Monday, November 15, 2010

A book more important than the Bible?

I am only part-way through this book, and I am writing notes in my journal from nearly every page of it. I think this may be one of the most important books I will ever read.
Sam Harris, who wrote "The End of Faith," is an eloquent, sobering author who is well educated (he has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA,) and he has the uncommon ability to communicate effectively with a large audience. The man's arguments are impressive and well-founded. 
I am considering buying everyone I know a copy of this book for Christmas. Ironic, perhaps, since Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of Christ, and this book argues that ethics does not belong in the realm of Christianity (or any other religion), but as an undeveloped branch of science. 

Yes, science.

  "Just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra," writes Harris, "we will see that there is no such thing as Christian or Muslim morality."
Harris argues that "both sides" (conservative people of faith and non-religious people who are liberal) "believe that reason is powerless to answer the most important questions in human life."  

"It should concern us that these two orientations are not equally empowering. Increasingly, secular democracies are left supine before the unreasoning zeal of old-time religion."

And I love this, too:  "...not knowing what is right - or that anything can ever be truly right - often leads secular liberals to surrender their intellectual standards and political freedoms with both hands."   

 Perhaps it does take a neuroscientist to explain this concept:
"While the argument I make in this book is bound to be controversial, it rests on a very simple premise: human well-being entirely depends on events in the world and on states of the human brain. Consequently, there must be scientific truths to be known about it." 

(Bold words and underlining were done by me. - JL)

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