Customer Reviews


1,257 Reviews
5 star:
 (635)
4 star:
 (225)
3 star:
 (127)
2 star:
 (99)
1 star:
 (171)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have doubts about religion, read this book. If you don’t, read it too!
I need no conversion, indoctrination or to be convinced that there is no God, since I have been an atheist almost all of my live, in spite of being born in a catholic household. So, when I picked up this book in a bookstore in Rome, I did it just out of curiosity. And it was a ‘blessing’, first because it is a very interesting book indeed and secondly, because...
Published 1 month ago by marginal

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing - not as convincing as "The Blind Watchmaker"
This book starts off really well. It's impassioned, it's interesting and it's quite an easy read. Dawkins makes his points in a rather un-concise manner, but he does make them well.

His view on how religion can be very dangerous, and how moderate religions don't do much to deter fundamentalists or extremists is very valid. He also makes several good points...
Published 14 months ago by boots-2000


‹ Previous | 1 2126 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have doubts about religion, read this book. If you don’t, read it too!, 31 July 2014
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
I need no conversion, indoctrination or to be convinced that there is no God, since I have been an atheist almost all of my live, in spite of being born in a catholic household. So, when I picked up this book in a bookstore in Rome, I did it just out of curiosity. And it was a ‘blessing’, first because it is a very interesting book indeed and secondly, because it put me in contact with the scientific work of professor Dawkins, which I intend to read in a very near future (The Magic of Reality, The Selfish Gene, and The Ancestor's Tale).

So, if you are an atheist like me, you will find yourself agreeing with the rational, logical and sane argumentation again and again. Everything will be obvious, so crystal clear, and you just wonder how incredible it is that such evidences and common sense are not shared by everybody. But even for an atheist, this book has magnificent moments of discovery, not only in the field of religion, but also in the field of history, psychology or science. And of course, at the end you will be even more enlightened as a non-believer and reinforced in your ‘believes’ and rationality.

If you are someone religious but with doubts, who feels that something is not right about religious teachings, someone curious about how the atheistic view works, then this is the book for you. The only thing I can wish for, is that at the end you will be in a position to make your own choices, and free yourself from the choices that others made for you when you were probably too young and helpless to defend yourself against nonsense religious brain-wash. This book is your chance of freeing yourself from the claws of religion, any religion, and to build a real and beautiful image of the world and everything attached to it.

If you are heavy believer, one of those persons with no doubts whatsoever, who knows without flinching what’s right and wrong for yourself and everybody else, then you could read this book too, just for the sheer pleasure of imagining professor Dawkins or myself, suffering the tortures of hell for all eternity to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


732 of 841 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By a practising Muslim..., 14 Mar 2009
By 
Mr Tea-Mole (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
An excellent book, very well-written and thoughtfully argued. Stimulating and challenging - at times scathing - but something which definitely propels one to delve deeper into the reasons for belief - or indeed lack of them.

Dawkins' central thesis seems to be that the evolutionary process of natural selection, as propounded by Darwin and bolstered by the amalgamation of much subsequent indicatory evidence, provides a viable and real alternative to the "God Hypothesis" - indeed it blows it out of the water. But, why then - if blatantly false - is religion so ubiquitous? Evoking theories of evolutionary psychology and the human need for consolation and meaning (as well as the scientific ignorance of our ancestors), Dawkins explains the popularity of religion in purely secular terms.

But what, then, about morality? How can we derive our principles of right and wrong if not from an absolute source of incontrovertible authority (God / revelation)? Again Dawkins responds by explaining how the roots of morality have Darwinian origins and includes a chapter on how the moral lessons of traditional religion (quoting biblical scripture, although I suspect his treatment of the Quran or other sacred texts would be equally unsympathetic) are not that endearing anyway. Why be so hostile though - isn't religion a good thing, a quaint yet harmless cultural phenomenon? Well no, look at the fundamentalists, terrorists, homophobes and other fanatics being spawned by the religious project in increasingly large numbers. Dawkins is unequivocal: religion is dangerous and we need to protect ourselves from it.

So what's the solution, what do we do? Simple, answers Richard with customary gusto: take a strong dose of courage followed by an even stronger one of rationalism, then cast off these restrictive fetters we've inherited from childhood. Grow up, for God's sake (no pun intended), and breathe the fresh, fragrant air of twenty first century scientific freedom! Our experiments have revealed, after all, that there are no fairies at the bottom of the garden.

This, in a nutshell, is a synopsis of the book and something, I must say, I found to be an exhilarating read. I approached the book with an open mind, determined not to allow the predilections of my preconceptions taint my appreciation of his arguments, and was sufficiently enthused to write directly to the author (I await his response). It's always refreshing to have your beliefs challenged, and Dawkins is an expert at doing that. He also has a brilliant knack of reducing complex scientific content down to digestible chunks (peppered with generous offerings of very entertaining humour), and this adds considerably to the readability value of the text. It's not for nothing that Dawkins was the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, demonstrating his ability to explain - in simple terms - science to the layperson. Also worth pointing out is one of the key benefits of the book in the way in which it collates into a single place so many of the classic as well as modern arguments for belief versus disbelief, making it into a cutting-edge handbook for reference.

So what of the key questions the text raises? How can people of faith come to terms with the structured and forceful arguments outlined above? Can we marry faith with modern twenty first century scientific rationalism or are the two fundamentally incompatible, consigned to follow paths of mutually irreconcilable divergence?

I, for one, remain content with my faith as a Muslim after reading Dawkins' book. Although appreciating the validity of many of his arguments, and recognising the negative impact that extreme religion can have, I'm not convinced entirely by the argument for blind and random evolution. Too many holes exist for my liking, and a "leap of faith" is required similar to what the religious person must commit to. I also found his section on the "anthropic principle" to be singularly unconvincing. Cosmology and the origin of life is something science is still stabbing in the dark at (although Dawkins says he has "faith" the answer will be found as the discoveries of science continue). I choose to have faith that the answer has been given to us, whilst fully respecting those who choose to disagree. Ultimately, it's the personal prerogative of each individual to forge an understanding of existence unique to them, whether buttressed by an accepted world-view or not. Dawkins challenges and stimulates us into believing that there is nothing outside of ourselves - we are the sum and substance of billions of years of chance occurrences and all supra-natural entities our ancestors believed in are nothing but the fictions of human imagination. What we choose to believe, though, is our individual and independent choice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank god for that!, 8 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The God Delusion (Kindle Edition)
Having reached my 60s and, ocassionally, pondering the meaning of life, whilst having serious doubts about my Christian indoctrination at a Church of England primary school in the 1950s, this book has been a revelation. In future, when I see that little box on application forms marked "religion" I can now write "none" with complete conviction. I am now free of doubts about the existence of heaven or any of the superstitious nonsense that drags us into a "faith" early in our lives. I am even more glad that, despite grand-parental tuttings and mutterings, my wife and I have refused to let our children be christened or go to church against their choice. My only negative criticisms of this book concern the initial pages wherein the author feels the need to rant against his critics and, irritatingly, the author's reference to numerous academic sources with, to my mind, obscure celebrity status. I may be ignorant but I don't wish to feel ignorant! That said, I would recommend this book to anyone, of any "faith", to help rid themselves of their fears and dispel the lies of their religious indoctrinators.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


208 of 243 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In 100 years I sense this will be seen as a timely book, 18 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
The other reviews of this book demonstrate what a touchy subject this is! Whatever your views I would recommend reading this book. It's fluent, well argued and engaging - although he is sometimes so angered by religious people that the fury starts to seep through and you can sense his knuckles whitening on the pen.

As with many theses the nuggets are sometimes tucked away. He casually reflects at one point how "believers" are actually atheistic about many gods (Apollo, Ra, Vishnu, Odin etc) - they dismiss almost as many gods as he does.

