Nerdy Sunday! Richard Dawkins- The God Delusion.

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 Book Review- “THE GOD DELUSION” by Richard Dawkins.

Another Sunday, another book review. A book that is seemingly very relevant to today’s times….

There was a time when money was the root cause of all evil. It still is, probably. But ironically religion comes close to dethroning money from it’s “prime-evil” status. We live in an era where every man is obsessed with imposing his “god” on another. Where wars are fought with religion as the Pièce de résistance. Where dozens, and hundreds and thousands of humans are killed, butchered, shot, bombarded, massacred- all in the name of “faith”.

So, will history remember these times as the “era of the faithful”? Seriously doubt it. All pervasive hatred seems to linger above us like a dark, threatening, all-consuming cloud. Man spends countless hours and endless resources on devising and constructing material, equipment and technology to kill fellow humans faster, more brutally and in greater numbers…. These are our times…….Our legacy…

Times of gifted-deaths and halted-lives….

“Faith” is supposed to bring contentment, felicity and tranquillity. Instead it stems bigotry, irrationality and destruction….Pity…

Halting the tangential rant, let us get on with the book review- with our usual 10 questions….

  1. How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

Bought it a while back. Knew Richard Dawkins as the author of the book “The Selfish Gene” (another book review?) and a famous atheist. But what compelled me to buy this book was this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0Xn60Zw03A.

  1. What is the book about”?

Hmmm… this can be answered two ways.

The snobbish, pseudo- noetic, showy way or the simple, lay-man appealing way. Let’s chose the latter.

Dawkins tries very hard (in almost 500 pages) to sell us a “there is no God” concept. He eloquently quotes several scientific, political, literary luminaries (Einstein being his favourite), cites scientific data and experiments, enumerates evolutionary references and elaborates his own atheistic ideas to make his point.

The premise of the book is that the world would be much better off if you rip religion out of it. Valid point or preposterous proposition….? It depends on the reader entirely- his/her religious views, scientific belief…..

  1. First impressions?

It takes a while to get used to the style of writing. Initially, does seem like a cumbersome read, gets better once you get into the groove…of the book that is!

  1. Final evaluation?

Has this book turned me into an atheist? Not really. That was Dawkins’s aim I presume.

So, the book fails in delivering the message? No. It provides an alternate view. A novel perspective. Some food for thought….

Mr Dawkins tackles his topic with different approaches- in ten chapters. Chapters such as:- “A deeply religious non- believer”, “The god hypothesis”, “Why there almost certainly is no God’…

He makes a compelling argument. The author seems to truly believe what he says, therefore it does not seem contrived or “fake”. There is an almost absolute conviction…..

Just to provide an insight, here’s a snippet from the beginning of the second chapter “The God Hypothesis”-

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; petty, unjust, unforgiving, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. Those of us schooled from infancy in his ways can become desensitised to their horror………………………………………………….
Not surprisingly, since it is founded on the local traditions or private revelation rather than evidence, the God Hypothesis comes in many versions. Historians of religion recognize a progression from primitive tribal animisms, through polytheisms such as those of the Greeks, Romans and Norsemen, to monotheisms such as Judaism and its derivatives, Christianity and Islam.”

  1. How long did it take to finish?

A couple of days.

  1. Critique?

Wish it had more continuity. Sometimes, the book seems to lose it’s stream of thought…

Maybe, when you write about something as abstract as religion…it becomes hard to rigidly conform to structure or maintain continuity …

This lack of coherency made me put it down a couple of times…But I did get through ultimately.

As far as the content goes, one needs to keep an open mind. Open to an alternate point of view.  Irrespective of your religious beliefs, you may even end up nodding to yourself at certain parts. Because to be honest to ourselves, we must admit that religion is starting to become a hard cross to bear… forgive the intended pun!

The author is a man of science…so this book is not philosophical even though the subject is such. So no matter how extreme the view, it’s tolerable….maybe even agreeable to some….

  1. Who would you recommend the book to?

Anyone who reads non- fiction and can hence be motivated enough to finish books even if you knew there is no “end” to it….

Not for the self- confident, “faith cannot be questioned”, ill- tempered, religious fanatic…

  1. Would you read it again?

Possibly. Because there were parts I whizzed through in a bid to finish the book; therefore a second, more leisurely perusal may be warranted in the future.

  1. Do you regret purchasing it?

No.

     10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

“Religion is undoubtedly a divisive force, and this is one of the main accusations levelled against it. But is it frequently and rightly said that wars, and feuds between religious groups or sects, are seldom actually about theological disagreements. When an Ulster Protestant paramilitary murders a Catholic, he is not muttering to himself, ‘Take that. Transubstantiationist, mariolatrous, incense-reeking bastard! He is much more likely to be avenging the death of another Protestant killed by another catholic, perhaps in the course of a sustained trangenerational vendetta. Religion is a label of in-group/out-group enimity and vendetta, not necessarily worse than other labels such as skin color, language or preferred football team, but often available when other labels are not.”

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So my dear folks, anything you’d like to say? Add?

Any good books you’ve read lately?

Please do suggest some light reads for this week. I am in the mood for some humour……

Till next time….

Dr J.

 

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