There is something charmingly quaint about Sam Harris’s new book, Letter to a Christian Nation. If not for religious belief, he says, this country would be pouring resources into such worthy efforts to alleviate suffering as stem cell research, not indulging in hand-wringing over preposterous moral qualms about the destruction of embryos.
This lucid little book began as the William Belden Noble Lectures, which deal with Christian faith and contemporary issues. Gingerich, a retired astronomer and historian of science, is also a Christian who taught for many years at Harvard.
Early in his introduction, Glen Stassen asks why a book on the Sermon on the Mount belongs in Jossey-Bass’s series called Enduring Questions in Christian Life. The Sermon on the Mount is indeed an enduring question as well as a central biblical text.
When someone asks me why Muslims don't denounce terrorism, I suggest that he or she Google the words “fatwa against terrorism” (80,000 hits), or name cities in the Muslim world that held major demonstrations against the 9/11 attacks (Tehran, Karachi). Most Muslims do not approve of terrorism. Their response to it is fear—fear of extremists who seem unconstrained by mainstream Islamic law, fear of a son or daughter becoming a "holy warrior," fear for the future of an entire faith community.