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Sam Harris
The End of Faith - Letter to a Christian Nation
Famous Rationalists Rationalism Atheists Atheism

Sam Harris was born in 1967.
In an August 21, 2009, appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher Harris stated that he grew up in a secular home and his parents never discussed God.
Sam Harris attended Stanford University as an English major, but dropped out of school. After eleven years he returned to Stanford and completed a B.A. degree in philosophy. In 2009 he obtained a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience at University of California, Los Angeles

During these years he is also became established as a proponent of scientific scepticism and became the author of The End of Faith (2004), which won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award.
(Harris maintains that he began to write The End of Faith on September 12th 2001, a day after the attacks, by radicalised Islamists, on the World Trade Center in New York).
Some two years later Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation (2006) appeared as a rejoinder to the criticism his first book attracted.

The following descriptions of his two major works are to be found on Sam Harris's web site (as of early July, 2010).

The End of Faith

New York Times Best Seller
Winner of the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction

The End of Faith provides a harrowing glimpse of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when these beliefs inspire the worst of human atrocities. Harris argues that in the presence of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer expect to survive our religious differences indefinitely. Most controversially, he maintains that "moderation" in religion poses considerable dangers of its own: as the accommodation we have made to religious faith in our society now blinds us to the role that faith plays in perpetuating human conflict.  While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris draws on insights from neuroscience, philosophy, and Eastern mysticism in an attempt to provide a truly modern foundation for our ethics and our search for spiritual experience.

Letter to A Christian Nation

New York Times Best Seller

In response to The End of Faith, Sam Harris received thousands of letters from Christians excoriating him for not believing in God. Letter to A Christian Nation is his reply. Using rational argument, Harris offers a measured refutation of the beliefs that form the core of fundamentalist Christianity. In the course of his argument, he addresses current topics ranging from intelligent design and stem-cell research to the connections between religion and violence. In Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris boldly challenges the influence that faith has on public life in the United States.

Harris's basic message is that the time has come to freely question the idea of religious faith. He feels that the survival of civilization is in danger because of a taboo against questioning religious beliefs.

Harris directly criticizes religion of all styles and persuasions. He sees religion as an impediment to progress toward more enlightened approaches to spirituality and ethics.

While an atheist by definition, Harris asserts that the term is not necessary and, indeed, seems to prefer to think of himself as being a rationalist. His position is that "atheism" is not a worldview or a philosophy, but the "destruction of bad ideas." He states that religion is especially rife with bad ideas, calling it "one of the most perverse misuses of intelligence we have ever devised." He compares modern religious beliefs to the myths of the Ancient Greeks, which were once accepted as fact but which are obsolete today.

He is a co-founder, together with his wife, Annaka Harris, of Project Reason, established in 2007, which is dedicated to "spreading science and secular values".
Project Reason is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. The foundation draws on the talents of prominent and creative thinkers in a wide range of disciplines to encourage critical thinking and erode the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world.
In regard to morality, Harris considers the time long overdue to reclaim the concept for rational secular humanism. Harris describes the supposed link between religious faith and morality as a myth, unsupported by statistical evidence. He notes, for instance, that the highly secular Scandinavian countries are among the most generous in helping the developing world.

Harris wishes to incorporate spirituality in the domain of human reason. He draws inspiration from the practices of Eastern religion, in particular that of meditation, as described principally by Hindu and Buddhist practitioners.

Sam Harris is also the author of "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values". (Publication date : late in 2010)

Early in 2007 Sam Harris participated with such prominent self-proclaimed atheists as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett in the recording of a two hour unmoderated discussion between them about their respective atheistical and rationalistic philosophies. This discussion apparently took place at Christopher Hitchens' apartment in Washington D.C..
Hitchens' suggestion that they, (presumably as would-be champions of a secularism that would rescue Humanity from what they saw as the disastrous consequences of Religion, Religious Authority, and Religious Identification), should style themselves as the "Four Horsemen of the Counter-Apocalypse" was abbreviated such that they decided to style themselves as "The Four Horsemen" at this time.

During their conversation Sam Harris observed:-
I mean, this is just not the way rational minds operate when they’re really trying to get at what’s true in the world. And religions purport to be representing reality. And yet there’s this peevish, tribal, and ultimately dangerous, reflexive response to having these ideas challenged.

At Age-of-the-Sage we take the view that Sam Harris and others Famous / Celebrity Rationalists and proponents of Atheism and Rationalism are in extreme danger of throwing out the "Baby with the Bathwater". That is to say that there exists an ultimately valid Spiritual Source or Solace, and Enlightening Core of Truths, which can be over-looked as a consequence of the all-too-human failings that have been accumulated across recorded time by the adherents of Religions and, on a broader canvas, by the Faith Groups themslves.

We hope that you will be very seriously intrigued by assessing how the "Poetical" wisdoms, the "Inter-Faith" wisdoms and the "Christian" wisdoms that are collected on our site are both individually valid and also have strong similarities despite their diversity of origin:-

Wisdom Quotes from the Great Poets

A Disdain for Materialism
Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.

Shakespeare

A Distrust of Intellect
The intellectual power, through words and things,
Went sounding on, a dim and perilous way!

Wordsworth

A Yearning for Divine Edification
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

Yeats

Charity
That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

Wordsworth

Purity of Heart
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience.

Shakespeare

Humility
The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him, was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breathed.

Thomas Dekker

Meekness
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish her election,
Sh'hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been
As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those
Whose blood and judgement are so well co-medled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please: give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.

Shakespeare



Wisdom Quotes from Inter-Faith Sources

These spiritual insights quotations demonstrate the recognition of individual important Spiritual Truths by one of the world religions in the case of each "Truth":-
A Disdain for Materialism
Chuang Tzu put on cotton clothes with patches in them, and arranging his girdle and tying on his shoes, (i.e. to keep them from falling off), went to see the prince of Wei.
"How miserable you look, Sir!" Cried the prince. "It is poverty, not misery", replied Chuang Tzu. "A man who has TAO cannot be miserable. Ragged clothes and old boots make poverty, not misery".

Chuang Tzu - (Taoism)

A Distrust of Intellect
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.

Rumi - (Islam)

A Yearning for Divine Edification
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

St. Paul - (Christianity)

Charity
He that does everything for Me, whose supreme object I am, who worships Me, being free from attachment and without hatred to any creature, this man, Arjuna!, comes to Me.

Bhagavad Gita - (Hinduism)

Purity of Heart
The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Solomon - (Judaism)

Humility
Would you become a pilgrim on the road of love? The first condition is that you make yourself humble as dust and ashes.

Ansari of Herat - (Islam)

Meekness
Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth! Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.

Dhammapada - (Buddhism)



Wisdom Quotes from Christian Sources

A selection of wisdom quotes that demonstrate the profound depth of the insights that are recognised by Christian authorities are set out below. They are sourced from the Bible and also from the works of Thomas a Kempis whose "Of the Imitation of Christ" ranks as the second most widely read Christian text after the Bible itself.

A Disdain for Materialism
Some have Me in their mouths, but little in their hearts.
There are others who, being enlightened in their understanding and purified in their affection, always breathe after things eternal, are unwilling to hear of earthly things, and grieve to be subject to the necessities of nature; and such as these perceive what the Spirit of Truth speaketh in them.
For it teacheth them to despise the things of the earth and to love heavenly things; to disregard the world, and all the day and night to aspire after heaven.

Thomas a Kempis

A Distrust of Intellect
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

St. Paul

A Yearning for Divine Edification
It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
...the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

St. Paul

Charity
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

St. John

Purity of Heart
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

St. Paul

Humility
Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whomsoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Jesus

Meekness
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

St. James


  Explore Inner Space!!!

It is widely known that Plato, pupil of and close friend to Socrates, accepted that Human Beings have a " Tripartite Soul " where individual Human Psychology is composed of three aspects - Wisdom-Rationality, Spirited-Will and Appetite-Desire.

What is less widely appreciated is that such major World Faiths as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism see "Spirituality" as being relative to "Desire" and to "Wrath".

 

"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose
flower and fruitage is the world..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 


For Indisputable Wisdoms about Human Nature
please visit our Human Nature - Tripartite Soul page

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Sam Harris
The End of Faith - Letter to a Christian Nation
Famous Rationalists Rationalism Atheists Atheism
 



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