Reason in Exile – Excerpt from The End of Faith – by Sam Harris

Here is the first page, the two introductory paragraphs, of The End of Faith by Sam Harris.

THE young man boards the bus as it leaves the terminal. He wears an overcoat. Beneath his overcoat, he is wearing a bomb. His pockets are filled with nails, ball bearings, and rat poison. The bus is crowded and headed for the heart of the city. The young man takes his seat beside a middle-aged couple. He will wait for the bus to reach its next stop. The couple at his side appears to be shopping for a new refrigerator. The woman has decided on a model, but her husband worries that it will be too expensive. He indicates another one in a brochure that lies open on her lap. The next stop comes into view. The bus doors swing. The woman observes that the model her husband has selected will not fit in the space underneath their cabinets. New passengers have taken the last remaining seats and begun gathering in the aisle. The bus is now full. The young man smiles. With the press of a button he destroys himself, the couple at his side, and twenty others on the bus. The nails, ball bearings, and rat poison ensure further casualties on the street and in the surrounding cars. All has gone according to plan.

The young man’s parents soon learn of his fate. Although saddened to have lost a son, they feel tremendous pride at his accomplishment. They know that he has gone to heaven and prepared the way for them to follow. He has also sent his victims to hell for eternity. It is a double victory. The neighbors find the event a great cause for celebration and honor the young man’s parents by giving them gifts of food and money. These are the facts. This is all we know for certain about the young man. Is there anything else that we can infer about him on the basis of his behavior? Was he popular in school? Was he rich or was he poor? Was he of low or high intelligence? His actions leave no clue at all. Did he have a college education? Did he have a bright future as a mechanical engineer? His behavior is simply mute on questions of this sort, and hundreds like them. Why is it so easy, then, so trivially easy— you-could-almost-bet-your-life-on-it easy— to guess the young man’s religion?

— Harris, Sam. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason


The End of Faith – and a View of Islam

Over six years ago I reviewed the book by Sam Harris titled The End of Faith.

More relevant today than ever, it is a searing indictment of all religions and how they counteract progress, science and the good and peace in our modern societies. The Muslim religion is lately singled out as one of the strongest culprits. It’s the one religion that somehow gets teenagers to put on suicide belts and blow  themselves up in public places. It’s the one religion that does pseudo-medieval reality shows showing YouTube videos of choreographed beheadings. It’s the one that’s associated with atrocities today.

That was not always true. Christianity had its share of killing, genocide, persecution and corruption on a gargantuan scale over the centuries. Fortunately Christians stopped committing atrocities on a large scale around the 1600s or so (for the most part).

Muslims never stopped, and they continue to commit them now, with the help of social media, automatic weapons, and shipments of oil. So, yes, the “good Muslims” are not happy with this, and I understand them. Yet, without a doubt, the fundamental tenets of Islam foment the insanity we are witnessing today.

I invite you to read The End of Faith to educate yourself about all the adverse effects of religion in general and Islam in particular.