A: To some degree this is a concern, given that my goal is to successfully communicate with people. There is really not much room to finesse these issues. I am hardest on fundamentalists, but there is no question that religious liberals and moderates are guilty of a terrific amount of wishful thinking—about God, about the world, and even about religious fundamentalists. Q: What do you think about the way all these groups carry out public discourse about religion in this country? It seems to me, however, that the stakes are now so high that we really must be rigorously honest with ourselves.
Competing religious certainties have shattered our world, unnecessarily. And these divisions have become a perennial source of human conflict. Religious beliefs also cause people to think badly—or not to think at all—about questions of immense social importance. Q: How did you become an atheist? People who claim to be certain about things they cannot be certain about should meet resistance in our discourse.
This happens quite naturally on every subject but religion. For instance, a person who believes that Elvis is still alive is very unlikely to get promoted to a position of great power and responsibility in our society. Neither will a person who believes that the holocaust was a hoax.
Recensioner i media. Harris tends to leave out any evidence that does not lead to the conclusions he prefers to draw. Due to time and space constraints, I won't touch on every point he makes, but I'll try to cover the most important ones. Q: The book argues for the eradication of religion, at least religion as we know it. He notes, for instance, that the highly secular Scandinavian countries are among the most generous in helping the developing world. A: It seems to me that they will either have to demonstrate where my arguments fail, or they will have to relinquish many of their religious beliefs. Related Articles.
But people who believe equally irrational things about God and the bible are now running our country. This is genuinely terrifying. We must find a way of criticizing and marginalizing bad ideas, even when they come under the cloak of religion. A: Most of the people in my immediate circle already had their doubts about God. But many did not recognize the role that religion still plays as a source of conflict in our world.
Many of my friends and readers seem to have grown increasingly amazed by the mad work that religion is doing in our world. Do you believe that there are any areas into which reason rightly does not tread?
Anyone who thinks he knows for sure that Jesus was born of virgin or that the Koran is the perfect word of the Creator of the universe is lying. Either he is lying to himself, or to everyone else. In neither case should such false certainties be celebrated.
Q: So, what place do you think spirituality should have in life? Do you believe there may be a higher non-God-like power that is operating on the earth? A: I am very interested in spiritual, or mystical, experience—though these words carry a fair amount of unfortunate baggage. There is no question that it is possible, through certain techniques of introspection, to transform your moment to moment experience of the world. I think this possibility lies at the root of the religious impulse.
We are all interested in discovering how to be truly happy in this world, in spite of all of the impediments to happiness this world throws up. And spirituality is an important component of human happiness. I would argue, however, that we need never believe anything on insufficient evidenceto be spiritual. How is it connected to this book?
It is too soon say whether the difference between believing a proposition and not believing it can by well-characterized by this method. My interest in neuroscience also extends to larger questions of human subjectivity, including ethics and spiritual experience.
What we are learning about the brain is slowly, but inevitably, transforming our understanding of what it is to be a human being. Paperback —. Add to Cart. About Letter to a Christian Nation From the new afterword by the author: Humanity has had a long fascination with blood sacrifice. Also by Sam Harris. In his recent follow up to The End of Faith , Sam Harris has written a short but heartfelt plea to his beloved countrymen to finally rid themselves completely of the superstitions that have jeopardized the mind and rationality for so long.
Through this Letter to a Christian Nation he directs his attack not only to religion in general, but particularly to Christianity which he sees as America's greatest threat to reason, science, and morality. Sam Harris, who holds degrees in philosophy, religion and neuroscience, may be counted among a growing number of philosophical materialists in a movement known as "new atheism.
Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and others Harris brutally condemns not only belief in God, but sympathy for others who believe in God. New atheism not only finds religion to be misleading and irrational, but purely evil, as a manifestation of the worst malevolence known to human kind. The militant attack of new atheism is designed to make belief in God a completely socially unacceptable embarrassment.
Harris' apocalyptic stance warns that if religion is allowed to survive then all civilization will be completely eradicated. Harris argues against the rationality of the Christian scriptures, and against the perceived scientific idea of intelligent design. However, Harris' main thesis is that Christianity has produced a false or pseudo-morality that fails to supply humanity with a proper basis for ethical treatment of all nature.
In fact, he claims that Christianity has led to centuries of abuse, oppression, slavery, insult, torment, torture, and death. In spite of Harris' advanced degrees in philosophy and religion, he demonstrates a profound ignorance of both the Christian and Muslim faiths. On more than one occasion he equates Christian and Muslim monotheism. He claims that Muslims have just as much "reason" for their faith as Christians have for theirs.
Later he groups all dominantly religious nations together when he states that such nations rank lowest in human development. Yet again, he says nothing of the fact that North America and Europe developed through two-thousand years of strong Christian influence.
He wrongly equates the Christian worldview with the destructive animistic, Islamic, and eastern mystical views that dominate much of the world. The most egregious and obvious errors occur in Harris' treatment of atheistic morality. He kicks off his defense of the goodness of atheism by pointing to frequent Muslim riots and rampages by stating: "When was the last atheist riot? Is there a newspaper anywhere on this earth that would hesitate to print cartoons about atheism for fear that its editors would be kidnapped or killed in reprisal?
In all reality, this sort of thing happens quite frequently in atheistic communist countries.
Harris is correct, however, that atheists do not generally cause riots. Instead, nations founded on atheism cause all out war and genocide in places like the Soviet Union, and China, where they killed well over a hundred million people in the name of Marxist idealism. It is certain that with all the education that Harris possesses, he must be aware that atheistic regimes have killed more people in the twentieth century alone, than all the combined religions in the world have killed in all of known history.
Harris' response to this is that the atheistic tyrants of our world are irrational, delusional human beings who embrace life-destroying myths. Harris foolishly responds by claiming that Hitler was a "Christian" and the killing fields of Russia and Cambodia were the result of "dogma" not unlike that of Christians and other religious adherents. Harris goes on to say that totalitarian mythology and religion spring forth from dogma and so it is all dogma that must be rejected. The doctrine of the Darwinian evolutionistic assumption is seen by Harris as "a fact that no longer admits of intelligent dispute.
There are countless other "facts" that Harris points out as well. For instance, faith and reason are incompatible, religion contradicts science, and Christians have suppressed learning in this country for so long that our children now score lower on math and science exams than their peers in Europe and Asia.