4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A formidable presentation ...,
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
... but unlikely to convince many theists. However, unlike Sam Harris
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
or Christopher Hitchens
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
Dawkins is at least respectful even if he strongly disagrees with theists. He does seem to be making a sincere effort addressed to them and not at them (as Harris and Hitchens seem to have done). I was surprised just how respectful Dawkins is, not of the religions but of the theists he addresses. And given his world-class understanding of evolutionary biology and clear presentation, those less die-hard in their theism or still hanging on to their religious upbringing may think twice after reading this book: in fact, as reading this and just recent Daniel Dennings'
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
I registered as a Bright (as Dawkins and Dennings have done) online at the Brights Network.. Many, including myself, have raised in supernaturally soaked environments: it can take a long time to wean ourselves from the comfort of not only a belief of some supernatural kind in God, of supernatural Buddha nature, of the soul and life after death as someone else would tell us it is.
Dawkins is not without admiration for the canonical Jesus. But he includes some enlightening quotations from Thomas Jefferson and from the treaty with Tripoli signed by John Adams in 1797 which should definitely make anyone claiming the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation wince. Dawkins does express great concern with the amount of religious fanaticism to be found in the U.S. today. Dawkins alludes to Christopher Hitchins' biography
Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (Eminent Lives):
that a biologist of such renown as Dawkins knows so much more about our founding fathers than I do puts me to shame.
This is a book well worth reading and re-reading. It may be the best non-fiction work I have read in the past year. Along with Dennett's "Breaking the Spell" and Carl Sagan's
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
it helped me to finally go of the unproductive vestiges of my childhood religious conditioning.
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Initial post: 24 May 2008 14:35:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2008 22:11:48 BDT
Dawkins concludes the first chapter with this disclaimer:
"I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor I shall don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else."
Hopefully that puts this book and my review into perspective. However, I do not plan henceforth to respond much if at all to comments on this review. As a naturalist I may be open-minded enough to consider the evidence presented by a burning bush and a compelling voice of great wisdom as being something other than a hallucination but I won't be convinced by written arguments trying to sell supernaturalism or probably even much care about how this or that specific in "The God Delusion" seems. I also realize that this book and even my review may seem threatening to literalists but I am quite sympathetic to them, I am human too and have experience with how difficult life can be. However, as Paul Kurtz discusses in "The Courage to Become", it does seem possible to allow great unknowns to remain great unknowns yet live with intelligence, courage and caring.
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