Book Review: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

  If you are a fundamentalist Christian, do not read this book unless you are open to the possibility that you could be mistaken.

 

If you detest science's shaping of our modern culture to illuminate human behavior, avoid this book at all costs.

 

If you are unwilling to think critically against religious peer pressure, I advise you not upset your happy Christian life with these torrential critiques of your belief system.

 

Picking up the audio version of The God Delusion, prominent on nearly every atheist's bookshelf, I was immediately intrigued by the introduction.  Being reared in a dogmatic religious cult, my mind was shaped to believe in God and the unequivocal Truth in the Bible.  After all, God was the Creator, Omniscient, Omnipresent force NOT to be tempted.  I thoroughly ascribed to the Bible verse, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."  Why would I ever want to be deemed a fool?

 

As many agnostics and atheists (from religious backgrounds) attest, their search for truth began years prior to their declaration as a bonified religious dissident.  Love him or hate him, Dawkins has illuminated the path to atheism since his own deconversion several years ago.  He has utilized his scientific background coupled with intellect to challenge proponents of religion from various professions and backgrounds.

 

The God Delusion is his classical criticism of religion based upon scientific evidence and liberated freethinking.  He unabashedly attacks religion without paying it undue elevated status so prevalent in modern society.  Putting belief systems - specifically Christianity - to the test, he proceeds to answer a number of questions proposed by theologians worldwide.  He makes no apologies for his cursory disdain of religion.  Instead, he takes both the offensive position criticizing the God Hypothesis and a defensive stance on the necessity of God as the source of morality.

 

The Four Main Points of the Book (according to Wikipedia):

 

  1. Atheists can be happy, balanced, moral, and intellectually fulfilled.
  2. Natural selection and similar scientific theories are superior to a ‘God hypothesis’ —the illusion of intelligent design— in explaining the living world and the cosmos.
  3. Children should not be labelled by their parents' religion. Terms like "Catholic child" or ‘Muslim child’ should make people cringe.
  4. Atheists should be proud, not apologetic, because atheism is evidence of a healthy, independent mind.”

 

While listening to this book in spurts of ten minutes here and two hours there over the course of a few weeks, I was able to process the information he provided at a digestible rate.  From my fundamental, evangelical Christian upbringing, I found dormant beliefs rising to refute his accusations but falling flat upon the evidence and intellectual arguments.   As an atheist birthed from insidious indoctrination, I noticed my prior disgust for Dawkins morph into esteem for a cerebral scientist and freethinker.  The God Delusion emotes his right-brained unshackled feelings while tempering itself with his left-brained requirement for proof.