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Letter to a Christian Nation Hardcover – September 19, 2006
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–Sir Roger Penrose, emeritus professor of mathematics, Oxford University,
author of The Road to Reality
“Reading Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation was like sitting ring side, cheering the champion, yelling ‘Yes!’ at every jab. For those of us who feel depressed by this country’s ever increasing unification of church and state, and the ever decreasing support for the sciences that deliver knowledge and reduce ignorance, this little book is a welcome hit of adrenalin.”
–Marc Hauser, Harvard College Professor, author of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Sense of Right and Wrong
“I can’t sign my name to this blurb. As a New York Times best selling author of books about business, my career will evaporate if I endorse a book that challenges the deeply held superstitions and bigotry of the masses. That’s exactly why you should (no, you must) read this angry and honest book right away. As long as science and rational thought are under attack by the misguided yet pious majority, our nation is in jeopardy. I’m scared. You should be too. Please buy two, one for you and one for a friend you care about.”
–Unsigned, New York Times best selling author
“It’s a shame that not everyone in this country will read Sam Harris’ marvelous little book Letter to a Christian Nation. They won’t but they should.”
–Leonard Susskind, Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics, Stanford University, author of The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design
“We all know about good things that have been derived from bad ideas. Modern religions serve many social goods such as health care for the poor. The problem is that is also services many reprehensible ideas. Harris blows the whistle, pointing out the religions of the world are based on human generated vengeful stories. Read this book and you decide your stance for the future.”
–Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director of the Sage Center for the Study of Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Ethical Brain
“Sam Harris fearlessly describes a moral and intellectual emergency precipitated by religious fantasies–misguided beliefs that create suffering, that rationalize violence, that have endangered our nation and our future. His argument for the morality, the honesty, and the humility of atheism is galvanizing. It is a relief that someone has spoken so frankly, with such passion yet such rationality. Now when the subject arises, as it inevitably does, I can simply say: Read Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation.”
–Janna Levin, Columbia University, author of How the Universe Got Its Spots and A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It is not supposed to be a compliment.
Harris replied that "atheist fundamentalist" was ''a silly play upon words,'' noting that "when it comes to the ancient Greek gods, everyone is an atheist and no one is asked to justify that to pagans who want to believe in Zeus."
Epstein sees Harris as too rigid and too confrontational.
Harris says "In our next presidential election, an actor who reads his Bible would almost certainly defeat a rocket scientist who does not. Could there be any clearer indication that we are allowing unreason and otherworldliness to govern our affairs" (p. 39, The End of Faith)?
I guess Epstein is right. Harris IS confrontational. BUT... does the world need more Epsteins, or Harrises?
I vote for Harris.
Letter to a Christian Nation is Sam Harris' rebuttal to the arguments from Christians to his viewpoints in The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. It's a slim book, barely over 100 pages.
What does he say?
"People have been cherry-picking the Bible for millennia to justify their every impulse, moral and otherwise" (p. 18).
"If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures" (p. 22).Read more ›
Harris presents concise arguments with lucidity, brevity and impact. If you haven't read his prior book "The End of Faith" the thesis of "Letter to a Christian Nation" will be startling and new. If you have, this worthy distillate of his prior work specifically focuses on the fundamentalist follies and foibles of America's cleverly marketed McJesus movement. With deft strokes Harris pens a number of reasons not to be a Christian - or religious at all. He exposes the unreasonableness of faith, explaining with clarity and philosophical rigor why there is no real justification for believing in God, and how the notion of "faith" does little to justify any unfounded belief, or merit respect for same.
Moral arguments come next as Harris, using examples ranging from Mother Teresa to the hatred of homosexuals, demonstrates that the Christian value system easily leads to ethically repugnant behavior - despicable in principal and practice because of the widespread and very real human suffering it creates. Christianity's maniacal obsession with people having sex is revealed as morally destitute - religious right political mandates that keep condoms out of Africa only increase the staggering AIDS death toll. Earlier this year Christian luddites unsuccessfully attempted to block the life saving Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, which will prevent many cases of cervical cancer because - in their twisted moral calculus - it might lead to teenagers having a little more sex.Read more ›
I'm glad Harris has taken a public stand beyond those worthy yet weightier books likely to be read by only a few. "Letter..." is an inexpensive booklet, scarcely 100 pages with an introduction and wide spacing. It's not a work of depth or intricate argument, but then neither depth nor complexity is necessary for dispelling many popular myths surrounding a "godless world". Rather the book is written for the occasional thoughtful Christian in accessible prose with a revealing perspective on aspects that the ordinary believer may not have considered. And though the author assails Christian moderates for providing cover to the literalists, the material appears directed almost exclusively toward debunking the latter.
The text revolves mainly around the question of morality, a traditional foundation of religious belief. Specifically, the concern is with such key aspects as -- Can there be morality without religion?-- Is the Bible a source of moral wisdom?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing book. More people need to read this, and truthfully evaluate their stance on religion.Published 2 days ago by Chris Corcione
This is one of my favorites!
Sam Harris makes so many wonderful points in this book. He invites the reader to consider new perspectives, educates them with alternative... Read more
This is a very short book. It's basically a lighter version of "End of Faith," which is a mere 100 pages longer and says a lot of the same things verbatim as in his other... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Lovely Peter
Quick read! Good summary! Some good angles! Perfect for introducing someone to rationalism without taking up your time!Published 18 days ago by James D. Blackburn
I love the new style of writing by Sam Harris where he is direct and to the point conveying his ideas in a concise manner without all the grandiose fluff that you find from other... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Jim
If I could give no stars I would. One man cannot possibly influence a whole worldview from his own experience, a mere mortal will pass away so quickly just like you and I. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Darwin Ignacio
Great book for understanding the views of atheists brothers and sisters, though somewhat bias, it gives you insight on tough questions that may arise when dedicated to religion. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Flawless reasoning, logic, scholarship, and topical relevance.Published 2 months ago by Dr. Albert C. Vinci