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 must agree with other reviews that the content of this book is outstanding. Incredibly stimulating and thought provoking. I wish it was Sam's voice that delivered this masterpiece.
Sam Harris presents striking blow after striking blow against the ridiculousness of believing ancient myths, their apparent sheltered position away from critical analysis, their hallowed position in society and the way in which critisism is seen as an attack on people, not ideas.
He adds to this the examples of faith run rampant and the effects of some of this fundamentalist faith onto the real world and innocent people.
Atheists might shy away from the usage of "spirituality" along side science when describing the analysis of conciousness but the reader need not be concerned, a rigorous scientific approach to any analysis is central to Harris' approach.
By the the greatest book I've ever read. Having a brother who went from atheist to born again Christian and the arguements we've had amongst religion and its relevantance and what not. Sam Harris has articulately and intelligently brought light to common sense ! Simply amazing
It would have probably became a better audible book if the author would have read it. Unfortunately the narration of the book it is too flat, almost devoid of meaning. It literally takes hours to accommodate with this narration style. Once and if you can get past that, the content of the book, the concepts and matters addressed are quite interesting. A bold undertake on religion and faith. This book in itself is a great acquisition.
I’m a Sam Harris fan, but Sam Harris loses me on this one. To the extent that much of his reasoning is sound, I’m lockstep with him through most of this work though am somewhat disappointed at his own confounding inability to temper a certain western bias he filters some of criticisms through. Although Harris owns some of the horrific deeds committed by the U.S. in exploiting its asymmetrical power relationships (I’m U.S. born by the way), he makes grave errors in presuming to be in the know in terms of intent of some of our nations most heinous attacks; almost excusing the untold deaths that result a tty elands of U.S. heavy ballistics, sanctions and withholding of aid. Chomsky really does best Sam and its unfortunate Harris is unable to receive this.
I’m particularly disturbed Harris’ clumsy handling of the Israeli/Palestinian “arrangement”, though in his defense, this book was authored before much of what the West has seen illuminated recently. Lastly, I’d have preferred Harris perform the narration. I will say that there are plenty of nuggets, thoughtful insights in this work and its worth a read. I’d only offer that an objective listener will not be able to help but detect some notes of bias.
His cadence, inflections, emphasis, tone, etc. are all wrong. It's as if it's being read robotically. The narration is so bad that at times, it renders it almost unbearable to listen to.
Bitter divorcee, rad feminist lefty granny. Enjoys sociological and psychological non-fiction, women's literature, mystery, YA fiction.
Intelligent, persuasive, and very interesting. If this book doesn't free you from whatever silly ideas you were raised with, I don't know what will.
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