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Letter to a Christian Nation Paperback – January 8, 2008


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Letter to a Christian Nation + The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason + The God Delusion
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307278778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307278777
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (894 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A breath of fresh fire." —Wall Street Journal“I dare you to read this book...it will not leave you unchanged. Read it if it is the last thing you do.” —Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion“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

About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times best seller, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, which won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. He is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for twenty years. Mr. Harris is now completing a doctorate in neuroscience, studying the neural basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). His work has been discussed in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Economist, and New Scientist, among many other journals, and he has made television appearances on The O'Reilly Factor, Scarborough Country, Faith Under Fire, and Book TV.

More About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, and Lying. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His latest book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, will be published 9/9/14.

Mr. Harris's writing has been published in more than 15 languages. His work has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Newsweek, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Mr. Harris is a cofounder and the CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Customer Reviews

If only Christians would read this book with open minds.
Constance I. Wiggins
A beautifully written little book in which Sam Harris uses concise and powerful arguments to make his points.
Anthony Keith Bourque
Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation" is a gem of a book.
George Ricker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

320 of 360 people found the following review helpful By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on March 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I just read that the "Harvard University Humanist Chaplain" (?) Greg Epstein is calling Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins the "atheist fundamentalists." "He sees them as rigid in their dogma, and as intolerant as some of the faith leaders with whom atheists share the most obvious differences" (Chicago Sun-Times, March 31, 2007).

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).
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117 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Taylor S. Kendall on March 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think its great the way Sam Harris defies conventional thinking in this book. As someone who has struggled with theses arguments with family members all my life, it is nice to be backed by by intelligent arguments. Also as a scientist I would like to say that it is nice that he has addressed the need for the end of faith as a survival priority for the species.
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311 of 359 people found the following review helpful By Carl Flygare on October 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Letter to a Christian Nation" is a rallying cry to rationalists everywhere and should serve as a wakeup call to retrograde Christians eagerly toiling away to displace science with magical thinking, overturn a woman's right to choose, relegate gays and lesbians to second class citizenship, or ensure the apocalypse.

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.
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66 of 74 people found the following review helpful By James I. Huston on March 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sam Harris received a lot of criticism for his book, "End of Faith." There were also people who believed he was speaking about Islam rather than the group of Abrahamic religions. This book is directed at the Christian majority of the United States and adresses the group directly. The book is very short, so it takes a couple of hours to read at the most.
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79 of 90 people found the following review helpful By John W. Wendt VINE VOICE on November 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Two hundred ninteen reviews and counting, plus thousands of comments to reviews. Any book that stimulates this kind of passion is a worthy read! How encouraging it is to find people on both sides of a religious divide drawn into an invigorating discussion, and a book that facilitates it!

Like several reviewers, I am a former evangelical Christian. I'm not here to rap Christianity or Christ. I am amongst a growing number of folks that see evangelical Christianity as perhaps the greatest deviation from what Christ was all about, and find it shameful how politicians manipulate evangelicals to further a rather ungodly political agenda, with predictable consequences--though lately encouraged to see that this trend is reversing, as more and more evangelical Christians become aware that the "R" party may be a wolf in sheep's clothing, and are engaging their God-given brains. As one Christian friend put it to me, "If God did not want you to change your mind, why did He give you a mind?"

My "conversion" away from evangelical Christianity occurred almost 30 years ago, while I was a young university student. Reading evangelical books written to refute evolution, I was dis-illusioned by their intellectual dishonesty, selective mis-use of observations, and fallacious arguments. How ironic to be driven away from Christianity by Christian books! Discussing this in a desperate prayer with God one night, I asked a simple question, "Dear God, may I look elsewhere?" I felt such a sense of peace and a resounding "Yes" answer that I have never looked back. Today, I am certainly not a Christian in the sense defined by evangelicals. I've come to believe that the truth is not contained in a single book such as the Bible.
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