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The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

33 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

'The End of Faith' offers readers a different view on life, one that will open your eyes to a view of the world that has been veiled in denial for thousands of years

In short, 'The End of Faith' is a manuscript aimed at religion and its obovious flaws that humanity tends to overlook and/or disregard. Whether its the threat of religious tensions leading to nuclear holocaust or religion itself witholding us from getting closer to a m...
In short, 'The End of Faith' is a manuscript aimed at religion and its obovious flaws that humanity tends to overlook and/or disregard. Whether its the threat of religious tensions leading to nuclear holocaust or religion itself witholding us from getting closer to a more universal answer to life, humanity has constantly allowed religion to reign its 'necessary' wrongdoings in our world beacuse of its prejudice ways of life and greedy claims of 'the 'ONLY' answer to life.' Sam Harris has created something amazing, something epic and triumphant in the world of free-thinkers alike. I feel that this is one colossal, successful step towards TRUE freedom of religion. No longer will prejudice Christians or Cahtolics or Muslims and so forth restrain us from believing in what children are taught as blind, foolish beings who accept anything and grow under those influences. As Sam Harris says, 'Religions we consider sacred today are only sacred beacuse they were sacred yesterday.' What he means by this is that the only reason why religion is actually believeable in this modern world of ours is because day after day, generation after generation, one person's beliefs were passed down since the roots of humanity and religion. If any religion never existed in our lives or the lives of our forefathers then it can be guaranteed that if a religious belief were to suddenly be proposed in our age of society, it would quickly be dismissed as folly and ignorant. Only because we are taught such things as children or live around them throughout our lives explains why we even consider them real: because we are exposed to this fantastical, irrational state of mind when we're foolish enough to believe in such mindlessness. I am no atheist, or a Christian, or apart of any other religious cult. I believe in everything that makes sense in my mind. I DO NOT close my eyes to some beliefs and open them to others (as religion does repeatedly, only accepting scientific facts that support their beliefs while disregarding any that contradict them). I keep all senses keen to reality. I'm on a journey, like so many others, to find a peace of mind in which I can think of the day that I die and not be afraid of an eternity in hell simply for not believing in something that literally has not made one appearance on this planet, except in non-proven stories. I truly believe that humanity is simply learning another global lesson. As with racism and World Wars, among other mistakes humanity has commited, breaking from the shackles of religion and accepting all rational and fair( fair as in beliefs that don't hurt others) beliefs is another lesson we'll hopefully learn as soon as possible. Sadly, it seems that humans only learn their lesson when something horrible or significant happends. With racism it took the ignorance and prejudice beliefs of slave owners to finally, after hundreds of years, give african-americans the FAITH and strength needed to overcome the IGNORANT BELIEFS of racists. Same thing with the belief that women were lesser than men and deserved less rights. In World War II it took a nuclear explosion to Hiroshima to finally shock the faces of this world into regret and sudden realization of its errors. And now, as it seems so inevitable, the ignorant and closeminded beliefs of religious people who claim their beliefs as 'the one and only' are suffering the same mistakes that racists, those who oppose female equality, and the icons that shaped the major wars of our time endured. The only problem with this new lesson that humans are learning is that we may not survive the outcomes of such ignorant and rash ways of life.

posted by Anonymous on December 2, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Interesting but Highly Flawed

I picked up this book because I, too, believe that, by and large, organized religion is a scourge that has been more divisive than beneficial in the history of humankind, and I wanted to know what someone else had to say on the subject. Unfortunately, Sam Harris...
I picked up this book because I, too, believe that, by and large, organized religion is a scourge that has been more divisive than beneficial in the history of humankind, and I wanted to know what someone else had to say on the subject. Unfortunately, Sam Harris is as dogmatic and bombastic -- and often simplistic -- as many of the people he criticizes. His arguments, finally, are generally not persuasive because they are expressed in such concrete, absolute terms -- he is terribly convinced of his own 'rightness,' and he puts many questions to the reader that he then answers for him/her, without giving the reader a chance to come to his/her own conclusion. In short, he shoves his opinions -- often thinly disguised as facts -- down the reader's throat instead of taking the time and thought to present a full argument 'despite the many citations and the voluminous -- and often fascinating -- notes, which in the end are more about quantity than quality'. The prose is also laced through with a sarcasm that is funny but does not serve his argument well and that seems a substitute for greater intellectual rigor and objectivity. I wanted to admire this book, but it was impossible given his all-or- nothing stance. He also seems to use the words 'God' and 'religion' interchangeably. Whether one believes in God or not, the two terms represent very different things -- and the book's focus should have been the 'religion' of the title. Questions of 'God' are something different, as many who have spurned organized religion 'and violence' have maintained a belief in God -- the venerable and highly ethical George Eliot 'nee Maryann Evans' among them. Sam Harris is a good writer who knows how to keep his reader's attention. But this book, whose subject held so much promise, seems little more than a grad student's diatribe in the end -- prettily written, to be sure, but nowhere near as sophisticated as its author appears to believe.

posted by Anonymous on July 20, 2007

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thought Provoking

    This may offend those that choose to belive in tribal myths. The majority of the human race require the comfort provided by religious leaders that promise wonderful things at the end of life. This book shows that our civilization is still relatively primitive.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Much Needed Topic of Discussion is Now Discussed

    Sam Harris's book definitely shows that he has well thought out what to say on the topic of religion. He explains, in very descriptive terms, how religious fundamentalism, whether it's Chrisianity, Judaism or Islam, has everything to do with controlling people, as opposed to loving them. While I do disaree with him saying that all religious moderates are a threat (even though I think they're wrong as well) he provides a decent argument on why he thinks that way. I would absolutely recommend this book to anybody who is disheartened by religion's need to control people's everyday lives, including their own.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    A well-written book on a difficult subject.