His scale of believing/not believing is interesting too: this isn't just a case of yes or no, there are many graduations on the way through - so, which are you? Quite atheistic but vaguely think there might be a God? Find out where you are on this handy, easy-to-read scale!

Seriously: this is a book that puts religious belief into perspective. If you are fifty like me, Christianity was probably a big part of your childhood education, and you challenged it at your peril. Like everything else your teachers believed in (corporal punishment, fair play, fitness, mind/body balance) in later life you have to assess the value of those ideas. Are you going to try to pass them on to your children? Are you sure that's right?

My tip - don't read the intro when you start: it's the angriest chapter, as it recounts the polemical (and sometimes downright horrid) attacks which have been made on Dawkins about the subject, so he's cross.

My own beliefs? Why should you care! This is an amazon review. It's about the book and whether it's worth reading. Enough with the ranting already.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


325 of 389 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the converted, 28 Sep 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
If you're reading this, the chances are you're either a 'radical atheist' (the preferred term of Dawkins' late friend Douglas Adams, to whom the book is dedicated), hoping that The God Delusion will give you a good satisfying dose of anti-religion rhetoric; or you're a devout believer, hoping to be roundly appalled and outraged.

Either way, you could be disappointed. For the first half or more, The God Delusion is more rigorous and scientifically demanding than we have been led to expect (Jeremy Paxman in interviewing Dawkins called it 'entertaining': well, yes and no). Dawkins goes to great, and occasionally tiresomely great, lengths to detail why the existence of the universe, the development of life and the variety of creation can be comfortably explained by science and probability. And then he gets to grips with traditional justifications for the existence of God, disposing of them in his own neat way. Perhaps these sections seemed superfluous to me as someone who is satisfied that Dawkins is right and there is no God; and doubtless they will seem equally superfluous - in another sense - to those who believe in God and not in Dawkins.

(It's worth saying at this point that when Dawkins means 'God', he means a personal, supernatural creator of the religious scriptures, a God-being rather than the more progressive notion of God as something nebulous that exists in all of us. This is after all the commonly understood meaning of God, which children are taught and most Christian, Islamic and Jewish adults continue to believe in. For sophisticated modern believers, who do not take the scriptures literally, Dawkins doesn't really regard you as religious at all; and you take that as an insult or compliment as you see fit.)

All this is worthwhile but when the book was more than half over, by page 200, and we were still on "The Roots of Religion," I couldn't help wondering when it would all get going. I needn't have worried. Dawkins, who has been quite restrained up until now - his disrespect limited to the odd sneer of 'faith-heads' or referring to the God of the Old Testament as a 'psychotic delinquent' - lets fly with the passion of his true feelings once the subject turns to morality.

And it is a thrilling, invigorating display. Dawkins systematically dismantles all arguments for morality being connected to religious belief in any sense (indeed shows how diametrically opposed much religious teaching is to widely accepted morality), addresses tricky issues like the Darwinian explanation for altruism, disposes of a few sacred cows along the way (Mother Teresa is "sanctimoniously hypocritical [with] cock-eyed judgement," God an "evil monster"), and horrifies us with religion's historical and present-day cruelties and injustices.

The other principal benefit of The God Delusion is that it gives us an opportunity to see all Dawkins' religious arguments in one place, having previously experienced them only in snippets of other books, newspaper articles and TV programmes. And he wastes no time in reiterating some of his favourite rhetoric:

"I think we should all wince when we hear a small child being labelled as belonging to some particular religion or another. Small children are too young to decide their views on the origins of the cosmos, of life and of morals. The very sound of the phrase 'Christian child' or 'Muslim child' should grate like fingernails on a blackboard."

"I have found it amusing strategy, when asked whether I am an atheist, to point out that the questioner is also an atheist when considering Zeus, Apollo, Amon Ra, Mithras, Baal, Thor, Wotan, the Golden Calf, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and almost all the other gods that have been invented since the dawn of man. I just go one god further."

And having put the fear of, well, God into us by detailing the dark side of religious belief (Dawkins would argue that there is no bright side: if your good morals and deeds are determined solely by a God you believe in, he argues, you are an "immoral person we should steer a clear passage around"), he is too professional to leave us floundering. Instead he injects the last ten pages with a soaring essay on the passion of science, which "widens the window" on what we can see, and leaves us with a lasting taste of the freedom that can be ours if we can only dare to think for ourselves. It is reminiscent of this beautiful passage from his earlier book Unweaving the Rainbow, which seems a good place to end, letting the wonder of what's really there speak for itself:

"Fling your arms wide in an expansive gesture to span all of evolution from its origin at your left fingertip to today at your right fingertip. All across your midline to well past your right shoulder, life consists of nothing but bacteria.

"Many-celled, invertebrate life flowers somewhere around your right elbow. The dinosaurs originate in the middle of your right palm, and go extinct around your last finger joint. The whole history of Homo sapiens and our predecessor Homo erectus is contained in the thickness of one nail clipping. As for recorded history; as for the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Jewish patriarchs, the dynasties of Pharaohs, the legions of Rome, the Christian Fathers, the Laws of the Medes and Persians which never change; as for Troy and the Greeks, Helen and Achilles and Agamemnon dead; as for Napoleon and Hitler, the Beatles and Bill Clinton, they and everyone that knew them are blown away in the dust of one light stroke of a nail file."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Case For Atheism, 13 April 2007
This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
Richard Dawkins does an excellent job of building a strong case for atheism by using logic and science in "The God Delusion". He shows the logical fallacies of the so-called proofs of Gods existence. He debunks the myth about religion being the source of morality and ethics, debunks other myths about the immorality of non-believers. He exposes some of the logical inconstancies and errors within the religions themselves. All in all, he does an outstanding job of explaining why atheism is on much firmer ground than any of the major religions.

There are some problems with the book as well, but before I go into those it is important to note that this is definitely a good book for religious people as well as atheists and agnostics to read. It gives a good explanation of why atheists don't believe in a god or gods, and probably deserves an overall rating of around 3.75 stars. So while I will go into some more detail about what I thought was not so good about the book that is merely because it is necessary to be more detailed about the problems than it is to be about the parts which are well done.

The weaknesses of the book all stem from one source, and that is that Dawkins, like everyone, is too close to the subject. It is probably impossible for anyone to take a completely dispassionate look at this subject, as we all have had to deal with various religions throughout our lives. On several occasions, Dawkins ventures out from his base of logic and science to make assumptions which are based only on his thoughts and not facts. For example, in Chapter 10, "A Much Needed Gap" he implies that religious people should be happy when a loved one is about to die, and goes on to imply that because they aren't it is somehow significant in the argument. However, people grieve for a variety of reasons, and not necessarily because they don't truly believe in heaven. As an atheist, I grieve for the absence in my life of a loved one, and there is no reason to believe that religious people don't feel the same sense of loss, regardless of whether they believe that person is going to heaven.

Another example is in Chapter 5 on "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God" where he correctly states that "since we are alive, eukaryotic and conscious, our planet has to be one of the intensely rare planets that has bridged all three gaps", or in short that it doesn't matter how improbable our existence is, because we exist we must have beaten those odds. What he fails to do though, is accept that same argument for the improbability of the existence of God. One could just as easily say that if God exists, that it doesn't matter how improbable its existence is. Of course, we don't have proof of God's existence, but the point is that if we are here because of the existence of a God, then its probability becomes irrelevant. The argument works in both cases, and while it is fair to say that the case for evolution is more probable, that doesn't prove that God doesn't exist.

Probably the worst chapter is Chapter 9 on "Childhood, Abuse and Religion". In this chapter, Dawkins argues that bringing up a child in a specific religion is a form of abuse. However, he really offers no way of solving this supposed problem. Would he have the State take children away and raise them? Would he require that people be at least 18 before they are allowed to attend services? And if so, how would he monitor what the parents tell the children at home? He ignores the fact that everything that parents do in raising their children can be for good or ill. They might spoil them with gifts or be too strict. They might teach them bad eating habits which will lead to health problems. The entire argument is based on emotionalism and is irrational, and it offers no answers. The vast majority of parents do a very good job of raising their children, whether they raise them in a specific faith or not.

Now that I have beat up on the book a little, let me finish by saying once again that despite its flaws, this is a very good book and enjoyable to read. The vast majority of the material is presented in a rational way. Dawkins really grabs the reader's attention, and I am sure that religious people would enjoy debating in their minds the points Dawkins makes just as much as I did. This book is a much better look at atheism and the problems with religion than Harris' "The End of Faith". It is not perfect, but I have no problem rounding "The God Delusion" up to four stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Not one to ignore, 5 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The God Delusion (Kindle Edition)
This guy has (as one might sadly expect) been the target of a lot of religious hatred and branded almost as the anti-christ himself.

Sadly - according to the media - he seems to be on the down-turn now as he gets older. Recently he's been painted as being quite full of hatred to his fellow man these days (if what we read in the press is true).

But regardless of the guy's current behavious, it can't be denied that this book has to be given some serious recognition and attention in the church as it poses a lot of very good points that I personally cannot argue against.

I've read this and listened to the audiobook several times over now.

In summary:
It is about 10% abuse / name-calling.
About 10% 'kinda missed the point' / misunderstood the key issue is around some areas.
But then if you can see past all that and ignore the attacking tone, the remaining 80% is - I have to admit - pretty spot on and difficult to argue against. I repeatedly found myself thinking "I actually agree with this" for the majority of the book.
A challenging read to any Christian willing to actually think honestly about what is being said.
Not sure why you'd read this if you weren't a Christian or linked in some close way to one. But certainly as a Christian, you need to know what's being said here and consider why you disagree (if indeed you even do).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young people deserve the chance to read this, 28 Jun 2014
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
Should be a GCSE set text. Organised religion appears to seep in to so many areas of my child's primary education (singing practise - let's sing hymns; art and craft - let's make a model of an angel; story time - let's read a book about how god made the earth; colouring - let's do this picture of the three kings). Young people deserve more balance so that they can make up their own minds. Making this a set text would go at least a little way towards balance...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing - not as convincing as "The Blind Watchmaker", 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
This book starts off really well. It's impassioned, it's interesting and it's quite an easy read. Dawkins makes his points in a rather un-concise manner, but he does make them well.

His view on how religion can be very dangerous, and how moderate religions don't do much to deter fundamentalists or extremists is very valid. He also makes several good points about how society has almost unanimously decided that religions must not face criticism, because that is offensive.

Richard Dawkins has a habit of meandering a little, sometimes his points go rather off-course and you find yourself reading about something almost completely unrelated to the first point he made.

Around halfway through this book it went down hill a bit for me. It stopped being persuasive. It's stayed absorbing, but to a lesser extent and it didn't really pick up for me after that point.

Sadly I didn't find it anywhere near as persuasive as I imagined I would. Many of his points were engrossing, and thought-provoking, but the book lacked the very thing I thought it would contain - and that was a persuasive point of view. A bit disappointed, to be honest.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good interesting read from my point of view as an ..., 7 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
Really good interesting read from my point of view as an atheist. My wife is/was (she'd currently say agnostic) a Christian. We've discussed religion a lot and it raised many questions she couldn't answer. Half way through the God Delusion and she is strongly doubting the existence of God. By the end I think she'll be a non believer, probably a 5 or 6 on Dawkins scale.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2126 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The God Delusion
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Paperback - 21 May 2007)
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews