Letter to a Christian Nation

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"Thousands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know
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Letter to a Christian Nation

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Overview

"Thousands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse."

So begins Letter to a Christian Nation...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This brief (112-page) book by philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris directly challenges the religious certainties of the Christian Right. Citing polls and doctrines, the author of The End of Faith vigorously attacks literalist dogmas that he believes are a direct threat to our future. An uncompromising indictment of fundamentalism.
From the Publisher
"A breath of fresh fire." —Wall Street Journal“I dare you to read this book...it will not leave you unchanged. Read it if it is the last thing you do.” —Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion“It’s a shame that not everyone in this country will read Sam Harris’ marvelous little book Letter to a Christian Nation. They won’t but they should.” —Leonard Susskind, Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics, Stanford University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743567053
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 12/1/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 2 CDs, 2 hours
  • Pages: 2
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. www.samharris.org.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 150 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(94)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 150 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2006

    Everything I think on this subject

    I loved this book and agree with it 100%. Everything I cant stand about the religious right laied out crisp and clear. How can they call themselves the people of life when they oppose vaccines for preventable illnesses and vital medical research that could save millions? Do they really deserve the name of the culture of life? I think the words of Pat Robertson settle that one pretty well: 'I dont see why we don't just kill him (Hugo Chavez} its cheaper than starting a war'. Yes, the people of life like to murder people because it is, and I quote, 'cheaper than starting a war.'

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    I'm not religious, and I was still disappointed

    My problem with this book is that it made many claims to which it offered no reference, and little sign of previous discussion or thought. The book may not be long, but something that makes as many claims and generic references and employs as many various statistics as it does should have a reference page that is longer than a page or two. I was very excited to read this book, because I expected some developed thoughts. But this book seemed to follow suit with most religion bashing. It employed the same, tired ideas that opponents of organized religion always come back to. Perhaps if this book softened its angry tone, or went into just a little bit of depth, it could be taken seriously, even by those who abide by the Bible. But this opportunity, sadly, was wasted. Granted, my reading experience wasn't a complete waste of time. I certainly found parts thought-provoking, interesting, truthful, and frightening. For this reason I feel the book is worth a read. Yet this book is only preaching to the choir. Most of those who will read this book already agreed with everything the book argued, and those who don't will feel reaffirmed in believing that it's just the product of some sad, lost, God-hater. So for a book that has been heralded as something that will alter the course of human existing, I found Letter to A Christian Nation a little disappointing.

    7 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2008

    Best Nonfiction Book I've Ever Read

    This book is truly incredible. I'm an avid reader and I rarely come across a book that is as well written as Letter to a Christian Nation. His arguments are carefully supported and his points hit close to home. It is truly a wake-up call to our society and our world. If you are looking for a read that will expand your mind then this is the book for you. If you are a closed-minded religious person, it is sure to keep you up all night praying.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2007

    The Perfect Response to American Christianity

    It's so sad to see so many terrible reviews from people just because this man disagrees with their religious views. How much more closed-minded can this country get? This is exactly why America needs this book, and as far I as I'm concerned, every man, woman, and child in the U.S. should read it. People have become so absolutely certain of their religious beliefs so certain that they are willing to ignore evidence against it, and even make up evidence for it, in order to avoid admitting that they may have made a mistake. Christianity is not all bad, but these people are kidding themselves if they don't believe that it is greatly harming America. For God's sake, it is the only reason that 1/2 of our country ACTUALLY believes that the earth was created 6000 years ago. We need to put a stop to the stubborn American tendency towards ignorance, and 'Letter' is merely the first step. Maybe the next generation won't be defiled by nonsense about 3000 year old dinosaur bones and world-wide floods, and maybe, just maybe, they won't have to be afraid of admitting to not believing in fairy tales.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    In Fairness, Perhaps One Should Read A Book Before Posting A Review

    Somehow I doubt that's the case in the previous 'review' (or, more appropriately, rant?). The rant, yes, let's call it that since it more accurately reflects its substance, fails to critique Mr. Harris's book on the basis of its content or the logic (or even lack thereof) of his arguments. The ranter is not upset at the conclusions, necessarily, as much as he is appalled that Mr. Harris has such poor taste as to ask questions and put forth a position. To quote from Douglas Adams in his impromptu speech at Cambridge: 'Religion... has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about you're just not. Why not? Because you're not!' If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like, everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says, 'I mustn't move a light switch on Saturday', you say, 'I respect that.' Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows -- but to have an opinion about how the Universe began... no, that's holy?... Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. When you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be.' Read the book and debate its merits, but have the debate. Questions are 'bad' only in the eyes of those who are unwilling to search for answers.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very informative, entertaining, and important discussion.

