I finished listening to The End of Faith today. I enjoyed the book a lot. I agree with Harris' premise that spirituality need not be religiously dogmatic, but I'm not real sure I'm ready to do meditation or to get involved in anything Buddhist. Maybe if I had less going on in my life, and I could find discussions of meditative practices that were not, in my view, rather over the top... but I leave that aside for now until long after my ambitions of the present have been satisfied. Still, I don't think meditation is the only route to spiritual maturity. His treatment of the dangers of faith in general were frightening and informative... so much so that I added the Bible and a book ont the Koran to my summer listening list, since I will clearly not find time in the near future to muddle through the physical texts (though reading at least some books in the Greek might be enjoyable some day). I am also considering adding the Book of Mormon if I can find an audio version since it is America's peculiar flavour of Christian idiosyncracy. He certainly paints a very grim picture of things, and I am at a loss at this point to know just how to go about fixing any of it, short of some truly drastic measures. For even if rationalists could save America from the religious dogmatism of the far right, how does anything else we do work that much better than mere hope in the short-term? Indeed, while Harris tried to be as damning of faith as possible, and then argue that things can still change rapidly, it is difficult to imagine from looking at his mountain of otherwise pessimistic observations. This hardly changes the fact that reason and rationality are that much more necessary, not less, in the face of such information.
I'm now listening to 1984. I don't think I'll quite have enough time to finish the whole thing this week, but I should get through most of it before the weekend.
I mentioned all the books I was listening to my brother yesterday, and he thinks he'd like to listen to all of them, except he wants to read 1984... It's not like I got any abridged versions if I could avoid not.