Sunday, November 26, 2006

Letter to a Christian Nation

As well-written as this book is, I doubt that it will persuade anyone to abandon his/her religion, and I'd be surprised if many Christians actually read it. It seems more likely to appeal to people like me--nonbelievers looking for help in explaining why religion makes no sense. It's why I subscribe to "Free Inquiry" and it's why Buddhism--the philosophical system moral practice without the relgious underpinnings--has long attracted me.

So I was already convinced when I opened this book, which is best understood as a response to critics of the author's previous book, The End of Faith. There are numerous choice barbs here, but let me just offer one:
"The choice before us is simple: we can either have a twenty-first-century conversation about morality and human well-being--a conversation in which we avail ourselves of all the scientific insights and philosophical arguments that have accumulated in the last two thousand years of human discourse--or we can confine ourselves to a first-century conversation as it is preserved in the Bible. Why would anyone want to take the latter approach?"
For more about Sam Harris and his views (and to participate in a lively forum), check out

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