While atheists won't find much new in LCN, Christians may be shocked at what they find. Harris jumps efficiently from one topic to the next, making eloquent points about the damage religion has done to the world and dispatching misconceptions about atheism at the same time. I found myself agreeing with most everything Harris said, and his words are so carefully honed that any given sentence could stand on its own as an insightful quote.
I suppose I should cover some of the novel things I did manage to learn from the book. For example:
- Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther and John Calvin thought heretics should be killed. Augustine merely thought they should be tortured.
- The Family Research Council opposes a vaccination program for the human papillomavirus because it would remove a deterrent to premarital sex.
- The Vatican is opposed to condom use even to prevent HIV from spreading between husband and wife.
- The Vatican perpetuated the myth of blood libel up until 1914.
- 81% of Hurricane Katrina evacuees said that their experience strengthened their religious faith.
- Experimenting on a human blastocyst in South Dakota can be punishable with up to 2 years in prison.
Overall, though, LCN is a much-needed book: one that explains clearly, concisely and unflinchingly what is wrong with religion. Its contents should be eye-opening to those who don't realize that the Bible sanctions slavery and genocide, and that people can be (and usually are) good without God. It may not be news to atheists, but if every religious person were to read this book, I think the world would be a very different place.