Andrea's Reviews > Letter to a Christian Nation

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
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's review
Nov 07, 2007

did not like it
Recommended for: the shrill and patronizing

I approached this book as a person who has a religious/spiritual Christian background. While critical of many organized religions and the damage that they do, I still feel a connection to my spiritual roots.

Perhaps it was too much to expect a well-reasoned invitation to dialogue in picking up LTaCN. Reading it, I could practically hear Harris spitting out each sentence with disdain. This tone left me in a place where I let his words glance off of me rather than delving into what he had to say. It wasn't until more than 3/4 through the book that I felt engaged with some meaningful issues and questions, especially those related to science, that he posed. By that time I was reluctant to open up to Harris, as he demonstrated many of the qualities he despises and criticizes in many Christians - shrillness, condescension, and antagonism.

I didn't dislike this book because of my religious beliefs. I disliked it because of my spiritual beliefs - the ones that lead me to believe that coming to agreement and coexistence is not possible through rancor.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
November 7, 2007 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Peter (new)

Peter If you felt a disdain for Christianity, then Harris made his point. If you felt uncomfortable because the arguments he made are simple, concise, and fairly bullet-proof, maybe it's not the book you're having the problem with...

message 2: by Andrea (last edited Nov 07, 2013 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Andrea Peter wrote: "If you felt a disdain for Christianity,..."

Perhaps a misunderstanding. I did not feel disdain. I felt that Harris did, which alienates me and makes it difficult for me to read with an open mind. This is true whether or not I agree with somebody. I agree with many of Michael Moore's viewpoints, but his delivery can be shrill and alienating. Who are these guys trying to reach? Those who already agree with them, or are they trying to present "simple, concise, and fairly bullet-proof" arguments to those who are undecided or uninformed? If it is the latter, then there is no need for the dismissive tone. The facts should speak for themselves.

message 3: by Peter (new)

Peter I actually meant his disdain, but I wasn't clear on that. I found that Harris was particularly jarring when I was wrestling with the revelation that so much that I had been indoctrinated to believe was just made up. In retrospect, I'm glad to have been jarred by Sam Harris. Sometimes the people who say what needs to be said can come across that way.

Remember that letters are always one side of the dialogue, and it's up to the reader to think about the arguments he makes. I think that the most disturbing thing about what Harris writes is the relative intellectual ease with which the mythology is exposed for what it is.

Susan Nichols ughhh I'm digging my way through the book, my first impression.... Harris takes things completely out of context from the Bible.

message 5: by Peter (new)

Peter And what context makes rape, genocide, giving up your children to sex-crazed mobs, slavery, and the like OK? Just something to think about as you read on.

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