Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

Well, this one’s an eye opener, and in more ways than one.  Harris, author of the recent bestseller The End of Faith, sharpens his critical acumen in this short book, written as a correspondence to your everyman Christian.  First warning – be open minded.  If you’re a dyed in the wool fundamentalist, it’s likely to make you mad and defensive.  If you are a more liberal Christian, it may still.  And if you are a practicing Jew or Muslim, there might very well be points here that raise your ire. 

I think that the author is riled primarily by how he perceives organized religion as a whole; in his Index eyes, it thwarts technological advancement, and more importantly, an understanding between the world’s peoples about what is best for everyone.  He views the major religions of Christianity and Islam as detrimental to any type of worldwide cooperation and downplays toleration as mere lip-service and ultimately ineffective.

Is Harris too critical?  Probably enough to either make you cringe or want to read more.  I personally thought he was too scathing and absolute in his own stances to win readers over, but I appreciated his candor.  Harris makes a fresh and compelling argument, and even if you, due to personal staunchness, aren’t one to lose your religion, you might re-evaluate it and get to thinking. 

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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