Sunday, November 26, 2006

Book of the Month: The End of Faith

Sam Harris' The End of Faith challenges us to take a hard look at religion in the modern world and wonder why we still refuse to apply reason and evidence to it when we require rationality for any other subject of debate. As Harris argues (and I agree), we need to make this change sooner rather than later because Iron Age beliefs can quickly become the means to our extinction in an age of nuclear weapons.

Harris initially confronts the most obvious religious problem in the world today: militant Islam. His main point is that all Islam is militant and not a religion of peace. For proof, one simply needs to read the Koran where every single book has calls for Muslims to kill infidels. It's refreshing to see an author confront the truth of the matter rather than skirting the issue and saying the Islam has been "hijacked by radicals." Only with the true nature of the problem in sight can we even try to address the problem.

However, Harris does not limit himself to Islam. He turns equally against Christianity and shows how destructive of an influence it has become in the US. Many of his arguments can be found throughout this blog. Correctly arguing that no modern Christian derives thier morality from the literal word of the Bible, Harris makes a plea for people of faith to confront the true issues of the day with reason rather than outdated poetry and realize that clinging to religious dogma would be considered a sign of insanity if only everyone else wasn't doing it. Consider the following quote from The End of Faith: "Jesus Christ - who, as it turns out, was born of a virgin, cheated death and rose bodily into the heavens - can now be eaten in the form of a cracker. A few Latin words spoken over your favourite burgundy, and you can drink his blood as well. Is there any doubt that a lone subscriber to these beliefs would be considered mad?" I just hope enough Christians can get the message. I doubt they will, but The End of Faith will at least provide rational people with quality ammunition to argue their point.

No comments: