Apparently, they don't teach the important books of the Enlightenment at Stanford, e.g., Paine and Voltaire, which went over this ground earlier. Nor does Harris seem to know the first thing about Judaism, a monotheistic religion with a tradition of scriptural inerrancy, which is rather thin on concepts of the after life, at least until The End of Days. In fact the Hebrew Bible doesn't mention life after death.
It seems a stretch to include the atrocities of the Nazis and the Soviets as religious, nor does he mention Rwanda. Anthropology suggests that murderousness may go back to our primate ancestors. Undoubtedly, religious fanaticism plays an important role in human suffering, but it is not the root of all human evil.
A review of the current situation vis a vis the Muslims and our unwillingness to confront their religion-based hatred and violence could be made in far fewer words. And much has been written about the sorry history of Christianity in this regard.
"It seems a stretch to include the atrocities of the Nazis and the Soviets as religious"
You should read it again. He does not claim they were religious at all, he merely claims their societies were not rational, but based on dogmatic ideology, that could not be publically examined. Much like in a theocracy.
Also, I missed the part where he claims religious fanaticism is the "root of all evil". Can you cite a reference where Harris claims the absence of religion would give rise to a utopian society? Doubtful, since that's not his argument.
Thank you for the comment "Azazel". As a Christian, I am confident that you can I shall arrive at some common accord regarding these issues, providing that FACT and LOGIC are the criteria for our dialogues.
ISSUE THE FIRST
"And the Hebrew bible DOES talk about the afterlife, it says those who don't believe in Jesus are in danger of "Hell fire"--read it again."------------sentence 2 of a 2 sentence comment by "Azazel" on Dec. 18, 2010 9:20 AM PST regarding the discussion topic, "Harris is shallow, repetitive, and thinks he discovered the wheel" on Amazon.com
(1) Per usual, "Azazel" you are factually unable to cite sources in support of your arguments.
(2) Therefore, your arguments are little other than rhetorics. Either cite the specific scripture, or admit the falsity of your claim.
Remember; it is incumbent upon you to offer a RATIONAL, rather than an IRRATIONAL argument.
I think you might be thinking of a couple of verses in Matthew, but that isn't considered part of the 'Hebrew Bible' because Jewish people don't recognise the New Testament as scripture.
For the most part, the Tanakh is pretty sketchy on the topic of the afterlife. A place called Sheol is mentioned a few times - a dark underworld where everybody seems to go when they die. It also talks, though, of the World to Come ('Olam Ha-Ba'), generally identified with the promised Messianic Age, when God will create a new Heaven and a new Earth, the dead will be raised to life, and all humanity will receive their final judgment.
Your commentary is vague and unsubstantiated C. R. Liddie. You have absolutely no source data which substantiates anything you write here. Opinions don't count and they are not probative in the Natural Sciences.
One cannot find a single verse in the Hebrew bible (the so called "Old Testament") that mentions both Jesus and "hell fire." However, most of us can piece together misinterpretations of multiple combined biblical verses in support nearly any idea.
And, don't be confused with the terms mashiah, moshiah, mashiach; which in biblical Hebrew means an (or the) anointed one, such as a Hebrew priest or king.