    I was particularly impressed with the 'problem of evil'. I did not understand the part about meditation because I dislike meditating. I would have liked to have him address the benefits of religion because religion has many powerful benefits. When people pray with faith, they thank God for their blessings, they ask God to look after others, and they seek guidance. After prayer believers feel blessed, benevolent toward others, clear-headed, and free of worldy cares. Indescribable job flows from prayer, but I no longer believe that it is the work of God. Understanding what happens to believers is important, however, if we hope to persuade believers to think more rationally.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Good read.

    Open-minded for an atheiet.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2010

    Excellent

    Very enlightening and absorbing. Excellent book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2007

    Great, but get the latest release

    The most challenging and thoght provoking book I gave ever read. That said, get the later release (paperback if necessary) that has his 'Afterword'.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Really enjoyed. I do not agree 100% as time and year for some of Islam wars are not given as to Mecca, or Medina era. Other than certain parts need to be in more depth.

    I feel this is a must read for any free thinker, or one who claims to be. I have no need for salvation or reason to believe what can not be proved at all. So praise for this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2005

    Challenging the Believer's perspective ..

    Passing in Review ¿The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason¿ by Sam Harris Review by M. Vince Turner November 2005 Author Sam Harris takes a no-holds-barred assault on religion in his book The End of Faith. Harris¿ assault, however, is not vindictive. Like a finely sighted assault weapon, Harris picks his targets carefully and hits a bull¿s eye with each salvo against organized religion and the legions that come together to form organized religion. Christians, Jews and Muslims do not escape his sights. Harris takes on this subject with righteous aplomb, ripping away the veil of sanctimoni-ous cover that has shielded each religious sect so affectively for too long. As an ordained minister, I found much of The End of Faith right on target. Harris elaborates myriad aspects of organized religion that have come to make too much religion the enemy of God rather than being the advocate of God among groups that lay strong claim to ¿their¿ God. At times Harris applies near-surgical skill, pulling away the cancerous flesh that clothes so much of religion today and he shows how religious praxis has created too much harm in this world and how religion continues to do so. The End of Faith is not a book that will be well-received by the self-righteous Christians, so many of whom assert ¿their¿ God is the only God and that their ¿God¿ accepts only certain people or certain groups within this cosmos we call Earth. That is not to suggest I agree with every thing Harris writes, but I admit to agreeing or concur-ring with a larger portion of this book. Harris stresses the importance and significance of spiri-tuality and mysticism, which in Christian faith is where the heart of Jesus of Nazareth fully re-sides. Harris challenges the notion that the Christian God is better than the Muslim God, or the Jewish God trumps the others or is trumped by the others. The sacredness of God is dimin-ished by the ways Holy Scripture is misinterpreted in order to meet and support political objec-tives and ends. Which among us truly holds possession of the ¿right¿ God? Harris points without timidity at how the God of Muslims is violent and how Muslims put that violent God into action. Yet, Christians are called to face that same ferocity of God as practiced in modern day America. They are then challenged to ask themselves if this is really the way ¿their/our¿ God wants us to act. No one¿s God gets off Scot-free in The End of Faith. The End of Faith will get little support from those Christian groups today who see America as God¿s chosen nation, God¿s new empire. The End of Faith will raise the ire and hackles of those who believe they have all the right answers, unwilling to be open to other points of view. The sad tale of the Sadducees and the Pharisees of Jesus¿ time is resurrected, and we see those sects alive and well in today¿s world creating the same arrogance, intolerance, nationalism and destruction they created two millennia ago. The End of Faith offers objective criticism of relig-ion and details how much of religion has offered less benevolence and benignity to the world while offering up more vengeance, vindictiveness and destruction all ¿in the name of God¿. For those interested in seeing religion painted with an unvarnished eye, I strongly recommend The End of Faith. It will challenge many of today¿s believers, but that is after what Jesus of Nazareth was attempting in His own time. Those Christians who recall that the first Christians were referred to as ¿The People of the Way¿ will learn from The End of Faith how we have fallen away from that ¿way¿. Those bold enough to read The End of Faith should come away feeling enlightened, although that ¿enlightenment¿ may prove troubling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2005

    Insightful!

    In this hotly controversial book, author Sam Harris faults religion for being illogical, for inciting societies to violence and for not reconciling faith and reason. Many classic thinkers and theologians struggled with this question, including Maimonides and Aquinas, who are absent from the index. Such omissions lead one to acknowledge the author¿s passionate writing perhaps more than his scholarship, which is also open to some challenge as he explains the tenets of various faiths. Harris, who has a compelling narrative style, provokes readers to confront their own philosophies as he asks another ancient question: why does a good God permit evil? Harris¿s anti-religious discourse promotes reason as a panacea and asserts that spiritual living does not require religious practice. He particularly examines the role of extremist religious belief in its most violent manifestations, such as Jihad. He asks why polite society cannot criticize religion if it motivates suicide bombers and terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, however, Harris follows the Pied Piper of rationalism off the cliff by articulating a dispiriting, dangerous message against tolerating religious tolerance itself. If you want to provoke some spirited conversations, or reconsider venerable philosophical issues in the light of difficult modern times, we believe this may intrigue you. Readers who share Harris¿ fury about religion¿s influence will find their opinions vigorously supported, while those who believe that religion is a force for good will find that reading this book is an opportunity to exercise the patience of a saint.

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