Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris (2006)

HarrisLetter2XtianSam Harris is one of the big names in modern atheism, along with Dawkins, Dennett and Hitchens. Like the others, he has an ability to write clear and comprehensible arguments against religious dogma. This book is a precious resource for anyone who finds themselves at a loss for words when confronted with the basically irrational comments of Christians.

For example, a lady at the grocery store commented on my tee shirt that says “Support science, not superstition.” The background is a DNA double helix, and the first “t” in “superstition” is enlarged and colored to be a Christian cross. She commented that she liked my tee shirt, and said she wasn’t talking about superstition, she was talking about Jesus. No snappy comeback occurred to me. Perhaps if I’d studied this book before that incident, I’d have had one.

Harris has no time for “moderate” or “liberal” Christians, either. His point is that their position is not only meaningless, but enabling of the more radical types. He uses Muslim irrationality to make the point to Christians, but the underlying point is clear: believing in a creator God, and especially if one assumes said god is benevolent, simply cannot be reconciled with the facts. Like myself, he answers the old saw about “God works in mysterious ways” by pointing out that if there really was an omnipotent God who planned all this, including hurricanes and deadly diseases and war and starvation, then he would be a sadistic monster.

This is another one of those books which makes me wish I had the money to buy up several boxes and distribute them widely.

Statements in this review do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.