Letter to a Christian Nation

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Letter To A Christian Nation is a book written by Sam Harris about some of the problems with the views of Christians today, particularly American ones, for whom the book was aimed at. The book is written as addressed to religious fundamentalists rather than moderates.

Synopsis

First of all, Hariis starts by noting that either Christainity is true or it is false. He also argues that Muslims often believe different things than Christians but for basically the same reasons.

The Wisdom Of The Bible Harris discusses a lot of the problems witha Biblical-based morality, and examples of atrocity contained within both the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

Real Morality Harris argues that religion is not a basis for morality, and actually is often a basis for immorality because "it tends to divorce morality from the reailty of human and animal suffering."[1] He argues that because of this religion can give people moral concerns that are deeply immoral, such as opposing condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Doing Good For God What about the people who do good things in the name of their faith? Harris says that compassion is not dependednt on religion and that religion can cause compassion to be misguided.

Are Atheists Evil? Harris argues that if religion is the only basis for moraily, one would expect all atheists to be immoral. Although religious people often argue that Stalin was an atheists and he was much worse than religious believers, Harris counters by saying that they embraced other irrational dogmas--and that atheism is not dogmatic. He also argues that countries with high levels of atheism tend to be healthier and better off than hjighly religious societies.

Who Puts The Good In The "Good Book"? Harris argues that we decide which parts of the Bible to accept as moral and which not to, thus the Bible cannot be a basis for morality.

The Goodness Of God This section discusses the fact that God does nothing to prevent the suffering of human beings.

The Power Of Prophesy Many religious people argue that the prophesies fulfilled in the New Testament are evidence for God's existence, but Harris criticises this claim by saying that the prophesies are not specific enough, and they are nowhere near the work of prophesy that an onmicient being could come up with.

The Fact Of Life Discusses the fact of evolution and some problems with intelligent design.

Religion, Violence and The Future Of Civilisation Talks about religious conflict, and why moderate religious people do not undestand the motivations of extremists.

Conclusion He concludes by saying that we need discourse on ethics and spirituality.

  1. Sam Harris, Letter To A Christian Nation, Transworld Publishers [2006] 2007 pg. 25
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