154+ Best Sam Harris Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Samuel Benjamin Harris is an American author, philosopher, neuroscientist, and podcast host. Profoundly inspirational Sam Harris quotes will brighten up your day and make you feel ready to take on anything.

If you’re searching for famous philosopher quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Pythagoras, powerful Plato quotes and famous Soren Kierkegaard quotes.

Famous Sam Harris Quotes

Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person’s thoughts. – Sam Harris

Science is the most durable and nondivisive way of thinking about the human circumstance. It transcends cultural, national, and political boundaries. You don’t have American science versus Canadian science versus Japanese science. – Sam Harris

Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime? – Sam Harris

Unlike statements of fact, which require no further work on our part, lies must be continually protected from collisions with reality. – Sam Harris

Either our wills are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we are not responsible for them. – Sam Harris

We know enough at this moment to say that the God of Abraham is not only unworthy of the immensity of creation; he is unworthy even of man. – Sam Harris

Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. – Sam Harris

Man is manifestly not the measure of all things. This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name. – Sam Harris

The fact that my continuous and public rejection of Christianity does not worry me in the least should suggest to you just how inadequate I think your reasons for being a Christian are. – Sam Harris

Everyone who has eyes to see can see that if the God of Abraham exists, He is an utter psychopath–and the God of Nature too. If you can’t see these things just by looking, you have simply closed your eyes to the realities of our world. – Sam Harris

The problem of vindicating an omnipotent and omniscient God in the face of evil is insurmountable. Those who claim to have surmounted it, by recourse to notions of free will and other incoherencies, have merely heaped bad philosophy onto bad ethics. – Sam Harris

I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs. – Sam Harris

Theology is ignorance with wings. – Sam Harris

What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives. – Sam Harris

To say that I would have done otherwise had I wanted to is simply to say that I would have lived in a different universe had I been in a different universe. – Sam Harris

The perpetrators of the Inquisition – the torturers, informers, and those who commanded their actions – were ecclesiastics of one rank or another. They were men of God – popes, bishops, friars, and priests. – Sam Harris

From my point of view, compatibilism is a little like saying: a puppet is free so long as it loves its strings. – Sam Harris

The moral landscape is the framework I use for thinking about questions of morality and human values in universal terms. – Sam Harris

Hope is easy; knowledge is hard. Science is the one domain in which we human beings make a truly heroic effort to counter our innate biases and wishful thinking. Science is the one endeavor in which we have developed a refined methodology for separating what a person hopes is true from what he has good reason to believe. – Sam Harris

An average Christian, in an average church, listen to an average Sunday sermon has achieved a level of arrogance simply unimaginable in scientific discourse — and there have been some extraordinary arrogant scientists. – Sam Harris

False encouragement is a kind of theft: it steals time, energy, and motivation a person could put toward some other purpose. – Sam Harris

We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas – Sam Harris

That religion may have served some necessary function for us in the past does not preclude the possibility that it is now the greatest impediment to our building a global civilization. – Sam Harris

Unreason is now ascendant in the United States – in our schools, in our courts, and in each branch of the federal government. Only 28 percent of Americans believe in evolution; 68 percent believe in Satan. Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world. – Sam Harris

There is no question but that nominally religious scientists like Francis Collins and Kenneth R. Miller are doing lasting harm to our discourse by the accommodations they have made to religious irrationality. – Sam Harris

Religious faith is the one species of human ignorance that will not admit of even the possibility of correction. – Sam Harris

Human well-being is not a random phenomenon. It depends on many factors – ranging from genetics and neurobiology to sociology and economics. But, clearly, there are scientific truths to be known about how we can flourish in this world. Wherever we can have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply. – Sam Harris

Faith drives a wedge between ethics and suffering. Where certain actions cause no suffering at all, religious dogmatists still maintain that they are evil and worthy of punishment. . . . And yet, where suffering and death are found in abundance their causes are often deemed to be good. . . . This inversion of priorities not only victimizes innocent people and squanders scarce resources; it completely falsifies our ethics. – Sam Harris

