Sunday, April 5, 2009

The God Delusion

The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins

I will preface by saying that I felt really controversial reading this book -- even for being, what some may call, a "godless liberal", it felt controversial.

Richard Dawkins effectively attacks the unquestioned belief in God -- not what he calls the Einsteinian God, the force of Nature or the universe, but the supernatural creator that can hear simultaneously the prayers or millions of people, that punishes homosexuals and the societies that harbor them with tsunamis, that furiously and jealously cares whether or not we believe in him.

At first I was slightly put off by Dawkins's tone/unrelenting attack. Although I was agreeing with his points, I could see how his ideas could offend some readers. But then I got over it. The points spoke loud and clear. (And why shouldn't an atheist woman be offended when a Catholic tells her that a priest can only be a person who has testicles, for example? It should go both ways.)

I find the topic of religion in America fascinating. Although America was not established as a Christian nation, it is now one of the more (most?) religious industrialized countries. England, with its Church of England, is one of the least religious. In addition, it is inappropriate to question religion and to question religious people about their faith. But where does their faith come from? And why must we treat the topic of religion with kid gloves?

Dawkins structures the book by laying out the arguments commonly given for God's existence and then systematically breaks them down. He touches upon the roots of religion, the superiority of the Darwinist argument over the Creationist one, human psychology, the roots of morality, the moral lessons presented in the Old and New Testaments, the indoctrination of children, and countless other captivating tidbits. There were too many ideas that jumped out and slapped me in the face. In a good way. I should have taken notes.

Soon I promise to consider the other side and finally read C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity.

5 out of 5

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