Sam Harris, better known as one of the four horsemen of the New Atheism movement, tends to be one of the more philosophical beings of the group when it comes to his views on religion. Mostly made up of a moralistic nature, Harris questions morals without a God. Can society as a whole can be moral without a deity? Letter to a Christian Nation, while mostly a response to the negative criticism his previous best-selling book The End of Faith received, is a cleverly crafted novella in under a hundred pages that hits all of the main points of any argument against organized religion and pious people that Harris has in the past and will in the future continue to make.
While this short book is not recommended for any theists, really under any circumstances, those of agnostic and atheist standing should be sure to read this if they are unfamiliar with Harris and his views. In a short read, merely in a hour if read in one sitting, Harris jumps around from stem cell research to Jainism to abortion and even speculates on whether or not God is really evil. What at first seems to be more like an outcry and bash against religion quickly turns into an intellectual critique of many of the points that many non-believers think, but do not say. Why does the Bible contradict itself? What’s really the difference between the beliefs of creationists and evolutionists? Are the beliefs of those who follow Islam dangerous?
For those who have read other atheist literature such as something by Hitchens, Dawkins or maybe even Daniel Dennett, just note that while Harris does view religion in the same respect he also re-enforces his ideas with his moralist nature of how can science determine what is right and wrong. His writing is very fluid, coherent and easy to understand; he conveys his ideas wonderfully and in a way that makes them hard to misunderstand. In any case this short piece is an excellent starting point for anyone of questioning beliefs or even a hard-nosed theist who is looking for some comparative points on their own religion, either way Letter to a Christian Nation is short, brash and to the point of Harris’s belief of the problem with modern day organized religion.