As well-written as this book is, I doubt that it will persuade anyone to abandon his/her religion, and I’d be surprised if many Christians actually read it. It seems more likely to appeal to people like me–nonbelievers looking for help in explaining why religion makes no sense. It’s why I subscribe to “Free Inquiry” and it’s why Buddhism–the philosophical system moral practice without the relgious underpinnings–has long attracted me.
So I was already convinced when I opened this book, which is best understood as a response to critics of the author’s previous book, The End of Faith. There are numerous choice barbs here, but let me just offer one:
“The choice before us is simple: we can either have a twenty-first-century conversation about morality and human well-being–a conversation in which we avail ourselves of all the scientific insights and philosophical arguments that have accumulated in the last two thousand years of human discourse–or we can confine ourselves to a first-century conversation as it is preserved in the Bible. Why would anyone want to take the latter approach?”
For more about Sam Harris and his views (and to participate in a lively forum), check out www.samharris.org.