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The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason [End of Faith]-By Sam Harris Hardcover – 2006
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An impassioned plea for reason in a world divided by faith. This important and timely book 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, we can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another. Most controversially, he argues that 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
“Religious faith represents so uncompromising a misuse of the power of our minds that it forms a kind of perverse, cultural singularity—a vanishing point beyond which RATIONAL discourse proves impossible.
When foisted upon each generation anew, it renders us incapable of realizing just how much of our world has been unnecessarily ceded to a dark and barbarous past.”
The above comes from this eye-opening book by Sam Harris. He is a neuroscientist, philosopher, author, and C.E.O. of “Project Reason,” a non-profit organization that promotes science and secularism. This is Harris’ first book.
This is a fascinating book!! It is seriously concerned with organized religion, the clash between religious faith & RATIONAL THOUGHT, and the problems of tolerance towards religious fundamentalism. This book comprises a wide-ranging criticism of all styles of religious belief. (“Belief” is mental acceptance of something as true without absolute certainty. “Faith” means complete, unquestioning acceptance of something without proof and especially of something not supported by reason.)
Harris began writing this book on Sept. 12, 2001.
Here are some of the things I liked about this book:
(1) It opens with an account of the last day of a suicide bomber
(2) There are two interesting sections on the Holocaust and “honor” killings
(3) It has a frightening assessment of Islam
(4) A good discussion of religion’s negative influence on societal issues like drug policy and stem cell therapy
(5) There is a look into the failure to separate church and state
(6) It offers a RATIONAL approach to ethics
This is the best book I’ve read with respect to RATIONAL thinking versus irrational thinking.
Warning!! Harris is direct and even blunt. Some readers may not like this writing style.
Lest you think that Harris made everything up in this book, you’d be wrong. There are over sixty pages of notes! These alone make for very interesting reading. As well, there are almost thirty pages of references!
In response to the feedback and criticisms toward his book, Harris wrote another book entitled “Letter to a Christian Nation.”
“The End of Faith” was on “The New York Times Bestseller List” for 33 weeks.
Finally, do I agree with everything that Harris wrote? Of course not. But this book is an effective wake-up call to religion’s dangerous influence on society and humankind.
In conclusion, Sam Harris’ tour de force demonstrates how faith—blind, deaf, dumb, and unreasoned—threatens our very existence!!
(first published 2004; 7 chapters; epilogue; main narrative 225 pages; notes; bibliography; acknowledgements; index)
<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>