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Topic: Sam Harris anyone?

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Subject: Sam Harris anyone?
Date Posted: 10/7/2010 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I've been fascinated and troubled for quite some time by the accusation that, without a God or religion as a source, one cannot possibly have morality.  I've been reading an excellent book by Erich Fromm on the subject, Man for Himself, which is but one of several in which Fromm addresses this issue.  However, I have yet to go about finding more recently written books on the matter.  Enter Sam Harris, about whom I have heard literally nothing.  Apparently he writes books in the same arena as Hitchens and Dawkins, and his most recent book is about the question of the viability of humanist ethics.  I was wondering if anyone out there had already read him, (or the others, for that matter) and could offer some insight as to whether or not his books were worth pursuing. 

Date Posted: 10/9/2010 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 12/18/2005
Posts: 1,807
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Read his Letter to a Christian Nation and loved it. Haven't gotten to The End of Faith yet.

Date Posted: 10/11/2010 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2008
Posts: 185
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I've also read Letter to a Christian Nation.  It was a really quick read, and quite enjoyable.  I believe that it was actually written in response to all of the letters he received from Christians about his first book, The End of Faith (which I haven't read yet).  


I would definitely say he's worth a try.  :)

Date Posted: 10/12/2010 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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James L.:   You might like to take a look at a book published in 2009.   I believe it will be coming out in paperback either this month or in November.  It is entitled Good Without God: What a billion non-religious people do believe.  The author, Greg M. Epstein, is a humanist chaplain at Harvard.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/11/2011 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I guess this topic is a few months old by now, but since I've now read all three of his published works, I thought I'd share my thoughts:

The End of Faith by Sam Harris (2004) - This was a jarring, angry book that is somewhat shocking in its unapologetic criticism of faith, and specifically those who create a worldview based on things for which no evidence exists.  His most serious charges were laid on the Muslim faith...Harris is adamant that the problem with terrorism is faith, not a fringe of fanatics.

Letter to a Christian Nation (2006) - Short and to the point.  This "letter" did not differ greatly in content from The End of Faith, but is more concise and directed at Christian America rather than faith in general.

The Moral Landscape (2010) - Not very long, but a little disorganized in my opinion.  The thsis itself was intriguing, though.  Harris states that there are specific, objective answers to what constitutes "good" and "bad" for humanity, and individuals, and that science can in principle (if not in fact at this time) determine the answers to what is right and wrong...creating a morality based on quatifiable facts rather than faith. 

Last Edited on: 2/11/11 6:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/11/2011 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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not new, but there is "the categorical imperative" . . . . .