The 'Good Book' ranges widely in readability, from genuinely interesting stories and historical myth to dry genealogies and ancient blueprints. Some o...moreThe 'Good Book' ranges widely in readability, from genuinely interesting stories and historical myth to dry genealogies and ancient blueprints. Some of the authors are fond of sticking to a stereotyped format, so that you end up reading the same "headers" and "footers" again and again; not very fun.
My rating of three stars is generous, buoyed by the (cherry-picked) genuine wisdom of several books and the tangential insights it gave me in learning about Christian scripture.
While the book does have its own merits, sadly history has made it a force for evil in this world, as it's even now often used to justify hatred, violence, divisiveness, child abuse, mutilation, policies that allow the spread of AIDS, pseudoscience, rejection of good science, exaltation of ignorance, etc.
By no means am I trying to pigeonhole all believers this way, but I believe those multitudes of faithful who ARE intelligent or good are so in spite of religion. I very much doubt any of the supernatural events of the Bible actually happened.(less)
Interesting book. Though I'm not a believer there were some insightful anecdotes, and the author takes a humble approach, pointing out what he learned...moreInteresting book. Though I'm not a believer there were some insightful anecdotes, and the author takes a humble approach, pointing out what he learned from his own mistakes in life. Very straightforward, easygoing tone. I felt comfortable taking the lessons at what they were worth, it didn't feel like they were put there within an overarching Christian agenda.
In other words: many religious books are so focussed on selling the reader a particular brand of faith that you feel the narratives are only there to reinforce the belief system. The whole book loses credibility. With Blue Like Jazz that element is there, yet much of the morality rings true irrespective of faith, especially along the lines of interpersonal responsibilities and community building. I didn't get as much from some other parts of the book but it was still an interesting look inside the head of an evangelical Christian.(less)
Horrible book. Not many factual errors that I'm aware of, but the author commits logical errors on nearly every page. I set it down after three chapte...moreHorrible book. Not many factual errors that I'm aware of, but the author commits logical errors on nearly every page. I set it down after three chapters of this drivel.(less)
A very scathing, sound critique of religious faith. In the first few chapters Harris notes the connection between the faith of the "extremists" of rel...moreA very scathing, sound critique of religious faith. In the first few chapters Harris notes the connection between the faith of the "extremists" of religion and the credulity of the masses. Harris dissects Islam and explains many of the systemic problems of the Islamic world and the scriptural foundations of terrorism and war with the West. He then details how Christianity has stunted the ability of the Western world to meet this challenge.
The weakest part of this book is, in my view, the chapter that provides a version of ethics not grounded in religious tenets. Not because I consider his argument flawed, but because it is too short to do justice to the subject of ethics, but longer than necessary to prove that ethics can be grounded in something other than religious faith. It's easy to imagine other rational solutions to dealing with suffering and justice that use other tenets. Although the discussion is solid and well-rounded, the pace of the book hits a stall at this point.
Some might find the final chapter of the book, which looks at the objective evidence of expanding consciousness, as striking a different chord than the rest of the book, but it was pretty in line with my own beliefs and experience.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who agrees they have a moral duty to explore the validity of their own belief system. And to everyone else, on the hope that they may see the value in it anyway.(less)