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.
What an amazing and eye-opening read! I've read it three times already and I still can't get enough of it...
it has given me a lot of ammo against the pious. the reader was great and articulate as well which was a relief after listening to arguably essays by christopher hitchens which is also a great read.
Sam Harris has a steady grasp on the problems dogmatic faith imposes. It gets a little wishy washy at the end for my taste, but the man is learned, and his viewpoint is rational. I do wish he had done the reading himself, but that's a tiny gripe compared with the excellence of the book.
Probably not. This is the foundation Sam set down for future discussions. He came out guns blazing with this compelling, no-holds-barred criticism of irrationality. He has since turned his blunt attack into a irrefutable precision scalpel of truth.
I enjoyed this as much as "Disproving Christianity" for its point by point assessments and knock out arguments.
This Audio book moves fast and leaves you wanting more.
This book is a Rosetta stone to today's world. Once you understand the way human tribalism and credulity contribute to the worlds political and social climate, everything tends to make a lot more sense.
Great book but I am a fan of Sam Harris so I am bias. I don't think this is a book for everyone and would probably discourage the far right Christians from reading or listening to it.
As an agnostic, I was intrigued by this book and the hype around it. Harris makes many interesting points about the contradictions between faith and reason and it is apparent that this is a treatise against the hyper-religious rhetoric that was apparent post 9/11. At the same time I can't say that it is entirely persuasive because it fails to address the issue that believers are unlikely to en Masse abandon their beliefs by subjecting them to logical reasoning in the same way non-believers are going to accept a deity by giving into faith.
I love the content in this book: most of what's in here is very thought provoking, so it matters not whether you agree or disagree with the Author's position, you will no doubt walk away feeling wiser than before having read this book.
I've found myself struggling to continue, though, because the narrator's voice is terribly uncomfortable to listen to for long periods. He has a very "whiney" tone, which can be tolerated with enough desire to listen to the Author's words, but the over-exaggerated expressions used to place emphasis on some parts of the writing often bring me to skip sections or switch to another book entirely.
I wish there were an alternate narrator available: I wonder if Sam Harris himself would do it. I rather enjoyed his narration of his other work: The Moral Landscape.
If you've already read Dawkins' The God Delusion and/or Hitchens' God is Not Great, you'll learn nothing new from this book, but it's a good read nonetheless. I am a fan of Sam Harris' style, but the narrator ruins it with long and painful pauses, during which I often found my attention drifting. I recommend listening to it at 1.25x (thank you for that feature, Audible!).
A bit dense, a bit heavy on the philosophy of thought and being, and a bit dry, but the arguments are heavy and thought provoking. If you're looking for an unvarnished argument against religion, an argument made with relish and gusto, then this is the book for you. Be warned, however, it's a bit difficult to keep track of when driving or doing anything else, as the arguments can be a bit high-concept.
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