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The End of Faith | [Sam Harris]

The End of Faith

Here is an impassioned plea for reason in a world divided by faith. This important and timely work delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Here is an impassioned plea for reason in a world divided by faith. This important and timely work delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world.

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 Members Say

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4.3 (682 )
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  •  
    William New Orleans, LA, United States 09-17-10
    William New Orleans, LA, United States 09-17-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Good book, bad narrator"

    Great book, good ideas. Wish Sam Harris had read it himself. The narrator doesn't seem to be able to inflect and give proper emphasis to Sam's words.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey D. Stanaway Seattle, WA USA 12-17-10
    Jeffrey D. Stanaway Seattle, WA USA 12-17-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Good book ruined by poor narration"

    I really think that I would have enjoyed this book had the narrator been good or had I read it on paper. Sam Harris makes solid arguments and I like his writing style, but the narrator was atrocious. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and I have yet to encounter a book so throughly ruined by bad reading: stilted affectation, odd emphases, and a cadence so strange that I could barely decipher sentence structures. Overall, this book was a chore to get through. Do yourself a favor and buy this book on paper.

    I want to add a note about the Islam bashing mentioned by several other reviewers. This book is critical of Islam, but I don't think that it's unfairly critical. Sam Harris is making an appeal for sanity and, in today's world, Christianity and Islam are the two greatest sources of insanity. So, from my perspective, he could have fairly been more critical of Christianity, but that doesn't mean the book is filled with unfair Islam bashing.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Reno, NV, United States 08-04-13
    Mark Reno, NV, United States 08-04-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Easy to misinterpret"
    Any additional comments?

    A brilliant discussion of why faith (belief in something you can’t prove) is incompatible with a world brimming with weapons of mass destruction. I'd stopped reading this after a couple of chapters when the book came out years ago because Harris said something that angered me. Since then, he’s found himself frequently explaining how people misinterpreted that part (allegedly saying Islam should be outlawed; he also has pointed out misinterpretations about the part involving a nuclear first strike on the Middle East). So I decided to try it again since I've enjoyed his subsequent books, especially “The Moral Landscape.” And, yep, I didn’t fully grasp what he was saying. This is a deeply thought-provoking book. I especially liked his takedown of Chomsky on moral equivalency.

    The narrator is boring and robotic at first but either he becomes more invested in the text as it goes along or I got used to him so that about a third of the way through, his delivery didn't grate anymore.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Byron Venice, CA, USA 01-13-09
    Byron Venice, CA, USA 01-13-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Excellent pace and arguments make for a great read"

    From historical atrocities to modern atrocities, from Judaism to Christianity to Islam, from terror to charity, Harris makes the case that religion is not just wrong, it's dangerous. He offers an alternative: rational, phenomenological exploration of consciousness. Far from academically laborious, "The End of Faith" is a perfect introduction to the atheist movement or a great source for those already knowledgeable. Very compelling, but will it change any minds? Are religious people open to correction?

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seth Ocala, FL, USA 05-22-08
    Seth Ocala, FL, USA 05-22-08
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    "Disappointed"

    The reader didn't read the words as Harris wrote them. Emphasis was placed at the wrong points in sentences throughout the book. Thankfully I have the book in print as well, otherwise I would have been completely lost due to the readers recording. Great book, horrible audiobook.

    24 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eduardo Aberdeen, SD, USA 08-02-08
    Eduardo Aberdeen, SD, USA 08-02-08
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    "Almost a five-star work"

    A rather enjoyable, lucid, and coherent discussion on how and why religious beliefs have created so much suffering in the history of humankind. From why it is untenable to argue in favor of religion as the basis for our morality, to very cohesive arguments supporting morality as unrelated to, and indeed murkied by, religious dogma.

    The narrator leads the listener through sometimes very complex reasoning in a clear and lively manner. I wish I could give this audiobook 4 and a half stars, but this rating is not available. The only reason for this is the somewhat oddly placed last chapter on meditation and spirituality. However, I must say the author recovers from this to some extent in the afterword, with his rationale for having included this topic in the book. His "Letter to a Christian Nation" further refines and clarifies many of the central arguments introduced in this book.

    Overall a great read/listen. It nicely complements Dawkins' work. However, I have enjoyed more the latter's more unapologetic style.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyler Calgary, Alberta, Canada 07-03-08
    Tyler Calgary, Alberta, Canada 07-03-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Excelent"

    Sam Harris is a great writer and speaker, and this book highlights many of his best ideas. A strong and always reasonable voice in the secular community. I could have done with less of the chapter regarding torture, for although his points were valid, they felt out of context from the rest of the material. I found that Letter to a Christian Nation had a lot more bang for it's buck, and I've heard better points that he omitted here in his debates and lectures.

    Can't wait for the next book.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Brighton, MA, USA 04-23-08
    Michael Brighton, MA, USA 04-23-08
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    "Great"

    One of my all time favorite books. It's too bad Sam is not the narrator because he is a superb speaker. However the guy they have does a decent job. I will say when I ordered the book it stated that Sam was the narrator so I was a little bummed about that. Audible has sinced fixed the error.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg smithville, TN, USA 05-14-08
    Greg smithville, TN, USA 05-14-08
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    "The End of faith"

    The end of faith is an honest look at why some choose to break away from the indoctrination of Religion that seemingly formulates our lives for better in some instances and for worse in many instances. Sam Harris goes to the heart of the matter, exploring that our faith is unquestionably linked primarily to geograph. It is unapologetic in asking us directly, Why do we believe what we believe? If There is an intelligent designer does it really write books?
    Given all the suffering, could we really call that designer intelligent?
    If you find yourself questioning the indoctrination of your formative years whether it be Christian, Islamic, Buddhist or any other religious affiliation, this book is for you.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Bright 01-12-10 Member Since 2009
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    "I liked most of it"

    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!!!

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
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