I was wrong. I expected the anti-religious polemic The God Delusion to be over the top but I found it to be entirely measured and reasonable. Dawkins doesn’t so much ridicule religion as shine a light on its ridiculousness.
Dawkins claims that he hopes to convert a few people to atheism with TGD but I think that highly improbable. I do expect that it will achieve two other worthy goals:
- It will appeal to the many people who have had a religious upbringing but have always suspected the verity of religion.
- Encourage atheists, especially American atheists, to step out of the closet.
The book covers a lot of ground. It could easily have been entitled An Atheists Handbook (but then no one would have read it). I especially liked the section on antidotes to religious apologia. While it is futile to try to disprove god it is handy to know where the classical proofs for god fall short or to have ready quotes to counter claims of Einstein’s or Jefferson’s religiosity.
In the final analysis, I agree with Dawkins at every turn except for his stance on moderate religion. Dawkins thinks it provides cover for the fundamentalists but I am with Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney, who argues that moderate Christians and atheists should be allies in the strugle to resist fundamentalism.
I enjoyed The God Delusion immensely and recommend it wholeheartedly. The only problem I had with TGD was that he references so many other books and my Amazon Wish List is already waaaaay too long.
At last, atheists have something to shout during sex
Oh, Richard Dawkins!