To call this thing a book is like calling a pamphlet a manifesto. Of course, I guess they do call it a letter right there in the title. So I’m the asshole–the asshole who paid eleven bucks for what amounts to a fifty-page text. But what a beautifully blasphemous text it is! How this guy hasn’t been blown up by some right-wing nutjob is beyond me. Of course by doing that they’d just be validating everything he points out in the book. The essential premise here is that the author, Sam Harris, is writing a letter to America’s Christians telling them that they’re idiots to believe in God. And that all God and religion has caused throughout history is war and strife and slavery and killing and intolerance and abounding ignorance. After I got done wincing, I thought about what the author was saying and couldn’t help but admit it’s impossible to argue against overwhelming logic and historical data. Not that it took a lot of convincing, of course. He spends a good deal of the time dismantling The Bible. He calls it everything from violent to contradictory to misogynist, racist, you name it. The fact that people actually use the text of the bible to justify some of the worst atrocities in our nation’s history is evidence of its power to twist and destroy. He points out the hypocrisy of using The Bible when convenient (anti-abortion, hating homosexuals, etc.), but ignoring it when it doesn’t fit. He goes on to tear down the myths of the virgin birth, Jesus rising from the dead, God’s intervention and existence, intelligent design, and a bunch of other foundations of Christianity. His question, ultimately, is how a rational human being can believe in an invisible man in the sky, the lack of any empirical proof of the power of religion or faith and the fact that people let these ridiculous tenants govern their lives. He does go a bit far in some places, delving into Islamic fundamentalism and essentially refuting the community’s assessment that it’s a peaceful religion hijacked by insane people. He points out that it is in fact not a peaceful religion (and very few are) and that if Muslims had it their way every non-Muslim on the planet would burn in a fiery pit. Not knowing a whole lot about Islam, he seemed to be a little extreme on this point, but I guess to a guy who thinks religion is evil, this isn’t surprising. He does raise some interesting points, like the fact MLK didn’t take his non-violence stance from Christianity, but from Gandhi, who took his non-violence from the Jains. The author doesn’t seem to have a problem with the Jains, oddly enough, even though they are some of the most extremely religious sects around (read American Pastoral to check it out). I guess it’s because they don’t inflict their religion on others, and don’t contradict themselves by preaching peace and committing genocide, rape, etc. It’s an interesting essay, and you should check it out (of the library) if you even want to pretend to be an open-minded individual.