Letter to a Christian Nation

  • by Sam Harris
  • Narrated by Jordan Bridges
  • 1 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Forty-four percent of the American population is convinced that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead sometime in the next 50 years," writes Sam Harris. "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." In response to his award-winning best seller The End of Faith, Sam Harris received thousands of letters from Christians excoriating him for not believing in God. Letter to A Christian Nation is his courageous and controversial reply. Using rational argument, Harris offers a measured refutation of the beliefs that form the core of fundamentalist Christianity. Addressing current topics ranging from intelligent design and stem-cell research to the connections between religion and violence, Letter to A Christian Nation boldly challenges the influence that faith has on public life in the United States.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

the examined life

Sam Harris has written this short work as a follow-up to his earlier book THE END OF FAITH (also available now from Audible).

Although titled in a way that suggests that christianity is the target of Harris' analyses and arguments (or, of that christian variant that insists the USA is, or should be, a "christian nation") don't let that mislead you.

It is actually a hyper-rationalist critique of religion in general, christianity simply providing the framework for structuring the arguments.

The work is well read and sufficiently short (a bit under two hours) that most would probably benefit from listening two or three times, at least to have given all the arguments a fair hearing.

An enormous amount of material is covered in the book and it would be no surprise to find that one argument or another triggered so emotional a reaction in the listener that portions of subsequent material were missed.

The book is a challenge to the religious, a challenge to apply the same rationality to religion and religious beliefs that we commonly apply to all other aspects of our world and lives.

Give this work a serious listen and you'll never deserve to be targeted by Socrates' "The unexamined life is not worth living"
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- Stanley

Well argued, but not without its own limits

This "letter" from Sam Harris is superficially directed at conservative Christians, particularly those who interpret the Bible literally. However, in reality, it is directed at everyone. For atheists, it is a defense of their view of the world. For those who have a belief in god or God, but who are not conservative Christians, Harris spends almost as much time chastising them as he does conservative Christians. Indeed, he spent as much time proclaiming the dangers of Islam as he does of Christianity.

Make no mistake about it, Harris is an atheist. His is also what I would call conservative atheism, showing as much disdain and perhaps even hatred of all religion as many conservative Christians or Muslims have for those of other faiths. If you accept his underlying assumption, which is that rational thought should be the deciding factor when evaluating everything in life -- including all religions, then his conclusions will follow logically and you will find yourself agreeing with them. But you may not find yourself agreeing with his strident tone, one that often seems intent on inciting conflict for the sake of conflict.

And what if you don't accept his underlying assumption? What if rational logic is not the only thing important when evaluating beliefs in this world? What if religion exists, not because it makes rational sense, but because people have a spiritual and/or emotional need that rational though cannot fulfill, but religion can and does? What if that is the point of religion? Then even as Harris undermines various rational arguments justifying religion, he misses the point. This is not to say that all his criticisms of various religions are without some merit, but perhaps those criticisms are justified because religions (like Harris) may miss the point of why people need them.

I am an M.D. and Ph.D. in science, the son of an atheist, who has ended up as a deist, believing in a "god" that is real, amorphous, and uninterest in us.
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- Albert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-17-2006
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio