I’m not going to lie – a lot of the stuff Sam Harris talks about goes over my head. And even as an English major, I still find myself needing to look up half of the words he says in the dictionary.
But that’s also the thing I love most about the world today. Anyone can go on YouTube or download a podcast and get instant exposure to new ideas from today’s leading thinkers and intellectuals.
The thing I respect most about Sam Harris is that he’s willing to sit down and talk to people who he disagrees with. And even when there’s a difference of opinion, he doesn’t resort to name-calling or personal attacks. Instead, he tries to understand the other person’s argument while explaining his own.
I hope you enjoy this collection of quotes from Sam Harris. And that maybe they’ll even open you up to a new perspective or two.
Sam Harris Quotes
1. Some ideas really are worse than others. And the idea that all religions, cultures, and belief systems are equal is one of the worst of them all. – Sam Harris
2. Where we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; where we have no reasons, we have lost our connection to the world and to one another. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) November 11, 2017
3. 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
4. No society in human history ever suffered because its people became too reasonable. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) October 30, 2017
5. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. – Sam Harris
6. “Atheism” is a term that shouldn’t even exist. No one needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We don’t have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) September 29, 2017
7. Where are the Tibetan suicide bombers? – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) August 24, 2017
8. 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
9. We decide what is valuable in our holy books. Religion is like a pickpocket who offers to loan you your own money until you can find your wallet. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) July 31, 2017
10. There is no place in your brain for your soul to be hiding. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) June 15, 2017
11. The liar stands between his listeners and reality. To lie is to block the light of the world. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) May 31, 2017
12. 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. – Sam Harris
13. Pretending to know things one doesn’t know is a betrayal of science – and yet it is the lifeblood of religion. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) May 4, 2017
14. It’s simply untrue that religion provides the only framework for a universal morality. – Sam Harris
15. We will embarrass our descendants just as our ancestors embarrass us. This is moral progress. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) April 1, 2017
16. Bad ideas, however sacred, cannot survive the company of good ones forever. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) February 28, 2017
17. Certainty about the next life is incompatible with tolerance in this one. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) January 21, 2017
18. Faith, if it is ever right about anything, is right by accident. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) January 4, 2017
19. Consciousness is the one thing in this universe that cannot be an illusion. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) December 22, 2016
20. Most people who believe they are meditating are merely thinking with their eyes closed. – Sam Harris
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) December 13, 2016
21. 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
Did you enjoy these quotes from Sam Harris? If so, go follow him on Twitter @SamHarrisOrg
…and also, consider reading any of his amazing books. My personal favorite is Waking Up, a rational guide for people interested in meditation and spirituality – without all the dogma and woo-woo mysticism attached.
I’ll leave you with this thought-provoking video where Harris explains that the idea of the self is an illusion. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed these quotes, check out this collection of quotes from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.