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Topic: Anyone read Sam Harris?

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Subject: Anyone read Sam Harris?
Date Posted: 10/9/2007 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,762
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So I recently read Letter to a Christian Nation and I am currently reading The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.

While I agree with his views on religion, I'm not really sure how I feel about what he advocated in The End of Faith.  Essentially, he advocates that people shouldn't be given any religious protections by the government, and that those protections do more harm to people than good. In many ways, I can see that.  But it seems like he almost advocates people not being allowed to have their beliefs.  As a non-believer, I do think most religious beliefs are ridiculous and illogical.  However, I would find it morally and ethically wrong to deny a person their right to believe something, even if science disproves it.  After all, who doesn't have a silly supersticion or idea that we cling to?  Where do we draw the line at protecting people's spiritual rights and protecting people?

And for anyone else that has read Sam Harris before, what were your impressions of him?  Obviously he's impassioned, but do you see him as an extremist or a radical?  Or does it just seem that way because so much of the world as we know it has been forced on us through the Christian viewpoint?

Date Posted: 10/9/2007 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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Hey from another non-believer.  I have read Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation and liked it.  I have The End of Faith but haven't read it yet.  I did read that he has recently advocated that atheists should no longer refer to themselves as atheists.  Here's a link from the Richard Dawkins website, taken from the recent Atheists Alliance International Conference.


I don't agree with the idea of denying someone their rights to believe whatever they want.  Maybe he is taking this viewpoint because so many religious people want to push their beliefs off on everyone else and don't believe in the separation of church and state.  I'm a strong believer that there should be no religion involved in government at all.  Government officials can be believers of whatever religion they like - but religion should have no part in govt policies or decisions. 

As a non-believer, I do believe in reincarnation, or some form of it.  That belief doesn't go along with being a non-religious person, but as you say, we all have our little quirks:):):)



Date Posted: 10/10/2007 8:20 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,762
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I may be misunderstanding some of his points as well, since he is a very deep writer and covers a lot of territory.  Plus I haven't read his backworks (except for Letter, which actually came out after Faith). 

His ideas on drug use being only a morality issue bother me too.  I may not believe that my body is a temple in the biblical sense, but I certainly don't believe that no harm can come from filling it with drugs.

I too think it is silly to have to give myself a label like atheist.  I don't believe that fairies or monsters exist, but I don't have to label myself as such.  I believe what makes sense, what science has proven, what fits into the natural, logical world.  My beliefs are subject to change as new, real information comes to light.  It's part of the learning process....that I believe in.

So I suppose if anyone ever asks me what I believe in, I will say education and experience.

Date Posted: 10/12/2007 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
Posts: 462
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I LOVED 'Letter to a Christian Nation'!!  I do want to read his other books...


I think he is overly hard in some areas to make a point....

Date Posted: 10/12/2007 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,762
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I read another book recently that was written by an atheist that was very good.....wish I could remember the name of it but it's not coming to me. 

"Letter" was very good.  Once I started it, I couldn't put it down.