The End of Faith

The End of Faith

Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

Book - 2004
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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.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2004
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393035155
0393035158
Characteristics: 336 p. ; 22 cm

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Marlowe Apr 11, 2017

In the same vein as Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and Christopher Hitchens' "God is Not Great." Harris explores the history of major religions, and warns against the role of organized religion in our modern society. Harris also offers alternatives for the foundation of ethics and spiritualism.

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pete1984
Mar 09, 2016

There was a bit of good logical arguments here and there against faith and dogma. Then Harris injects his usual pro US and pro Israel militarist propaganda. What on earth that has to do with atheism is not really explained. Harris covers Islam in the most shallow way, repeating racist and Islamophobic tropes over and over. The last chapter about spiritualism was complete bunk. Overall a very overrated and unsatisfying book.

redban Jun 10, 2015

This is a general comment on Sam Harris: he may be a good neuroscientist, and I appreciate the parts of his writings where it is in this limited scope where he has actual experience.

However, Harris' sheer ignorance and arrogance towards political history and economics makes him woefully incompetent when he tries to be a philosopher, and often downright moronic when he tries to solve the world's problems. It saddens me to come to this conclusion, as many of his opposition are indeed truly detestable (extremists who use religion as a tool for oppression), but I just cannot fully support Harris' views.

It's disturbing watching his debates and his smug reactions when he is actually faced with a legitimate challenge (like Chris Hedges) and not some Fox News shill. When challenged, his ignorance on corporate imperialism is exposed. Obviously religious extremism is problematic, but due to Harris' incompetence and prejudice his solutions are far from nuanced.

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jocarr123
Mar 23, 2015

It was interesting and thought provoking. It became tedious - and, for me, a strange military apologist and nationalist tone emerged as an interlude and disappeared. It ended in new agey territory. For a book like this, from a supposed expert, I want to hear about a problem, get context, and then speculate about a solution. I wasn't satisfied with the solution proffered here.

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1aa
Nov 13, 2014

Continuously reiterates and rephrases his assertions, which should be argued for.

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ecarson83
May 02, 2014

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the topic of faith and religion. In the book Sam Harris makes the argument for a liberation from illogical belief, aimed most directly at the doctrines or the god of Abraham because those are the doctrines that are most prevalent in western society. However, he goes farther in his pursuit of logical reasoning and encourages us to do the same in all areas of discourse. His points are well thought out and articulate.

Some criticize his (relatively) positive views on spiritual or mystical investigation. I believe he was merely making stating that in the discussion of such areas rational arguments are much more likely to be allowed than in the dogma that pervades much of western religions. That said, the second half of the book was not quite as page turning as the first.

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Calaban
Apr 08, 2014

You might not agree with everything Sam Harris says but he makes a well thought out case for his views in an engaging and clear manner.

Well worth the read.

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uzebdrumz
Oct 10, 2012

This book is better understood from the author's devotion to neuroscience and morality. Most people criticize Harris because he gives a free pass to some forms of spirituality and transcendence while attacking others, but my guess is that if those same experiences were guiding public policy as they are in the USA, then he'd require more fact & evidence based explanations. Knowledge based on facts and evidence is crucial, because believing that you can believe anything and then acting on those beliefs is a far too dangerous eventuality.

stevebraun Oct 05, 2012

Good book. Lots to chew on. I've since followed up by viewing some of his YouTube videos and some other content. He gets a lot of flack for feeling that meditation and other similar practices provide value. Yet he explicitly states that those experiences aren't religious, and not really "spiritual" or supernatural, but rather a fact of our complex psychology. For the record, I am a skeptic and an atheist. There is nothing super natural happening in eastern religions either. It is all psychology.

Hypatia_Dejavu Jun 15, 2011

I would have given this five stars if not for the last chapter where Harris goes off the rails and conditionally endorses psychics as well as giving a complete pass to all eastern religions. Essentially he approves of anything he's not overly familiar with. I'd recommend taking the last chapter with a large grain of salt and then moving on to his much better book "Letter to a Christian Nation"

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