The conflict between religion and science is inherent and (very nearly) zero-sum. The success of science often comes at the expense of religious dogma; the maintenance of religious dogma always comes at the expense of science. – Sam Harris

Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. – Sam Harris

The science of morality is about maximizing psychological and social health. It’s really no more inflammatory than that. – Sam Harris

We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself. – Sam Harris

It is merely an accident of history that it is considered normal in our society to believe that the Creator of the universe can hear your thoughts while it is demonstrative of mental illness to believe that he is communicating with you by having the rain tap in Morse code on your bedroom window. – Sam Harris

Faith enables many of us to endure life’s difficulties with an equanimity that would be scarcely conceivable in a world lit only by reason. – Sam Harris

Although many things can be said in criticism of religious faith, there is no discounting its power. Millions among us, even now, are quite willing to die for our unjustified beliefs, and millions more, it seems, are willing to kill for them. – Sam Harris

Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship. – Sam Harris

You can’t take credit for your talents, but it matters that you use them. You can’t really be blamed for your weaknesses, but it matters that you correct them. So pride and shame don’t make a lot of sense, in the final analysis, but they weren’t much fun anyway. – Sam Harris

When the stakes are this high- when calling God by the right name can make the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, it is impossible to respect the beliefs of others who don’t believe as you do. – Sam Harris

You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm. – Sam Harris

If faith is what you have to go on, if faith is the link between your beliefs and the world at large, your beliefs are very likely to be wrong. Beliefs can be right or wrong. If you believe you can fly, that belief is only true if indeed you can fly. Somebody who thinks he can fly, and is wrong about it, will eventually discover there’s a problem with his view of the world. – Sam Harris

Water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What if someone says, “Well, that’s not how I choose to think about water.”? All we can do is appeal to scientific values. And if he doesn’t share those values, the conversation is over. If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic? – Sam Harris

By lying, we deny others a view of the world as it is. Our dishonesty not only influences the choices they make, it often determines the choices they can make—and in ways we cannot always predict. Every lie is a direct assault upon the autonomy of those we lie to. – Sam Harris

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. – Sam Harris

It is time that scientists and other public intellectuals observed that the contest between faith and reason is zero-sum. – Sam Harris

The core of science is not a mathematical modeling–it is intellectual honesty. It is a willingness to have our certainties about the world constrained by good evidence and good argument. – Sam Harris

What we do in every other area of our lives (other than religion), is, rather than respect somebody’s beliefs, we evaluate their reasons. – Sam Harris

We have Christians against Muslims against Jews. They’re making incompatible claims on real estate in the Middle East as though God were some kind of omniscient real estate broker parsing out parcels of land to his chosen flock. People are literally dying over ancient literature. – Sam Harris

Let me assure you that my intent is not to offend or merely be provocative. I’m simply worried. – Sam Harris

Life is a continuous flux. Our nonhuman ancestors bred, generation after generation, and incrementally begat what we now deem to be the species homo sapiens – ourselves. There is nothing about our ancestral line or about our current biology that dictates how we will evolve in the future. Nothing in the natural order demands that our descendants resemble us in any particular way. Very likely, they will not resemble us. We will almost certainly transform ourselves, likely beyond recognition, in the generations to come. – Sam Harris

Islam, at the moment, is the motherlode of bad ideas. – Sam Harris

It is time we recognized that belief is not a private matter; it has never been merely private. In fact, beliefs are scarcely more private than actions are, for every belief is a fount of action in potential. – Sam Harris

Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely. – Sam Harris

While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about. It is telling that this aura of nobility extends only to those faiths that still have many subscribers. Anyone caught worshipping Poseidon, even at sea, will be thought insane. – Sam Harris

If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide that proves they should value evidence. If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument would you invoke to prove they should value logic? – Sam Harris

A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings. – Sam Harris

You don’t get anything worth getting, by pretending to know things you don’t know. – Sam Harris

Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything — anything — be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in. – Sam Harris

Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on earth. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005), they are also the healthiest, as indicated by life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality. . . . Conversely, the fifty nations now ranked lowest in terms of the United Nations’ human development index are unwaveringly religious. – Sam Harris

Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person’s thoughts. – Sam Harris

You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do. – Sam Harris

This is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own. – Sam Harris

As an atheist, I am angry that we live in a society in which the plain truth cannot be spoken without offending 90% of the population. – Sam Harris

Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a thelogically defensible reading of the Bible. – Sam Harris

We do not know what awaits each of us after death, but we know that we will die. Clearly, it must be possible to live ethically-with a genuine concern for the happiness of other sentient beings-without presuming to know things about which we are patently ignorant. Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person you will pass in the street today, is going to die. Living long enough, each will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime? – Sam Harris

Jesus Christ—who, as it turns out, was born of a virgin, cheated death, and rose bodily into the heavens—can now be eaten in the form of a cracker – Sam Harris

One could surely argue that the Buddhist tradition, taken as a whole, represents the richest source of contemplative wisdom that any civilization has produced. – Sam Harris

The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you. – Sam Harris

About 120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer. If our polls are to be trusted, nearly 230 million Americans believe that a book showing neither unity of style nor internal consistency was authored by an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent deity. – Sam Harris

It is rather more noble to help people purely out of concern for their suffering than it is to help them because you think the Creator of the Universe wants you to do it, or will reward you for doing it, or will punish you for not doing it. The problem with this linkage between religion and morality is that it gives people bad reasons to help other human beings when good reasons are available. – Sam Harris

The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization. – Sam Harris

Almost all our suffering is the product of our thoughts. We spend nearly every moment of our lives lost in thought, and hostage to the character of those thoughts. You can break this spell, but it takes training just like it takes training to defend yourself against a physical assault. – Sam Harris

On the subject of religious belief, we relax standards of reasonableness and evidence that we rely on in every other area of our lives. We relax so totally that people believe the most ludicrous propositions, and are willing to organize their lives around them. – Sam Harris

Strange bonds of trust and self-deception tend to grow between journalists and their subjects. – Sam Harris

I consistently encounter people in academic settings and scientists and journalists who feel that you can’t say that anyone is wrong in any deep sense about morality, or with regard to what they value in life. I think this doubt about the application of science and reason to questions of value is really quite dangerous. – Sam Harris

Spiritual life can certainly follow the pattern one sees in the fake martial arts, with most teachers making nebulous and magical claims that never get tested, while their students derange themselves with weird ideas, empty rituals, and other affectations. – Sam Harris

My concern with religion is that it allows us by the millions to believe what only lunatics or idiots could believe on their own. That’s not to say that all religious people are lunatics or idiots. It’s anything but that. – Sam Harris

The atheist, by merely being in touch with reality, appears shamefully out of touch with the fantasy life of his neighbors. – Sam Harris

Positive social emotions like compassion and empathy are generally good for us, and we want to encourage them. But do we know how to most reliably raise children to care about the suffering of other people? I’m not sure we do. – Sam Harris

While religious tolerance is surely better than religious war, tolerance is not without its liabilities. Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us incapable of criticizing ideas that are now patently absurd and increasingly maladaptive. – Sam Harris

As a parent, it’s my responsibility to equip my child to do this – to grieve when grief is necessary and to realize that life is still profoundly beautiful and worth living despite the fact that we inevitably lose one another and that life ends, and we don’t know what happens after death. – Sam Harris

Tolerance, openness to argument, openness to self-doubt, willingness to see other people’s points of view – these are very liberal and enlightened values that people are right to hold, but we can’t allow them to delude us to the point where we can’t recognise people who are needlessly perpetrating human misery. – Sam Harris

It is still fashionable to believe that how you organize yourself religiously in this life may matter for eternity. Unless we can erode the prestige of that kind of thinking, we’re not going to be able to undermine these divisions in our world. – Sam Harris

Many scientists have been drawn to Buddhism out of a sense that the Western tradition has delivered an impoverished conception of basic, human sanity. In the West, if you speak to yourself out loud all day long, you are considered crazy. But speaking to yourself silently – thinking incessantly – is considered perfectly normal. – Sam Harris

Science does not limit itself merely to what is currently verifiable. But it is interested in questions that are potentially verifiable (or, rather, falsifiable). – Sam Harris

Religion provides the only story that is fundamentally consoling in the face of the worst possible experiences – the death of a parent, for instance. In fact, many religions take away the problem entirely, because their adherents ostensibly believe that they’re going to be reunited with everyone they love, and death is an illusion. – Sam Harris

The fact that one can lose one’s sense of self in an ocean of tranquility does not mean that one’s consciousness is immaterial or that it presided over the birth of the universe. – Sam Harris

We are now in the 21st century: all books, including the Koran, should be fair game for flushing down the toilet without fear of violent reprisal. – Sam Harris

It’s not so much religion per se, it’s false certainty that worries me, and religion just has more than its fair share of false certainty or dogmatism. I’m really concerned when I see people pretending to know things they clearly cannot know. – Sam Harris

While liberals are leery of religious fundamentalism in general, they consistently imagine that all religions at their core teach the same thing and teach it equally well. This is one of the many delusions borne of political correctness. – Sam Harris

Religious ideas about good and evil tend to focus on how to achieve well-being in the next life, and this makes them terrible guides to securing it in this one. Of course, there are a few gems to be found in every religious tradition, but insofar as these precepts are wise and useful they are not, in principle, religious. – Sam Harris

Morality must relate, at some level, to the well-being of conscious creatures. If there are more and less effective ways for us to seek happiness and to avoid misery in this world – and there clearly are – then there are right and wrong answers to questions of morality. – Sam Harris

One of the great responsibilities we have as a society is to educate ourselves, along with the next generation, about which substances are worth ingesting, and for what purpose, and which are not. – Sam Harris

I think there are universal principles that we should want to understand, but that are not necessarily good for us. We could recognise universal propensities which current cultures can’t fully eradicate, which we would want to eradicate if we could. Let’s say, a tendency for tribal violence. Or racism. – Sam Harris

Human experience depends on everything that can influence states of the human brain, ranging from changes in our genome to changes in the global economy. – Sam Harris

To speak specifically of our problem with the Muslim world, we are meandering into a genuine clash of civilizations, and we’re deluding ourselves with euphemisms. We’re talking about Islam being a religion of peace that’s been hijacked by extremists. If ever there were a religion that’s not a religion of peace, it is Islam. – Sam Harris

The usefulness of religion – the fact that it gives life meaning, that it makes people feel good – is not an argument for the truth of any religious doctrine. It’s not an argument that it’s reasonable to believe that Jesus really was born of a virgin or that the Bible is the perfect word of the creator of the universe. – Sam Harris

Nothing guarantees that reasonable people will agree about everything, of course, but the unreasonable are certain to be divided by their dogmas. It is time we recognized that this spirit of mutual inquiry, which is the foundation of all real science, is the very antithesis of religious faith. – Sam Harris

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

The treatment of women in Muslim communities throughout the world is unconscionable. All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the Earth. – Sam Harris

The only thing that permits human beings to collaborate with one another in a truly open-ended way is their willingness to have their beliefs modified by new facts. Only openness to evidence and argument will secure a common world for us. – Sam Harris

Religion has convinced us that there’s something else entirely other than concerns about suffering. There’s concerns about what God wants, there’s concerns about what’s going to happen in the afterlife. – Sam Harris

The problem is that religion tends to give people bad reasons to be good. – Sam Harris

Nearly half of the American population is eagerly anticipating the end of the world. This dewy-eyed nihilism provides absolutely no incentive to build a sustainable civilization. Many of these people are lunatics, but they are not the lunatic fringe. – Sam Harris

