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The God Delusion

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm starting this book, by Richard Dawkins, this week.

I'd welcome any discussion!!!!
post #2 of 14
I just wanted to post a gentle reminder of MDC's User Agreement:
Quote:
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and
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So, as long as the discussion stays respectful and free of bashing on either "side," have fun!
post #3 of 14
Nothing to contribute, but I might head to the bookstore or the library this weekend to see if it's in.
post #4 of 14
I attempted to read it, but I could not keep my eyes open. It was just a little too technical for me, I guess. And I also felt that as an Atheist, I didn't really need to be convinced on the god delusion. So I finally gave it up.
I am interested, though, to see what others think about it after reading the whole thing. It might interest me to pick it back up again.
post #5 of 14
I enjoyed this book, as I enjoy all Richard Dawkin's books. This isn't my favorite of his but was still very entertaining.

As a 99.9% athiest (as he describes himself), who believes there is no god, while at the same time admitting there is a statistical chance there is one, the book was really a rehashing of everything I already believe. Like a lot of people though, I enjoy reading things I agree with! I've been very excited to see all the atheist book coming out in the last couple years.

Other people I know who've read it complained about his 'tone'.. he is very sure of himself, and this isn't a balenced discussion. It's simply a collection of facts that he has used to explain why he thinks a belief in god is not only wrong, but also rather silly given the wealth of alternative information we have access to. And he's not afraid to use humor at the expense of 'believers'. This is why I love the guy - he's not afraid to speak out and hurt feelings, like so many scientists (a predominately atheist crowd who are afraid to risk being open about their true beliefs).
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubarbarin View Post
And he's not afraid to use humor at the expense of 'believers'. This is why I love the guy - he's not afraid to speak out and hurt feelings, like so many scientists (a predominately atheist crowd who are afraid to risk being open about their true beliefs).
Bolding is mine. This is exactly why I didn't like the book. He is derogatory and demeaning. I think if you have a solid argument you don't need to be mean. I always doubt someone's convictions when they get nasty. Put downs say more about the person who is making them, IMO.

His whole book is a UA. I've seen plenty of Atheists stick by their beliefs without being rude, unkind, arrogant, or demeaning. But he would rather not put the effort into it. Or he is a bitchy person by nature and has to get the venom out. Who knows?

"Do not post in a disrespectful, defamatory, adversarial, baiting, harassing, offensive, insultingly sarcastic or otherwise improper manner, toward a member or other individual, including casting of suspicion upon a person, invasion of privacy, humiliation, demeaning criticism, name-calling, personal attack, or in any way which violates the law." Yep, that describes Richard Dawkins to a T. Along with religious bigotry.
post #7 of 14
I would think that the title 'The God DELUSION' would be a clue about it's contents and tone. I didn't find the tone offensive, but I am an atheist, so my perspective is different from a religious person who reads it.

Personally, I've found that's there's no good way to talk to religious people about atheism. It's too much of a hot button issue and I've found people to get defensive and angry no matter how gently or matter of factly the topic is discussed. Usually when someone tries to engage me in a discussion about atheism (generally with the intention of showing me the error of my ways and 'saving' me), I just end the conversation. The only time I'll get into it is when people attack atheists as evil, or satanic, or whatever.

I agree that religious bigotry is ugly - like when the current pope said athiests were responsible for the greatest cruelty and violations of justice in history, or when GH Bush said athiests weren't real Americans.

As for the book itself, I'm with LeslieB - I couldn't get through all of it, but I liked what I read. I love his website and have enjoyed his interviews on tv. He was on Bill Maher's show a couple of months ago. You can probably find it on YouTube.
post #8 of 14
I totally disagree. I have had perfectly respectful conversations with atheists, sans name calling or being made fun of.

I think a good way to talk to religious people would be polite, honest "I just don't believe anything supernatural" and leave it at that.

But Richard Dawkins, who is trying to sell a book here, probably needs shock value.
post #9 of 14
I didn't say the conversations involve name calling or making fun of anything - on either side. But it has been my experience that religious people get defensive about their beliefs. I'm sure it perfectly natural.

And when asked, I just say "I don't believe in god" or "I'm an athiest" in a matter of fact way. I don't try to insult or demean anyone's beliefs. I don't always get that same courtesy back. As I said earlier, I try to avoid conversations about religion when I can. I can't see that there's much to be gained on either side. They are not going to change my (lack of) beliefs and I have no interest in trying to change anyone else's.
post #10 of 14
I don't know you personally so I was really referring to Richard Dawkins. He does make it a point to demean people.
post #11 of 14
I've read The God Delusion by Dawkins, God is Not Great by Hitchens and The End of Faith by Sam Harris.

I enjoyed the first two a lot... but I found that Harris's book left a bitter taste in my mouth. I found his viewing religious groups as monolithic wholes while ignoring socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, national and locational issues quite intellectually dishonest.

I have also watched Dawkin's documentary The Root of All Evil which I found to be quite interesting. Not too sure of his use of individuals who came across as 'extreme' or 'nuts' exactly balanced representation, but I think that he did make a lot of valid points during the film.

Peace
post #12 of 14
I feel that he is representing a more aggressive atheism. IMO it's past time someone took a stand. Although the number of atheists and agnostics keep rising (and it's practically an epidemic among the highly educated) there is still a lot of discrimation against us, at least in America. On the flip side there are an ever-increasing number of extremely aggressive religious groups that make it a purpose of their faith to recruit followers. Plus there's now talk of a world coflict between those two superpowers: Christianity and Islam. For me it's a positive thing that someone isn't afraid to stand up and say: 'Not only do I think what many people strongly believe in is ridiculous, I also believe it is harmful - and should stop.'

There are many different kinds of free-thinkers, but atheism is essentially a 'belief system'. The evagelists have Anne Coulter, etc - I personally find Dawkins comparitively completely inoffensive.

One point he makes in the book is that religion has rights and privileges no other issue ever could (besides perhaps the excessive PC concern for respect of others' culture). We are still, as a nation, mostly required to tiptoe around the concept. Understandably, perhaps, because many people are so insane when it comes to their faith, that a discussion with the wrong person could lead a screaming match, or even to death. I don't aspire to be intolerant; but I don't need to please everyone either. For me it's more important to have strong, informed opinions/beliefs than it is to never judge anyone (an impossible goal anyway).

I just don't believe anything is so sacred. If I think something is silly, I will give my honest opinion if asked. I'm not going to verbally attack someone, but if someone persists on talking about religion with me, I will share that I think the idea of an omnipotent god, an afterlife, souls, devils, demons, a spirit world, ghosts, or any kind of astrology is just that: utterly silly. And yes, I really do think people are deluded for believing in that stuff.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieB View Post
I attempted to read it, but I could not keep my eyes open. It was just a little too technical for me, I guess.
It's easier to get through as an audio book. I read/listened to it while walking each day.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogmom327 View Post
It's easier to get through as an audio book. I read/listened to it while walking each day.
Ooh, good idea -- that would be a much more productive use of my time on the treadmill than watching TV.
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