Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Letter to a Christian Nation: Sam Harris (Knopf). The land of the free, home of the brave, U.S. of A. is nothing if not an odd, paradoxical place. Money driven, obsessed by technology and sex crazed, our country has as many churches as burger joints. In Sam Harris’ not so tempered words we now appear “like a lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted giant” to an increasingly secular Western world. Harris is one of a new breed of anti-religious zealots bent on driving a stake into the heart of this Christian Nation. At the risk, strike that, the certainly of offending many a good Christian, not to mention the Muslims, Jews, and the rest, I say good luck to him and his kind. Letter to a Christian Nation is the follow-up to his previous delirious attack upon the faithful and their faith, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and a companion to the like minded Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. At a mere 96 pages this might be the best place for the novice secularist to begin before delving into those heftier, earlier polemics. Though this is presented as an answer to his Christian critics, it is not likely to convince anyone. It is the proverbial example of preaching to the black hooded anti-choir. Critics of Harris and Dawkins accuse them of not saying anything new. Perhaps there is some truth to the criticism, but where else are these supposedly obvious things being said? Where are the critics of every politician of the so-called-left or the very far right when they start slobbering on about their faith? What the heck does faith have to do with the war in Iraq? I almost forgot. Faith is in fact the cause of that war, and most of the rest of the problems in the world today and for the last several thousand years of recorded history. This small book is nothing but a poke in the belly of the beast known as Christianity.


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