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17 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sweet bejaysus, 7 Jan. 2013
This review is from: To Set Prometheus Free: Religion, Reason and Humanity (Hardcover)
This sort of book, whose name, alas, is Legion, attemps to take on the religious on their own terms. It is a fool's errand*. Let us imagine that those without faith maintained the existence of a hypothetical substance, imperceptible to the senses - call it Sprod - that prevented any supernatural emanations or visitations ('gods' and the like) from ever having been. Now imagine the committed religious being challenged to *prove* that Sprod is a fabrication, a delusion! Surreal doesn't cover it. So why put ourselves through these hoops? God is a three-letter word (in English, at least; I've long pondered what His Goddiness calls herself) that means whatever you want it to mean. It is a word on the meaning of which no two believers, if pressed, could ever agree, once they diverged from 'the Party line'**, whose meaning is also studiously ambiguous - postmodern, even. God-addiction is like any other. These guys do not want our help. If they need their Sunday fix, what earthly concern is it of ours? Find another corpse, Grayling; this one has been flogged, flayed and gnawn these past five hundred years (or since Spinoza at least) yet *still* stalks the land trailing followers in its wake. It's a ***** miracle!

* Private Eye, 5 April 2013, of Grayling's latest effort: ' hackneyed and unfruitful a topic as the non-existence of God'

** Folk who said communism resembled religion spoke wiser than they knew. Both were imposed by a handful of zealots. Beware inspiration/the 'spiritual' (spirit: hot air)
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jan 2013 00:55:16 GMT
Janey says:
Good Sprod! Would anyone care to rewrite this review in plain English?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 08:04:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jan 2013 08:05:59 GMT
Got halfway through before I realised it wasn't a Les Dawson monologue.

Posted on 17 Jan 2013 09:44:58 GMT
TingMart says:
Ranked 2.6 million and climbing.Very entertaining review.

Posted on 20 Jan 2013 11:25:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Jan 2013 09:58:48 GMT
If I'm allowed second thoughts, there are two points. Some people's built-in need to venerate: nothing to be done about that, I suppose, though we might require that like certain forms of intimacy it be done by consenting adults behind closed doors. And since, as I've said, it's a drug, perhaps it should be banned to the under-18s? That might at least discourage the more non-integrationist incomer, Arab or Pole. To call it 'a form of' child abuse, as Grayling does, is unhelpful; is it or isn't it? Should we even allow churches a sign saying 'Come on in'? Is 'Jesus saves' in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority? Even 'Jesus may save' is an obfuscation analogous with 'pigs may fly', where 'may' means anything you like. But that brings us to the second, specifically Christian claim. I don't merely disbelieve this, I say it is incredible in the most literal sense of the word, that is, flat out moon-as-green-cheese impossible - as any Christian would of course say (in private) of the Moslem claim. That is why the question 'Do you believe in G*d?' is disingenuous at best - a baited hook; if you take it you are in danger of being primed, like Alice, to believe six impossible things before breakfast

Actually, in the last fifteen pages Grayling actually gets into his stride - the designer's evident incompetence, such that to credit God might actually be considered blasphemy; the question of pleasure now (bad) vs 'felicity' hereafter (good) - but regretfully I still can't award more than one star to this shoddy ('Popper's telling observation', p89, 'Popper's killer point', p94) parasitical (precis of Russell, Hitchens? pygmies and giants!) little book. Subscribe to New Humanist instead

Posted on 11 Feb 2013 11:08:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Feb 2013 11:13:01 GMT
Sprod: latest
Grayling unveils the mirror image of sprod when he explicates theism thus: 'I know there are goblins in my garden because they provide me with a goblin-sensing faculty of mind' ie Alvin Plantinga's sensus divinitatis - which in some of us is faulty! Love it (NYRB 27/9/12)

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2013 00:54:25 BDT
Douglas Wood says:
Richard Dawkins would have been proud of Grayling's goblins!


In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2014 21:57:54 BDT
Viper says:
You suggest that people should 'subscribe to New Humanist instead.' A good recommendation but, I note, listed among the Honorary Associates printed in the magazine is none other than your friend A C Grayling!
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