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What is the goal of Sam Harris’s Letter to The Christian Nation? Does he manage to achieve it?

2020-03-17 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

在《致基督教国家的信》一书中,山姆哈里斯用简洁有力的论据阐述了自己的观点,这可能会挑战读者对基督教的一些信仰。

In the book Letter to The Christian Nation, Sam Harris uses concise and powerful arguments to make his points which may challenge some of reader’s beliefs about Christianity.
As far as I’m concerned, the main goal of Sam Harris’s book, as he wrote, is demolishing the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity so that Christian can learn about the negative side of what they firmly believe. Sam Harris, as an atheist, believe that policy formulation should be independence from the religion, however, the facts suggest otherwise. Through the main goal of this book, secularists can be armed to against their opponents on the Christian Right.
To achieve this goal, the book points out two significant questions: Whether the Bible is just an ordinary book, written by mortals? (Harris, 13) Whether Christ was divine? After that, it argue about these two questions. Some of the argument will be presented below.
The book disavows the Bible as a perfect guide to morality. Conversely, it indicates that a lot of violence are found throughout the Old and New Testaments including killing children who are shameless enough to talk back, stoning people to death for heresy, putting homosexuality to death, etc. These teachings of the Bible lead some Christians to do the immoral things or even the sinful things. On this subject, many Christians believe that the best exemplar of the moral in Christianity is Martin Luther King who is both a Christian and a harmless person. However, the author notes that the reasons King scrupulously abide by nonviolence primarily come from the words of Mohandas K. Gandhi who was affected by Jainism, a nonviolent Indian religion. Here comes a stimulating question: Is that Jainism a better guide to morality compare with Christianity? I don't think so. My opinion is we actually use our moral intuitions which come from our human nature to be the guide instead of any religion.
The fact of slavery is wrong has been agreed by the entire civilized world nowadays. Nevertheless, according to the Bible, owning slaves was allowed. It's easy to judge whether it's moral to take other human being as a slave only by thinking in their shoes. But with the religious intervention, things become more confused. The book point out although many of the abolitionists are Christians and get inspired from the doctrine of Bible, it does not mean that the Bible is a good guide to morality. Because antislavery is obviously moral even without any word of God.
Following that, the author tells us that many Christian missionaries not only wasted large amounts of resources proselytizing to the needy but also led indirectly to a genocide via telling people that condom use is sinful in sub-Saharan Africa countries where approximately four million HIV sufferers die per year. All these things make author think whether helping sufferer purely for our own hearts or helping them under God's willing is more moral? The answer is obvious.
The next subject is about abortion. Mother Teresa is a pious Christian as well as a good person deranged by religious faith. She said abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace in her Nobel Prize acceptance speech. For this, the author insists while abortion isn't a moral thing, we should change the situation by reducing the need for it with means of contraception. The concern of abortion should not at the top on the list of priorities, while millions of sentient people are suffering unimaginable physical and mental afflictions. Besides, the fact is most of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion or in miscarriage which turns out "if God exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all".
The Holocaust is another evidence for violence of Christianity. For centuries, Jews were deemed to be apostate by Christian Europeans. In Nazi Germany, this view has reached a peak. Jews was sent to the Nazi death camps, and was murdered inside. Even some churches have colluded with the Nazi genocide.
Another disadvantage of religion is raising the stakes of human conflict to a large extent. The author indicates there are at least two ways that faith inspires violence and then list a dozen religious conflicts. The author provide these evidences to prove that the divisions and competitions among religious doctrines have become a main cause of armed clash over the world.
With deft strokes of Harris pen, we can learn scores of reasons why we shouldn't be a Christian or religious at all. As one of the readers said, this book is a rallying cry to rationalists everywhere and should serve as a wakeup call to retrograde Christians eagerly toiling away to displace science with magical thinking, overturn a woman's right to choose, relegate gays and lesbians to second class citizenship, or ensure the apocalypse. But does Harris manage to achieve it? (From internet)
In my case, while this book is a short booklet with only 30 pages, it provides me a brand new viewpoint about Christianity when it involves the problem we have to face, like slavery, abortion, the Jewish holocaust and more. While I still believe that religion benefits people in some ways such as giving faith, reducing sorrow, spreading happiness, religion seems to me, however, is just something like an ancient tale that man wrote it to tell a story which cause numerous people to believe.
It is absolutely a painful step to accept the contrary thought that God isn't infallible for Christian. Does the book gain acceptance by the public? I believe it does. For the reason that the book got very high marks on Amazon customer reviews: “Excellent piece of writing”, “Succinct and to the point”, “One of the best books on this subject” and so on. And about eighty percent customers give four stars and above. Sam Harris attempts to present his argument to the religious believers to face the contradictions of their faith. As far as I was concerned, he manages to achieve it.
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