Many of my fellow atheists consider all talk of ‘spirituality’ or ‘mysticism’ to be synonymous with mental illness, conscious fraud, or self-deception. I have argued elsewhere that this is a problem – because millions of people have had experiences for which ‘spiritual’ and ‘mystical’ seem the only terms available. – Sam Harris

There are a few dogmas and double standards and really regrettable exports from philosophy that have confounded the thinking of scientists on the subject of morality. – Sam Harris

Moderates want their faith respected. They don’t want faith itself criticized, and yet faith itself is what is bringing us all this – this lunacy. – Sam Harris

In my own case, the most inflammatory statements I have ever made are ones that I have written and remain willing to defend. – Sam Harris

The moment we realize that the only things we can intelligibly value are actual and potential changes in the experience of conscious beings, we can think about a landscape of such changes – where the peaks correspond to the greatest possible well-being and the valleys correspond to the lowest depths of suffering. – Sam Harris

Muslim moderates, wherever they are, must be given every tool necessary to win a war of ideas with their co-religionists. Otherwise, we will have to win some very terrible wars in the future. – Sam Harris

You can learn something about a person by the company she keeps. – Sam Harris

There’s no way to reconcile Islam with Christianity. This difference of opinion admits of compromise as much as a coin toss does. – Sam Harris

I don’t think there’s an interesting boundary between philosophy and science. Science is totally beholden to philosophy. There are philosophical assumptions in science and there’s no way to get around that. – Sam Harris

It is difficult to think of anything more important than providing the best education possible for our children. They will develop the next technologies, medical cures, and global industries, while mitigating their unintended effects, or they will fail to do these things and consign us all to oblivion. – Sam Harris

In my experience with print journalists, the distinction between remarks being uttered on- or off-the-record is held sacrosanct, but the distinction between truth and falsity sometimes isn’t. – Sam Harris

It is easy to see what many people, women especially, admire about Sarah Palin. Here is a mother of five who can see the bright side of having a child with Down syndrome and still find the time and energy to govern the state of Alaska. – Sam Harris

Most people believe that the Creator of the universe wrote (or dictated) one of their books. Unfortunately, there are many books that pretend to divine authorship, and each makes incompatible claims about how we all must live. – Sam Harris

There must be right and wrong answers to questions of morality and values that potentially fall within the purview of science. On this view, some people and cultures will be right (to a greater or lesser degree), and some will be wrong, with respect to what they deem important in life. – Sam Harris

There is no reason whatsoever to think that Buddhism can compete successfully with the relentless evangelizing of Christianity and Islam. Nor should it try to. – Sam Harris

We’re right to say that a culture that can’t tolerate free speech is… there are a wide range of positive human experiences that are not available in that culture. And we’re right to want those experiences. – Sam Harris

It’s simply untrue that religion provides the only framework for a universal morality. – Sam Harris

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

Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. – Sam Harris

The wealthiest Americans often live as though they and their children had nothing to gain from investments in education, infrastructure, clean-energy, and scientific research. – Sam Harris

We should reserve the notion of ‘morality’ for the ways in which we can affect one another’s experience for better or worse. Some people use the term ‘morality’ differently, of course, but I think we have a scientific responsibility to focus the conversation so as to make it most useful. – Sam Harris

Morality and values depend on the existence of conscious minds – and specifically on the fact that such minds can experience various forms of well-being and suffering in this universe. – Sam Harris

Most seem to think that while a person may not be responsible for the opportunities he gets in life, each is entirely responsible for what he makes of these opportunities. – Sam Harris

While the religious divisions in our world are self-evident, many people still imagine that religious conflict is always caused by a lack of education, by poverty, or by politics. – Sam Harris

If we pass the test tonight, we’ll continue to evaluate on a daily basis. – Sam Harris

I think it’s just a case in the second half where we stopped penetrating and dishing the ball out. We’re an effective team when we do that. We just played the way Union wanted us to – or probably better put, the way they made us. – Sam Harris

I was actually already doing my Ph.D. in neuroscience when September 11 happened. ‘The End Of Faith’ is essentially what September 11 did to my intellectual career at that moment. – Sam Harris

