406 of 453 people found the following review helpful
A letter from an "atheist fundamentalist"?,
This review is from: Letter to a Christian Nation (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).
"When was the last atheist riot?" (p. 39).
"When a tsunami killed a few hundred thousand people on the day after Christmas, 2004, many conservative Christians viewed the cataclysm as evidence of God's wrath. God was apparently sending another coded message about the evils of abortion, idolatry, and homosexuality" (p. 47).
"The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious" (p. 51).
"It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion - to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious taboos, and religious diversions of scarce resources - is what makes the honest criticism of religious faith a moral and intellectual necessity. Unfortunately, expressing such criticism places the nonbeliever at the margins of society. By merely being in touch with reality, he appears shamefully out of touch with the fantasy life of his neighbors" (p. 56-7).
"Billions of people share your belief that the creator of the universe wrote (or dictated) one of our books. Unfortunately, there are many books that pretend to divine authorship, and they make incompatible claims about how we all must live" (p. 79).
I'd say the world needs more atheist fundamentalists. It's not that they are wearing rose-colored glasses. It's that they don't need any glasses at all.
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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 26, 2009 7:42:48 PM PDT
A. Atehortua says:
A masterful review of the book. Well said.
Posted on Sep 24, 2012 1:10:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 24, 2012 1:51:38 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2012 2:46:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Feb 26, 2014 2:41:15 AM PST
..@ Bruce Bain......blah blah blah...your review is as long as Harris' book. It isn't even about the book....you drone on and on complaining about his reference to other people's information......then you use quotes yourself. Next you criticise his sentence formation and use of language!...fancy yourself as an editor but didn't bother editing your own review. I don't lke to say it but you come across as that guy at gatherings who fancies himself as the master storyteller but never gets to the point because he loves the sound of his own voice...you use 10 sentences to say what could be said in two sentences. Ya know!
I'm just sayin'....
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 10, 2012 2:28:20 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 10, 2012 2:37:50 AM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 10, 2012 1:09:12 PM PDT
re: (1)....but Mr. B.B.......one is supposed to give a review, not an analysis.
re: (2) begor you're not wrong about that....
re: your last sentence: Only a ding-dong would want to discredit the Naturalist worldview as unreasonable.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2012 6:37:25 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 22, 2012 6:38:23 AM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 6:20:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 6:20:34 PM PST
George Bailey says:
@ Bruce Bain,
Please prove the existence of Yahweh with logic and provide the objective criteria by which I may verify it.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 1:16:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 3, 2012 1:23:26 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 5:46:12 PM PST
L. Alessio says:
"Thank you for the compliment."
To quote Dame Maggie Smith: " Oh , I (he) must have said it wrong."
Mr. Bain, you have committed the unforgivable: you are boring, and far too pompous to deserve the effort of retort.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2012 5:47:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2012 5:54:51 AM PST