The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, by Sam Harris
W. W. Norton, 978-0-393-32765-6, 348 pp. (incl. notes, bibliography and index), 2004
I picked up Sam Harris’ The End of Faith after watching The Four Horsemen, a two hour atheist roundtable he appeared in with Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. I found many of Harris’ comments on spirituality intriguing, though I found myself repulsed by bigoted comments regarding Islam.
The End of Faith deals with several themes surrounding religion and why it’s no good (to put it mildly). Harris rightly states that “most religions offer no valid mechanism by which their core beliefs can be tested and revised, each new generation of believers is condemned to inherit the superstitions and tribal hatreds of its predecessors”.(1) Worse, religions tend to decry critical examination of any kind.
The bulk of Harris’s criticism of religion is is focused on Christianity and vitriol towards Islam. While the underlying sentiment is sound – that religion induces people who might otherwise make good friends and neighbours to kill and maim one another at the behest of grotesquely cruel imaginary beings – the conclusions Harris draws regarding what is to be done about these irrationally harmful beliefs is disquieting, to say the least. Continue reading »
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