It was only after reading a book review on the Finding Truth blog about this book did I decide to buy this book on amazon. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading. It is a very short and easy read with only about 92 pages. But it is a very impactful and informational 92 pages.
Really I loved everything about this book. It’s somewhat hard to summarize the pros cause I liked everything about this book. He starts with a heavy hitter; the weakness of the ten commandments. And he ask, is it possible that one could improve on the ten commandments. And easily the answer is YES, because God could have said don’t rape, don’t enslave, don’t oppress or don’t abuse. Then he goes onto that because of these lackluster commandments, it created a warped sense of morality within Christianity. In that the “…effects of religion is to divorce morality from the reality of human and animal suffering. Religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are not-“(pg. 25) For example; victim-less crimes such as same-sex marriage and stem cell research. In his book he breaks down the 10 Commandments to show how flawed they are and humanely inspired, but then gives the alternative of morality as it pertains to the well-being of people.
Another talking point that I found very interesting is how the bible miscalculated the mathematical constant Π(pi) to a ratio of 3:1. (I Kings 7:23-26 and II Chronicles 4:2-5). Which may seem not seem like a big deal, but several other civilizations prior to the bible, where to able to calculate it out exactly to a few decimal places. (I.E. The Egyptians and the Babylonians)
Then he presents a very interesting perspective on the morality of abortion.
“It has been estimated that 50 percent of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion, usually without a woman even realizing that she was pregnant. In fact, 20 percent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. There is an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God exists, He is the most proliferic abortionist of all.”. (Pg. 38)
He doesn’t stop there, he then poses a theological challenge question to the pro-life Christian. Considering that the fight over stem-cell research and abortion, is a fight for life and when life begins. For the Christian life begins at conception with the newly fertilized embryo. And that this embryo has a soul, and that this embryo can split into a set of twins forming two living beings with two distinct souls. However there are cases when two embryos fuse together into one called a chimera. And this is a common biological trait, where someone you know might be a chimera embryo. So does this chimera embryo, have one or two souls?
There is not much I didn’t like about this book. However there are a few things I could see where someone may not like this book.
1. That the book will probably never convince a fundamentalist or evangelical to reject their own religion. But it would make them reconsider some things.
2. Man of the arguments are several somewhat old arguments, but recycled and finely tuned with some statistics and impactful words.
3. Even though the book does address some issues in regards to liberal and moderate Christianity, it is really designed for the American evangelical body.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. For me it awakened me to the realization that morality doesn’t lye in the religious barriers of faith, but in our daily actions into how we treat each other.
In addition in one grand statement Harris summarized atheism elegantly. “Atheism is not a philosophy; it is nor even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious.” (Pg. 51)