Any Sam Harris fans? I've read Awakening and will be attending an event this week.
IMO he's one of the most rational and effective critics of religion.
I like the fact one of the Four Horsemen dislikes the term "atheist" too.
Any suggestions on other philosophical books?
Letter to a Christian Nation is good to read. Written as an open letter to america in response to feedback he received over his first book The End of Faith.
Catch his debates on Youtube . He is so patient and an thoughtful in the way he responds.
I rate him up there with the greats like Hitchins.
My biggest problem with Harris is his insistence that morality has an empirical and scientific basis, but in all of his debates and lectures on the matter he provides zero science. Instead, he relies on a rather convoluted argument that doesn't appear to have any basis.
That isn't to say that his arguments against religion aren't good, because they certainly are, but I think it is important to understand that just because someone is a good thinker on one issue does not necessarily make him a good thinker on others.
I'm also not a fan of the way he consistently decries the violent passages of the Koran while studiously ignoring the violent passages of the Bible. His bias in this regard is clear, and I think possibly a little politically (or at least socially) motivated.
As to morality, I personally believe that it is entirely a social construction. Society decides, and tells us, and teaches its children what is "right" and what is "wrong", and then reinforces those conceptions through a system of positive and negative social reinforcement (praising "heroes" who do the right thing, and ostricizing or punishing those who do the "wrong" thing). This needs no religious or spiritual source of authority, nor does it need a scientific source of authority. Society itself is the source of authority for morality. And that being the case, it is important that we, as a society, do not inflict religously-based moral conceptions on those of us who are non-believers, but instead we should build our social morality systems (and out legal systems that rely on our understanding of right and wrong -- morality) in such a way that only that which has been effectively shown to be damaging to society itself ought to be regarded as "wrong" or made illegal. Unfortunately, our current society is a far cry from this position, and still has an outsized influence on our social and legal systems of reward and punishment.
I read his 'End of Faith' and liked a lot of it, but he goes off-piste a bit at the en, getting a bit obsessed with mysticism and meditation. Also I disagree with his view that there should be no censorship of pornography and that watching it is a victimless crime. On religion and free thought, I think Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are better.
I read his book Waking Up a couple of years ago and reading chapter 4 began my interest in meditation. A little while later I listened to his podcast interview with Yuval Noah Harrari and that futhered my interest in meditation. Not long after, I contacted Transcendental Meditation (TM) and learned their method. Sorry to get off topic, but I have found meditating daily to be helpful in managing how I think. I continue to appreciate Sam Harris and listen to his Waking Up podcasts and other YouTubes. I read the FastRead book Summary of Sapiens: by Yuval Noah Harrari early last year and found it interesting how he explains humanity's ability to cooperate around certain stories has enabled us to become the dominate species we are today. Religious stories being one kind of story.
Sam Harris' book, Waking Up is an improved, revised version of his first rational viewpoint.
I don't agree with everything, for instance I know from experience that there's reincarnation, but at least he's starting to think now.
Why not reincarnation?
Einstein showed us that all matter is a form of energy, so since energy can neither be created nor destroyed, we have always existed and will always exist in some energy form.
"For physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." -Einstein
Also, we are co-creators of our own universe..contributing to making our own reality;
“Consciousness is fundamental and matter is derived from consciousness." – Max Planck, theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics