Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behavior and sometimes heinous crimes. He asserts that in the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, the world can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another. Most controversially, he argues that the we cannot afford moderate lip service to religion - an accommodation that only blinds us to the real perils of fundamentalism.
While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris also draws on new evidence from neuroscience and insights from philosophy to explore spirituality as a biological, brain-based need. He calls on us to invoke that need in taking a secular humanistic approach to solving the problems of this world.
©2007 Sam Harris; (P)2004 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
I'm an avid listener always searching for another good book and willing to share my thoughts with a pithy review.
It's a very provocative read. If you question your faith, this book may help you understand why. The dogma associated with faith extracts a price. Should you continue to pay that price in hopes you will avoid the fires of hell? Or should you just chuck it, and do the best you can without buying into the religious stories that defy common knowledge. Those who blandly accept faith will cringe when the author confronts religion. And even those who are open minded will be shocked at the price we often pay for clinging to faith.
As technology advances and provides weapons of mass destruction to more and more people, we can find ourselves at the mercy of a religious group whose religion requires them to kill anyone who doesn't choose to respect their religion. Sound familiar?
Just as other ancient practices (e.g. alchemy) have been abandoned...modern day religions may suffer the same fate as modernity begins to overtake the old religious books that many quote, few read and most don't understand.
No one knows if anything happens after death. But a lot of people are willing to do some pretty awful things in an effort to avoid what they think might happen.
Books on tape are awesome! Audible sometimes sucks because it won't let you purchase Audiobooks after you already ordered them!
This is a must read for anyone looking to get to the bottom of spiritual dogma. The examples sited in this book in conjunction with the confidence in which it is presented makes this an instant classic and a great guide to non faith based life. Thank you again Sam.
Could not make it through a few minutes of this book. Sounded like captain kirk (star trek) was the inspiration for the narrator. Maybe will try reading instead of listening to this book.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is not really about the end of faith, but the author’s post 9-11 justification for the preemptive destruction of those he fears.
I agree with much, if not most, (actually almost everything) of what is presented in The End of Faith, nevertheless I was uncomfortable with a few of the author’s blind spots, allowing him to seriously justify preemptive violence against his “enemies”.
This is not rationalism, not an author searching for truth, but instead a long rationalization for violence born of fear. The author’s fear is palpable on nearly every page. This may not be noticeable to many just now, as fear saturates much of west post 9-11. This book seems to be a visceral (and understandably human) reaction to 9-11. While it does address the obvious historical atrocities perpetrated by western religions, much of the book explains why we should fear Islam and might need to kill them for their dangerous beliefs.
The author seems to show no interest in understanding the nature of his enemy, merely repeatedly justifying his fear of them. Harris indicates he does not know how we might win the war on terrorism. The answer is simple to anyone who has studied military history, you win when your advisory loses the will to fight. Loses the will to fight. This seems to be the bases of his fear. That his enemy will never lose the will to fight.
The author fails address some key questions:
If religion is such a hindrance to human happiness, why is it ubiquitous in successful societies? I am not at all religious, but, without fully understanding the purpose of religion I hesitate to declare the end of faith.
The author spends much of the book pointing out the violence intrinsic to Islam, yet he clearly knows western religious underpinnings are every bit as violent. This raises another question; why have western religions recently become less overtly violent? The author seems to claim western societies are “ahead of” (more civilized than, more advanced than, better than) Islamic societies. But the author does not seem to seriously consider why this is the case.
This is not a bad book, but the best parts have been done better elsewhere, and the fear based parts are sad.
The narration is not at all bad, but the emphasis seemed a bit exaggerated for the material.
I enjoyed this book very much but I have to say I liked The god Delusion and God is not great much more...I guess it really depends on what style you like more...Over all I think it makes a good addition to any library and I would highly recommend it.
Billy Dennis Jr
But when he got into a comparison of Western versus Eastern religions, I lost a lot of respect for the author. For instance, when he stated that Christianity is better than Islam because former President Bush would not indiscriminately kill 3000 Muslims as they did to us, it shows his bias. But until then, I was right with him!!!
If your religion is built on such a solid foundation, it should withstand you (or anyone) questioning it. This book is a great place to start doing that. It makes great points that (if you are truly objective) can help people erode the effects of the brainwashing they received since the age of two (including myself). That said, I think the book would be more enjoyable if he had used more common terminology instead of sounding like he was trying to show off his intellect through the overuse of "big words." I know what they mean...it just made for a less smooth listen. Overall, though, he makes excellent points that need to get across to more human beings.
I cant believe that people with readonable minds are so outnumbered by idiots. I'm very happy that authors like Mr.Harris are out there giving science and reason a voice. This should be required reading for all kids in the 8th grade. Keep it up Sam!!!
This is an essential read for anyone concerned about the future of humanity and some if the biggest Business in the way if or progress, safety and chained
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