    When I first started to read this book it was outstanding. It is by far onw of the best non-fiction texts ever. It is fairly easy to read and formated in a sort of cause and effect way. Many important discussion in this book on topics such as stem-cell research. I recommend this book to everyone.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2009

    Interesting

    I am only half way thru, but this book is already interesting. I believe in God, but the all or nothing attitude that comes from Christians that I know is so annoying. They make it seem like it's so wrong to question any other possibility. If these people are so sure of God they shouldn't be so intimidated of other religions. I think that's some of what Harris is pointing out, other than the faults of believing in a god that may or may not exist. He does seem angry to me though, which I find unusual. But in general I think a lot of his arguments are valid.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A must read

    This is a short read but provides insight into the religious establishment and its effect on the human race. Should be placed along side the bible in all hotels!
    Anyone that chooses to maintain a closed mind will not benefit from this narrative.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    Ann Coulter for Athiests

    As a Christian I was expecting something more challenging and thought provoking. The tone is rude but that is to be expected, in the very first page we learn that Mr. Harris likes to bait Christians and then point out how un-Christian they are when they bite. Portions of the book were entertaining but I found the sections on stem cell research and abortion beyond boring. In the book he bears a fervent testimony of the unchallenged absolute scientific truth of man¿s evolutionary origins then fails to deliver a convincing scientific argument of any kind. He speaks of events that may or may not have happened billions of years ago with a surety of faith that would make a Baptist Minister blush. This book is Ann Coulter for atheists, if you like to stick it to Christians but you aren¿t too concerned about how air tight the scientific arguments are then this book is for you.

    5 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    Every serious Christian and Agnostic should read this!

    Anyone serious about the question whether Christianity's central precepts are true or not should read this! Believer or not.
    Sam Harris has a wonderful ability to appeal to our common sense and to make you re-think things that have been accepted as if they were self-evident, when they are most likely totally false. It's a short and very intelligent and engaging read. I highly recommend it to absolutely everyone!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    blew me away..

    I was so amazed at his views abouth life & religion. I was blown away by his strength to see both sides even though he feels so strong about his views (with good reason.) I dont see why anyone would read this book & not either review their own religion or feel connected & not alone in life. This is 100% in your face blunt, honest, truth & there is no beating around the bush with the topics in this book. It's a quick read (about a day.) Take a chance & pick it up.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2009

    A concise and compelling read.

    "A Letter to a Christian Nation" functions well primarily as a summation of the views and feelings a person has living as a "non-believer" in a Christian state. I have found that sometimes a person can have an idea of what they feel and believe without being able to clearly articulate that idea. "A Letter to a Christian Nation" serves that purpose. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding

    This is an outstanding book. I enjoyed the clearheaded presentation and the calm examination of what could easily be a very emotional subject. For those wondering what all the fuss is about with the so called "New Atheist" movement, this is a concise examination of one aspect of it. It does not claim to have answers. But among other things it presents the questions clearly in a way that can be understood without bogging down in dogma, rhetoric or emotion. I highly recommend it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Extraordinary!

