First this from one of the greatest of our founding fathers:
Sam Harris has been an outspoken spokesman for the probability that organized is religion is not only incredibly silly and easily refuted, but moreso for taking it that extra step and concluding that organized religions are actually the world’s most dangerous organizations. Or to put it a simpler way: Religion kills people.
Of course there are innumerable historical incidents that make the case agains religion but if you mention The Crusades, those in opposition to Sam Harris pull out Pol Pot and then they lead with Joseph Stalin only to be trumped by Adolph Hitler. I think the real test is to honestly ask: If there were no organized religion, would these horrendous events have occurred? Let’s see: Stalin, yes; Pol Pot, yes; the Crusades, no; Adolph Hitler, ambiguous … this thing with the Christian Aryan Race versus the Jewish peoples smacks of religion and the answer is therefore, no, but Hitler was still a tyrant and it’s just as likely that his lust for power only used religious concerns as a tool for domination, making the answer yes.
Still, if you believe in the primitive old myths collected by men into a book called the Bible, then you probably have a strong tendency to dismiss any discussions that are not in lock-step with the teachings of the local Rolex preachers in their impressive and tax-free sanctuaries (this definitely includes Popes). I do assume, however, that there are none of these people shouting and threatening the young people trying to escape the horrors and violence in their home countries seeking the safety and opportunity of the United States.
Even if you don’t believe, ask the question: What would Jesus do?
Harris recommends reading the following ten books. You might find some of them rather one-sided, but you might also uncover a few arguments and perspectives that make you think.
Ten Books I Recommend (From Letter To a Christian Nation)
- The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
- Breaking the Spell by Daniel C. Dennett
- Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman
- Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg
- The End of Days by Gershom Gorenberg
- Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay
- Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell
- God, the Devil, and Darwin by Niall Shanks
- Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith