Mark's Reviews > The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists

The End of Reason by Ravi Zacharias
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Jul 28, 2009

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Read in July, 2009

A response to Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation" - while there's flashes of brilliance here, I think pulling apart Harris' argumentation is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Harris is so angry & bitter that his arguments lunge wildly and often without thinking through the implications of the point he is making... Ravi Zacharias points those things out in the book.

My reaction to the book as a whole is two-fold:

1. I don't think it is a terribly good apologetic for atheists themselves. Ravi Z. does a nice job in dealing with some questions about faith but his focus is on pulling Sam Harris' fangs. As he admits in the opening of the book, a lot of atheists are embarassed by Harris - so defanging this beast isn't necessarily a step forward with the majority of folks who choose not to believe in God. This book is primarily aimed at believers who are struggling with Harris' works.

2. At one point, he suggests that Harris' anger & vitriole is counter-productive to his goal to win people over to atheism. I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding at work here - I don't believe Harris wants to win people over. I think he wants to reset the acceptable bounds of conversation to include the abolishment of religious belief as a meaningful and/or accepted component of a "normal" society... and the only way to do that is to "push the envelope" and make a big splash. Harris' flashy "take no prisoners" approach moves the markers, so to speak, letting other more "reasonable" folks advance these ideas in calmer, softer tones.
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