← No, but seriously, I am halfway through his latest book, The God Delusion, and I am finding it to be a positively exhilarating read.
And I use that word in its true meaning, not just in the sense of “exciting” but hmmm… animating!
Reading The God Delusion makes me feel happy.
Because it makes so much sense of things that have [traditionally] not made sense.
And things that make sense make me happy.
Many people, many readers, do not like Dawkins.
They feel that he is too scathing and barbed, and it’s true that he criticizes religion with all of the tact and gentleness and indecision of a barracuda.
He has absolutely no time for the hushed tones and unwarranted [← in his opinion] respect that religion, and religious “faith” is granted in our day.
And he pulls no punches. He is not unclear.
Right in the Preface, he sets forth his literary goal → “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.”
Hmmm… Dawkins is not exactly the kind of guest-speaker you want at your next Women’s Aglow meeting, that’s for sure.
Nor will he be seen spreading butter across muffins at the next Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship Breakfast anytime soon!
Admittedly, as little as three or four years ago, I myself [a former Christian minister] would have thought of Dawkins as somewhat of a Devil Incarnate. But, since I no longer even believe in a physical “Satan” per se, I have even less reason to believe that Dawkins is him.
Actually, I don’t even see what all of the fuss is about.
Can even one thinking person in the world today refute a page or paragraph of The God Delusion without resorting to the aid of subjectively held beliefs that have not a single shred of objectively-proven and/or scientifically verifiable evidence in their favor?
I think not.
Having said this though, I realize that objectively-proven and/or scientifically verifiable evidence, regarding religion, is not for everyone. For instance, it’s not for my mother, bless her soul. But it has become important for me, as an intellectual.
And apparently, it has become important to many people, as this book is still the #1 bestseller [at least in Canada] among non-fiction books today!
The chapter titles alone make me salivate like a Pavlovian dog:
-- Arguments For God’s Existence.
-- A Deeply Religious Non-Believer.
-- The Roots of Morality: Why Are We Good?
-- Why There Almost Certainly Is No God.
-- What’s Wrong With Religion? Why Be So Hostile?
A friend asked me why I bought Dawkins’s book in the first place.
I said, “Because it’s so shiny!”
Think about it!
Excellent marketing by Houghton Mifflin… they’ve employed all the tactics of the fish lure!
Shiny. Silver. Flashy. Plays tricks with the eye.
All other books look bland, when compared.
I picked the thing up, and at random, [if there is such a thing] turned to this Dawkinsian question → Why are scientists so cravenly respectful towards the ambitions of theologians, over questions that theologians are certainly no more qualified to answer than scientists themselves?
[I have a degree in Theology! It's on my wall, over there!...]
The hook sunk deep into my cheek, I was dragged to the cash register with the shiny book.
Dawkins has been summarily filleting me ever since!
So, to supplement my reading [and by the way, prior to this I read Christopher Hitchens’s new one, god Is Not Great… seems my heresy knows no bounds!]… as I was saying, to supplement my reading, I have looked to that greatest of modern-day resources…. Youtube.
I’ve watched umpteen video-clips of Dawkins in full flight!
But, I want to leave you with a link to one of these clips, one in which Dawkins [uncommonly] says only a few sentences. It is an excerpt from some sort of conference called Beyond Belief 2006.
Watch as the world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson politely perambulates around what he really wants to say to Dawkins…. watch as he takes a wildly circuitous route to his real question to Dawkins, which amounts to → “Richard, why do you have to be so nasty?”
When I first watched this clip, and it finally came ‘round to Dawkins offering his very brief rebuttal…. I spewed coffee from all three of my nostrils! ← [Don’t ask. Birth defect.]
I laughed out loud so vehemently, and so suddenly, that my cat Jack ran and hid under the bed.
I hope that the ever-effervescent Dawkins has a similar effect upon you, dear reader, even if you only have TWO nostrils! ← [Which deficiency, by the way, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am higher up on the evolutionary scale than you are, what with my extra one and all]!
Here is…. THE CLIP.