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Publisher's Summary

Here is an impassioned plea for reason in a world divided by faith. This important and timely work delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behavior and sometimes heinous crimes. He asserts that in the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, the world can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another. Most controversially, he argues that the we cannot afford moderate lip service to religion - an accommodation that only blinds us to the real perils of fundamentalism.
While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris also draws on new evidence from neuroscience and insights from philosophy to explore spirituality as a biological, brain-based need. He calls on us to invoke that need in taking a secular humanistic approach to solving the problems of this world.
©2007 Sam Harris (P)2004 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 08-04-13

Easy to misinterpret

Any additional comments?

A brilliant discussion of why faith (belief in something you can’t prove) is incompatible with a world brimming with weapons of mass destruction. I'd stopped reading this after a couple of chapters when the book came out years ago because Harris said something that angered me. Since then, he’s found himself frequently explaining how people misinterpreted that part (allegedly saying Islam should be outlawed; he also has pointed out misinterpretations about the part involving a nuclear first strike on the Middle East). So I decided to try it again since I've enjoyed his subsequent books, especially “The Moral Landscape.” And, yep, I didn’t fully grasp what he was saying. This is a deeply thought-provoking book. I especially liked his takedown of Chomsky on moral equivalency.

The narrator is boring and robotic at first but either he becomes more invested in the text as it goes along or I got used to him so that about a third of the way through, his delivery didn't grate anymore.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By W. Long on 09-17-10

Good book, bad narrator

Great book, good ideas. Wish Sam Harris had read it himself. The narrator doesn't seem to be able to inflect and give proper emphasis to Sam's words.

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36 of 38 people found this review helpful

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