    One of the best books of its kind that I have ever read! It can be enlightening and strangely exciting for someone who is frustrated with the place of religion in everyday life but can't quite put her feelings into words. It is very easy to read and very hard to put down! (Fortunately, it's only ~100 pages, so you don't have to!)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2009

    A good atheist manifesto

    If you are questioning your beliefs in religion, this might not sway you. But if you are looking for affirmation of your atheist viewpoint, this serves well to strengthen your resolve.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2008

    A Handout

    I remember my father telling me about a friend of his who kept a collection of Darwin's Origin of the Species so that he could pass it out to those who knocked on his door to prosthelitize their Belief. This is what I am now doing with Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation. Not only is it short and easy to read, but it also manages to hit the most critical points as to why so many of us do NOT believe in God/gods or the supernatural. Of all the better known modern-day non-theists (e.g. Dawkins, Hitchens and Dennett), Sam Harris presents our argument in the gentlist and least antagonistic way.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2008

    Thanks

    Great book. Science lends itself to intelligent discussion. It begs for it. Religion does not. It shuns it and attacks it with often horrible consequences. Some of the reviewers of this book give credence to the idea that religion wants to criticize while offering little more than ever changing interpretations of text written by ancient men who were afraid of the dark. Religion wants to obscure, obstruct and at the very least dilute scientific understanding of our world, while at the same time closing off and silencing any kind of scrutiny. Intolerance for non-religion is accepted and promoted. Saying that a non-believer will burn in hell for eternity is somehow okay. But suggest that religious beliefs are outdated or simply out of touch with reality and all of a sudden you are a bigot with no tolerance for others what-so-ever. I've tolerated the intolerance of the religious all my life. I've been told I'm going to hell. I've had a neighbor cease speaking to me because I do not believe. My best friend from high school became a Christian. He told me one day in so many words that unless I became a Christian and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior we could no longer be friends. Intolerance? Yes, I know what intolerance is. I have been hurt and frightened by this intolerance. I'm glad that Sam Harris and others are finally standing up and saying enough is enough. Note to those who found his arguments lacking any support. You need to read the first book, 'The End of Faith.' There's plenty of support found there.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Letter from an old friend

    This may be a letter to a Christian nation, but it reads like a letter from an old friend to us atheists and agnostics. Sam Harris is a gifted and clear writer, but he falls into the trap of so many other freethinkers who write about religion--the book will never reach those who need it most. It is one thing to be open about religion's pitfalls and dangers it is another thing to alienate those readers who need to hear what you have to say, and that is precisely what Harris and Dawkins 'the 'bad cops' of New Atheism' have done. Nonreligious folk cheer them on, but we're not the ones who need convincing of the dangers of organized religion. It's religious people who do--and very few of them are ever going to get through this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2007

    Thank You Sam Harris

    Sam Harris has finally been able to convey his argument in a perfect way. In this book, in basic letter form to respond to the deluge of mail he received for his preceding book, he is able to form his thoughts in a simple, coherent, and utterly brilliant way. By taking to task those in government who use religious people, 'imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religious dogma, should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency', to church sanctioned torture and killing, 'the problem is that the teachings of the Bible are so muddled and self-contradictory that it was possible for Christians to happily burn heretics alive for five long centuries. It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas). Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches. You are, of course, free to interpret the Bible differently--though isn't it amazing that you have succeeded in discerning the true teachings of Christianity, while the most influential thinkers in the history of your faith have failed?' and even the religious justification of slavery, 'the moment a person recognizes that slaves are human beings like himself, enjoying the same capacity for suffering and happiness, he will understand that it is patently evil to own them and treat them like farm equipment. It is remarkably easy for a person to arrive at this epiphany--and yet, it had to be spread at the point of a bayonet throughout the Confederate South, among the most pious Christians this country has ever known.' Harris does an incredible job at laying out the awesome hypocrisy of the Christian Church through its history and how it continues today. Finally, the author faces the reality behind the belief. It is that we all are small, inconsequential beings starving for approval and our own place/understanding. His quote of 'There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: the creator of the universe takes an interest in me, approves of me, loves me, and will reward me after death my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain the best statement of the truth until the end of the world everyone who disagrees with me will spend an eternity in hell...' spells out how badly far certain individuals in our society will go to feel special. I found this book both straightforward in its style, deeply cathartic, and a highly intelligent book that should be read by everyone who feels the need to either stretch their mind or enter the discussion on religious discourse.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    Stay away from your faith?

    You mean your process of non thinking? Please, get real. Religion and God are both fallacies. Mr. Harris portrays that fact very well as do other reasonable intellects. And since when did he force his opinion upon you? You're the one who bought his book! Idiocy. 'People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs.'

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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