Sam Harris: Letter to a Christian Nation

Harris, Sam. Letter to a Christian Nation (New York: Vintage, 2008)

The new 22-page afterword was reason enough for me to pick this up in paperback despite already owning a hardcover copy (reviewed here); it also increased the original book's page count by nearly a quarter. Harris' invigorating epistolary evangelism is still too briefly expressed, though; the afterword adds too little to a book that is still too brief. Harris discusses human sacrifice, transubstantiation, religious moderation, Pascal's Wager, and Mother Teresa's crisis of faith, but all in a very cursory manner. Unless you are building a complete atheist's library, skip this edition; there are better ways to spend $11.

Having said that, this passage almost made the purchase worthwhile:

Scripture itself remains a perpetual engine of extremism: because, while He may be many things, the God of the Bible and the Qur'an is not a moderate. [...] ...the more fully a person grants credence to these books, the more he will be convinced that infidels, heretics, and apostates deserve to be smashed to atoms in God's loving machinery of justice. (p. 105)


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