The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

W. W. Norton & Company
1,879
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"The End of Faith articulates the dangers and absurdities of organized religion so fiercely and so fearlessly that I felt relieved as I read it, vindicated....Harris writes what a sizable number of us think, but few are willing to say."—Natalie Angier, New York Times In The End of Faith, Sam Harris delivers a startling analysis of the clash between reason and religion in the modern world. He offers a vivid, historical tour of our willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs—even when these beliefs inspire the worst human atrocities. While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris draws on insights from neuroscience, philosophy, and Eastern mysticism to deliver a call for a truly modern foundation for ethics and spirituality that is both secular and humanistic. Winner of the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction.
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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Sep 17, 2005
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780393066722
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Good & Evil
Political Science / Political Freedom
Religion / Faith
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Why does God exist? How have the three dominant monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—shaped and altered the conception of God? How have these religions influenced each other? In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. 

The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism—a concept previously unknown in the world. Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned 'the One God' to suit the social and political needs of their followers. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic.

Praise for History of God

“An admirable and impressive work of synthesis that will give insight and satisfaction to thousands of lay readers.”—The Washington Post Book World

“A brilliantly lucid, spendidly readable book. [Karen] Armstrong has a dazzling ability: she can take a long and complex subject and reduce it to the fundamentals, without oversimplifying.”—The Sunday Times (London)

“Absorbing . . . A lode of learning.”—Time

“The most fascinating and learned study of the biggest wild goose chase in history—the quest for God. Karen Armstrong is a genius.”—A.N. Wilson, author of Jesus: A Life

Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious faith. It is also the primary reason why so many secularists and religious moderates feel obligated to "respect" the hardened superstitions of their more devout neighbors.

In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape." Because there are definite facts to be known about where we fall on this landscape, Harris foresees a time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of "morality"; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible.

Bringing a fresh perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong and good and evil, Harris demonstrates that we already know enough about the human brain and its relationship to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality.

Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our "culture wars," Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.
An explosive memoir about the creation and implementation of the controversial Enhanced Interrogation Techniques by the former Chief Operations Officer for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

While the American public is aware of the CIA’s use of highly controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques,” few know the man who, in the wake of September 11, led all U.S. counterterrorism operations and oversaw the use of those procedures—procedures that obtained vital and timely intelligence and helped safeguard the nation from future attacks.

Puerto Rican–born Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., served the United States for twenty-five years as an undercover officer before bringing his wealth of field knowledge to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center; now, in this riveting account and fascinating life story, one of America’s top undercover operatives reveals how hard measures have derailed terrorist activity targeting the U.S., and saved countless American lives. Fully disclosed here for the first time are the undercover operations and tactics implemented during the George W. Bush presidency—which were approved by the highest levels of the U.S. government, certified as legal by the Department of Justice, and supported by bipartisan leadership of congressional intelligence oversight committees.

But as the shock of 9/11 faded, the support that the intelligence community enjoyed and deserved gave way to shortsighted and potentially dangerous political correctness. One by one, the tools needed to successfully fight terrorism were banished, and the men and women who volunteered to carry out our nation’s orders in combating al-Qa'ida found themselves second-guessed, hamstrung, and investigated— including Rodriguez himself. In effect, the United States has chosen to willfully and unilaterally disarm itself in the war on terror. In Hard Measures, Rodriguez convincingly argues for the techniques used, and uncompromisingly details when these techniques were necessary, why they worked, and how, ultimately, they contributed to the capture of the world’s most-wanted terror operatives, including Usama bin Ladin. From law school student to CIA recruit to his role as America’s top spy, Rodriguez’s full story is one of utmost importance—a rare, insider’s look at an issue that demands attention. Above all, it’s a reasoned, imperative, and fully informed case for hard measures, and an explosive and gripping account of the real war on terror— where it’s been and where it’s headed.

***

Terrorism has always been one of the toughest targets on which to collect intelligence. The secrets you want to steal frequently don’t reside in computer systems, which can be hacked, or safes, which can be broken into, but in the inner recesses of a handful of individuals’ minds.

The cliché about intelligence work is that it is like working on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle but not having the box top to show you what the finished picture should look like. If only it were that easy. In fact, it is more like working on a million-piece puzzle with no box top, and having millions more random pieces that look like they might fit, but actually are from different puzzles altogether.

It fell to us to make sense of the countless fragments of information and to take action on the chunks of the puzzle, which represented a real and growing threat to the United States and our allies.

—from Hard Measures
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