Sam Harris, formally Samuel B. "Sam" Harris

Sam
Harris, formally Samuel B. "Sam" Harris
1967

American Philosopher, Neuroscientist, Author and Mindful Skeptic, Co-Founder and CEO of Project Reason

Author Quotes

Any conception of human well-being you could plausibly have, the Taliban patently fails to maximize it.

Anyone being flown to a distant city for heart-bypass surgery has conceded, tacitly at least, that we have learned a few things about physics, geography, engineering, and medicine since the time of Moses.

Anyone familiar with my work knows that I am extremely critical of all religious faiths.

A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings.

83% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. (11% disbelieve. 6% don?t know.)

87% of Americans say they never doubt the existence of God.

A belief is a lever that, once pulled, moves almost everything in a person?s life.

A hatred of infidels is arguably the central message of the Koran.

A kernel of truth lurks at the heart of religion, because spiritual experience, ethical behavior, and strong communities are essential for human happiness. And yet our religious traditions are intellectually defunct and politically ruinous. While spiritual experience is clearly a natural propensity of the human mind, we need not believe anything on insufficient evidence to actualize it.

A man?s faith is just a subset of his beliefs about the world: beliefs about matters of ultimate concern that we, as a culture, have told him he need not justify in the present. It is time we recognized just how maladaptive this Balkanization of our discourse has become. All pretensions to theological knowledge should now be seen from the perspective of a man who was just beginning his day on the one hundredth floor of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, only to find his meandering thoughts ? of family and friends, of errands run and unrun, of coffee in need of sweetener ?inexplicably usurped by a choice of terrible starkness and simplicity: between being burned alive by jet fuel or leaping one thousand feet to the concrete below. In fact, we should take the perspective of thousands of such men, women, and children who were robbed of life, far sooner than they imagined possible, in absolute terror and confusion. The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not ?cowards,? as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith ?perfect faith, as it turns out ? and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.

A moment or two of serious self-scrutiny, and you might observe that you no more decide the next thought you think than the next thought I write.

A person who believes that Elvis is still alive is very unlikely to get promoted to a position of great power and responsibility in our society. Neither will a person who believes that the holocaust was a hoax. But people who believe equally irrational things about God and the bible are now running our country. This is genuinely terrifying.

"Atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.

"Religion" is a nearly useless term. It's a term like "sports". Now there are sports like Badminton and sports like Thai Boxing, and they have almost nothing in common apart from breathing. There are sports that are just synonymous with the risk of physical injury or even death... There is, I'm happy to say, a religion of peace in this world, but it's not Islam. The call Islam is a religion of peace that we hear ceaselessly reiterated is completely delusional. Now Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralyzed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can't take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant... Needless to say they are vegetarian. So the problem is not religious extremism, because extremism is not a problem if your core beliefs are truly non-violent. The problem isn't fundamentalism. We often hear this said; these are euphemisms... The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam.

120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer.

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 prolific abortionist of all.

28% of Americans believe that every word of the Bible is literally true. 49% believe that it is the inspired word of God.

44% of Americans think Jesus Christ will return in the next 50 years. (22% are certain that he will, another 22% think he probably will.)

65% of Americans believe in the literal existence of Satan. 73% believe in Hell.

80% of Americans expect to be called before God on Judgment Day to answer for their sins. 90% believe in heaven. 77% rate their chances of going to heaven as excellent or good.

Author Picture
First Name
Sam
Last Name
Harris, formally Samuel B. "Sam" Harris
Birth Date
1967
Bio

American Philosopher, Neuroscientist, Author and Mindful Skeptic, Co-Founder and CEO of Project Reason