Book Review: The End of Faith by Sam Harris

Irreconcilable differences

A key argument Sam Harris makes is that religious moderates of various stripes are a problem too — not least because they allow for the perpetuation of the influence of religious dogma over law and life. He highlights the problem that the literal interpretation of written dogma leads to irreconcilable differences, and moderation — for the sake of co-existence — comes at the risk of not only being branded as deviation, but actually being so. With weapons of mass destruction already in the hands of some very irrational regimes, Harris contends that jettisoning organised religion is the only solution for the survival of the human race on this planet.

Harris is unafraid to take bold positions on moral relativism, victimless crimes and the influence of religion on law and politics of secular democracies. Recommended reading for those interested in secularism and the role of religion in public policy.

Update: The author’s website has some interesting excerpts as well as this interview.

10 thoughts on “Book Review: The End of Faith by Sam Harris”

  1. Communism, Socialism, Maoism……

    Dogma may not be of religious nature.

    By jettisoning religion you jettison the insight, which comes with faith.

    You dont throw baby with the water


  2. This is book seem highlight the common ideology (or, shall I say, dogma) among secularist intellectuals in the west, mainly in Europe, increasingly aped by people in the east – they increasingly define secularism as non-religion, beyond just separation of state and religion, which is different from secular as understood and practiced in other secular countries, say, India, where people of all religions flourish and let other religions flourish.

    Are we supposed throw out spiritual and religious thought that took place over centuries or millennia because there are a few extremists who want to kill other people in the name of religion? Instead of attempting to reform the extremists or, at the very least, fight back the extremists, should we throw out religious thought all together? If we follow this logic, shall we banish democracy as a political ideology because there exists more brutal or extremists political ideologies such as Communism and Fascism?

    This argument is analogous to other secularists, again, mostly Western European, who use science as the reason for wanting to banish religion. (No, this not about the silly Darwin vs. whatever arguments promoted by religious extremists in US.)

  3. I haven’t read the book. In my opinion, the term ‘organized religion’ is the right one to discuss. We do not need it. We have a robust society which does not need religion to organize people anymore. Everybody is entitles to decide where his faith lies. Bargaining and brandishing non-sense in the name of religion is what will disappear by abandoning ‘organized religion’. Let everybody follow what he wishes to and more educated we are better choices we shall make as a whole.

  4. no matter, how one spins this. any halfway reasonable person can deduct that religion in contemprary times is nothing but a crutch for the weak……who are only begging to be lied to and exploited by any number of assorted charlatans.
    and in this instance, it would bode well for the world if we threw out the baby with the bath water.

  5. Nukh,

    No I dont think so,
    It is amusing to see so called atheists and rationalist acting in the same arrogant manner they accused of religion in history.
    It is all about domination isn’t it ?

  6. Taking religion out of mankind would be to take away heart and soul of civilization.

    Anyway, what is so bad about a crutch for the weak?

  7. no. its not about domination.. its about reason.

    and to manu, taking religion out of mankind will help save our civilization

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