It was very violent, … We had gunfire. They shot at our trucks, they shot at the captain of police, ran barricades. – Sam Harris

Como’s probably never going to stay the same. This is home though. And I can never say that I’m going to a better place. We’ll survive. – Sam Harris

It’s going to be great for the entire downtown. – Sam Harris

It’s going to be a car show for people who don’t ordinarily go to car shows. There will be lots of things for mom and the kids to do. – Sam Harris

It should create lots more walk-around traffic. You can walk to the movies, you can walk to Kaiser Grill or the Chop House or my place, you can walk to the Spa casino. There’s just a lot more out here than there used to be. – Sam Harris

It was high noon, or high tea. Whatever it was, it was great. We enjoyed it very much. – Sam Harris

If you’re out of school sick and you’re sitting outside on the porch getting some air, that’s one thing. – Sam Harris

The idea that any one of our religions represents the infallible word of the One True God requires an encyclopedic ignorance of history, mythology, and art even to be entertained. – Sam Harris

All of the problems that have existed in Benton Harbor were existing last week and the week before and the year before, and they weren’t here then, … They don’t need to come now. – Sam Harris

What would our world be like if we ceased to worry about ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ or ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ and simply acted so as to maximize well-being, our own and that of others? Would we lose anything important? – Sam Harris

All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the earth. – Sam Harris

Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of the earth, more than half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue. – Sam Harris

You know, when you get to the New World and you develop your three branches of government and you have a civil society, you can just jettison all the barbarism I recommended in the first books. – Sam Harris

Words like ‘God’ and ‘Allah’ must go the way of ‘Apollo’ and ‘Baal’ or they will unmake our world. – Sam Harris

It is time we realize that belief is not a private matter. As a man believes, so he will act. Believe that you are a member of a chosen people, awash in the salacious exports of an evil culture that is turning your children away from God, believe that you will be rewarded with an eternity of unimaginable delights by dealing death to these infidels—and flying a plane into a building is only a matter of being asked to do it. – Sam Harris

Atheism is just a way of clearing the space for better conversations. – Sam Harris

Liberals tend to understand that a person can be lucky or unlucky in all matters relevant to his success. Conservatives, however, often make a religious fetish of individualism. Many seem to have absolutely no awareness of how fortunate one must be to succeed at anything in life, no matter how hard one works. One must be lucky to be able to work. One must be lucky to be intelligent, physically healthy, and not bankrupted in middle age by the illness of a spouse. – Sam Harris

We must continually remind ourselves that there is a difference between what is natural and what is actually good for us. – Sam Harris

The problem that religious moderation poses for all of us is that it does not permit anything very critical to be said about religious literalism. – Sam Harris

For nearly a century, the moral relativism of science has given faith-based religion–that great engine of ignorance and bigotry–a nearly uncontested claim to being the only universal framework for moral wisdom. As a result, the most powerful societies on early spend their time debating issues like gay marriage when they should be focused on problems like nuclear proliferation, genocide, energy security, climate change, poverty, and failing schools. – Sam Harris

‎Faith, if it is ever right about anything, is right by accident – Sam Harris

Nothing in Chomsky’s account acknowledges the difference between intending to kill a child, because of the effect you hope to produce on its parents (we call this “terrorism”), and inadvertently killing a child in an attempt to capture or kill an avowed child murderer (we call this “collateral damage”). In both cases a child has died, and in both cases it is a tragedy. But the ethical status of the perpetrators, be they individuals or states, could not be more distinct For Chomsky, intentions do not seem to matter. Body count is all. – Sam Harris

Take a moment to reflect upon the existence of the musical The Book of Mormon. Now imagine the security precautions that would be required to stage a similar production about Islam. The project is unimaginable—not only in Beirut, Baghdad, or Jerusalem, but in New York City. – Sam Harris

The habit of spending nearly every waking moment lost in thought leaves us at the mercy of whatever our thoughts happen to be. Meditation is a way of breaking this spell. – Sam Harris

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