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Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. The Making Sense podcast was selected by Apple as one of iTunes Best of 2015.

Harris is the author of the best-selling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free WillLying, and Waking Up—along with Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Harris’s work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. He has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Sam Harris's blog and podcast, and much more, can be found at


Mar 15, 2023

In this episode, we examine a series of Sam’s conversations centered around religion, atheism, and the power of belief. 

First, we hear the stories of three guests who have fled their respective oppressive religious organizations. We begin with Sarah Haider, founder of the advocacy group Ex-Muslims of North America, who details how her encounters with militant atheists catalyzed her journey to secularism. Then our narrator, Megan Phelps-Roper, walks us through her story of abandoning the Westboro Baptist Church. Finally, Yasmine Mohammed presents her harrowing account of escaping fundamentalist Islamism and Sam’s role in inspiring her public advocacy work.

We then tackle the concept of belief more broadly, diving into Sam’s understanding of atheism and what sets it apart from the views of other atheist thinkers like Matt Dillahunty and Richard Dawkins. We also revisit an infamous conversation between Sam and Jordan Peterson, wherein they attempt to come to some universal definition of the word “truth.”

The episode concludes with two Q&A portions from life events in which Sam addresses some real concerns about purpose and meaning in the absence of religion.


About the Series

Filmmaker Jay Shapiro has produced The Essential Sam Harris, a new series of audio documentaries exploring the major topics that Sam has focused on over the course of his career.

Each episode weaves together original analysis, critical perspective, and novel thought experiments with some of the most compelling exchanges from the Making Sense archive. Whether you are new to a particular topic, or think you have your mind made up about it, we think you’ll find this series fascinating.