with Harris in this simple, very compelling essay. Anyone in the secular community would be wise to read/listen to this book, and perhaps more than once.
Harris' appeal to the Christian masses is both poignant and respectful. Without using straw men, he clearly articulates some of the major issues with religion and its effects on modern day life. Throughout his letter he remains appropriately considerate of his thoughts' potential shortcomings, which is a refreshing change from the arrogance of some other notable atheist scholars.
This is a very important work and is something everyone should listen to.
Sam Harris gets my vote for the bravest man in America and the most rational, too.
No body likes athiests; they are reviled by all. Yet Sam Harris has stood up and said enough already with God, with all religions. He poignantly argues his point that religion isn't working so maybe we should try something else...how about reason. He says that no one has ever died from too much knowledge or reason.
This work is concise. He gets straight to the point and doesn't waste your time. I agree with the other reviewers who say that this should be required reading (and thinking) by all. We need a different paradigm in which to see the world if we are going to move forward. Sam Harris provides a new paradigm and is thinking outside the box. Are we going to continue our insane wishful thinking or are we going to make a change in time to save ourselves and to progress?
This is like a "God Delusion" pared down and easy to listen to. It was well written, excellent narration. Cuts to the chase. I've already listened to it twice and will listen to it again from time to time to get a refresher.
After publishing his best-seller "The End of Faith," Harris received thousands of letters from Christians across the country challenging his viewpoint and admonishing him for not believing in God. This little book (1hr 56min, unabridged) is his courageous rebuttal to a near Christian-majority population. Instead of "lashing out" against his fellow countrymen for their difference of opinion, Harris calmly and in a straight forward manner, questions the very mindset of Christians. Especially intriguing, was the way he walks the Christian reader through a direct comparison of how they undoubtedly feel about the beliefs of Muslims and other religious groups, and then points out how these others "believers" undoubtedly feels exactly the same way about the Christians' beliefs. This is a very fast and easy read, worth the 2 hours.
Overall ... "Highly recommended if your interested in opening your mind to how others see your own beliefs (or lack there of)."
In Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris very succintly lays out the dangers of religious dogma. It contained many of the same points as 'The End of Faith,' but is much more focused. I'd recommend that people start with Letter to a Christian Nation and then read End of Faith if they'd like to get deeper on any of the topics.
"The middle ground of the extreme perspective"
The presentation and tone of this book occupies the middle ground between Dawkins at one extreme and Hitchins at the other. Dawkins with his subtle humour and erudite delivery and Hithins with his cut and thrust 'take no prisioners' approach. Harris by contrast exhibits characteristics of both without straying too far into either.
This is the book I would recommend as a concise, compact, accessible demolishion of the religious world view. It touches on all the main points of contention without too much unnecessary digression that might serve to distract from the feeling of momentum that his argument generates.
"Not easy listening for religious types"
...but they probably will not even try, which is the pity with this type of book. Sam Harris is thoughtful, clever, funny and scary. It might seem expensive for only 1 hour 56 mins - but I think you'll want to listen to it twice.
"A useful summation of Bill Hicks position"
The comedian Bill Hicks once said "Folks, it's time to evolve. That's why we're troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything's failing? It's because, um – they're no longer relevant. We're supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right?"
Sam Harris presents the reasoning behind Bill's statement. I'm grateful for that. And I miss Bill.
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