Letter to a Christian Nation

Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation is only ninety-one very small pages long. I started it last night and finished tonight although it could easily be read straight through in one evening. The letter is written to Christians who wrote Sam letters in response to his much larger volume, The End of Faith. While it doesn’t contain any new arguments against religions and their unsupported dogmas, it is significantly shorter.

I could quote the entire book in this single entry but I’ll let you check it out at the library or purchase it the store of your choice. You may be asking, “Why does it matter? Can’t we all just get along?” Sam answers this in the opening note to the reader:

Our country now appears, as at no other time in her history, like a lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted giant. Anyone who cares about the fate of civilization would do well to recognize that the combination of great power and great stupidity is simply terrifying, even to one’s friends.

The truth, however, is that many of us may not care about the fate of civilization. Forty-four percent of the American population is convinced that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead sometime in the next fifty years. According to the most common interpretation of biblical prophecy, Jesus will return only after things have gone horribly awry here on earth. It is, therefore, not an exaggeration to say that if the city of New York were suddenly replaced by a ball of fire, some significant percentage of the American population would see a silver lining in the subsequent mushroom cloud, as it would suggest to them that the best thing that is ever going to happen was about to happen: the return of Christ. It should be blindingly obvious that beliefs of this sort will do little to help us create a durable future for ourselves–socially, economically, environmentally, or geopolitically. Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religious dogma, should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.

Do yourself and humanity a favor: read this book and consider its arguments with intellectual honesty.

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