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Letter to a Christian Nation - Sam Harris - A Summary

Versão em Português aqui


      A sensational book that is read with pleasure in one breath, raises a number of issues culminating partly in the hope that the religious phenomenon with all the suffering that has brought mankind through the millennia to be eradicated in favor of scientific rationalism, in part with a slightly pessimistic tone about the difficulties we saw lying to eradicate this evil.



      Intimate, the author addresses the reader informally pointing out, just to start some things that everyone agrees: "If, as you believe, the god of the Old Testament created the universe in six days about 6,000 years ago, that to atone for a metaphorical sin sent his son - born of a virgin and who was, after all, the god himself - much to atone for the sin of Adam and Eve metaphor sin as to atone all present and future sins of humanity, Sam Harris, who does not believe in anything without proper plausible empirical evidence, is wrong and will suffer in eternity suffering in hellfire. It puts what he calls "liberal" or "moderate" in a situation even more embarrassing because of the utopian tending to compromise. Scientific Facts and Historical Data are or are not, there is no room for compromise. In summary, the purpose of religious phenomena, would end the lie that is the intellectual "Religious Tolerance", much discussed, and widespread in spoken discourse but without any practical effect.

      Believers are indoctrinated from childhood to reject the scientific evidence and accept uncritically the theological discourse of a book written at the end of the Neolithic, full of contradictions and inaccuracies, always according to what presumably literate theological authority of their creed determines which dogma to follow. In the case of Christianity, things like the virgin birth of Jesus, the "atonement" on the cross, the resurrection of the dead, and in many cases, even greater absurdities as "stopping the sun in the sky for the Hebrews to win a battle", " knock down stone walls with brass in sheep’s horns ", etc

      Work mostly unnecessary, but for the fact that the majority of religious believers (over 50% in the U.S. only) not only believe in what is literally written in the Bible as to prevent scientific advances such as stem cell research (a theme which must be ethically and rationally debated by geneticists, physicians and other authorities on the subject) but outside the scope of religion that is heavily determined according to the faith professed by the voters.

      One of the most important achievements of Western Civilization, the fruit of Enlightenment rationalism, is the legal equality between men and women. Following the Bible literally - a work written at a time when women were "property" of husband, father or brother - goes in the opposite direction to this progress. Jewish and Muslim religions in the picture is not different, being greatly simplified the equation: either the woman assumes the role of legally equipotent to man, or follow their religious faith. There is no compromise possible and the amount of suffering that brings religious approach particularly to women in the world is immense!



      About Theodicy ("if God existed, how would one explain the existence of evil in the world?") A few paragraphs citing as the survivors of great tragedies, the believers of today do no better than those of the Middle Ages: "God was testing our faith…" Impressive ...

      About Atheism: Sam Harris rightly is disgusted by this term. After all, there is not any expression to qualify a citizen who doubts astrology, homeopathy, healing with crystals, elves, goblins and other fruits of human imagination or delusion. Why do we need a specific term to refer to those who do not accept the dogma of ancient texts and keep people fanaticized?

      I confess having missed clearer political references - which is repeated in Dawkins, Hitchens and Denett (the four most famous and significant intellectuals in the fight for science against superstition in the world). The Palestinian Muslim fanatic who blows himself up in a Mall in Israel certainly believes in a heavenly reward for their act, but these authors omit the Muslim faithful are led to such a gesture of utter despair by the cruel way that the political state of Israel with broad financial support of the U.S.  towards the Palestinians. The political acts dressed in religious gestures - and there are lots of them! - Are apparently beyond what Georg Lukacs called "Threshold of Possible Consciousness" of a particular author or analyst.

      Nevertheless, this is a book that will enrich considerably the scientific thinker and will bring challenges to the religious - to whom the book is supposedly addressed - who dare to face him. Exceptional in its entire length and rigor, intellectual honesty, the whole race! Therefore conclude with these words in honor of the author: it is paramount to the scientific rigor and intellectual honesty in all forms of dialogue among peoples of the world!



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