Sam Harris on the importance of beliefs

A BELIEF is a lever that, once pulled, moves almost everything else in a person’s life. Are you &. scientist? A liberal? A racist? These are merely species of belief in action. Your beliefs define your vision of the world; they dictate your behavior; they determine your emotional responses to other human beings. If you doubt this, consider how your experience would suddenly change if you came to believe one of the following propositions:

  1. You have only two weeks to live.
  2. You’ve just won a lottery prize of one hundred million dollars.
  3. Aliens have implanted a receiver in your skull and are manipulating your thoughts.

These are mere words—until you believe them. Once believed, they become part of the very apparatus of your mind, determining your desires, fears, expectations, and subsequent behavior.-Sam Harris, The End of Faith

I may disagree with Sam’s subsequent assessment with regards to specific faiths. Specifically his view on the Christian faith. However his understanding of the importance of faith and its role in a person’s life is a lesson that, sadly, many Christians could stand to learn.


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