The End of Faith


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In The End of Faith, the author presents his case why it's time to move past religion. He does this quite eloquently presenting various well-researched facts that are difficult to refute. Sam Harris is clearly careful in the way he presents information. It is obvious that his writing was well-thought out and there is virtually no repetitive nature to his work. His writings and words are certainly provocative.

One of the chapters is titled "the problem with Islam", where he makes the case for the fact that this religion, in particular, has a big problem with extremism. He argues that by engaging with regimes who support this extremism, we are undermining the efforts of the moderate religious people as well as secularists who have to live under oppressive environments. He makes this case for Christianity and Judaism as well, though not to as great a length. The challenge with his presentation, I feel, is that he presents no tangible alternative, or path forward. 

The End of Faith provides few realistic examples in the way of alternatives or how to address the dangers cited. For example, it's not as though we can tell all the extremists in the world to "cut it out"; and although you may disagree, you can't kill everyone of them without incurring serious collateral damage and creating more. To be clear, the author does not propose either one of those options. However, I was left wondering what his proposals, or any proposals would look like and those two came to mind.

That being said, I am familiar with the Sam Harris's other writing, and can say that he does present tangible alternatives in following books. In each of his books, he reads his own work, which I always consider a plus. I feel that I got a sense for how he truly feels about the subject matter, and the message he tries to convey. Sam Harris's voice is very calming and he presents the material in such a way that I feel like I'm having a conversation with him. 

The conversation with Sam Harris isn't unreasonably long. The audio book is about 10 hours. Overall, I found this to be a very thought-provoking read. I'm not at all surprised it made the NYT best-seller list. I highly recommend it.