Title: The God Delusion
Author: Richard Dawkins
Page Count/Review Word Count: 463
I’ve read a few of Dawkins’ books, but The God Delusion is his magnum opus – here, Dawkins rigorously and methodically lists each of the reasons he’s aware of that are given for the belief in a god, from the argument that religion is the basis of morality to the belief that ‘that’s why they call it faith‘. I won’t go in to Dawkins’ specific explanations here because I won’t be able to explain them as simply as he does, but trust me – they’re convincing.
I suppose that now’s the time to declare that I’m an atheist – however, Dawkins tries not to hammer his own opinions home and so I’m trying to follow suit. Instead, he outlines the arguments that have been put forth to him and responds calmly and respectfully with his take on the situation. The reader is left to draw his or her own conclusions, and that’s always a positive sign in a book like this.
In fact, I’m under the impression that Dawkins saw his core audience as neither religious fundamentalists nor atheists, but rather the agnostics who are so far undecided as to what, if anything, is out there. Those are the easiest wins, the people who are still in the middle of the war of opposites which has been a hot topic of debate for centuries.
To me, personally, it all made sense – I wholeheartedly agreed with Dawkins throughout 95% of the book, and I only disagreed with 5% because I didn’t really understand it. For a book that you’d expect to be heavy-going, it’s pretty easy on the eyes and the brain and it’s not out of reach for a layman like myself. This is not The Origin of Species, which is incredibly difficult to understand – this is more like a crash course in skepticism for dummies.
Let me repeat: This is not a case of Dawkins trying to talk you round to his point of view, or of him trying to brainwash you in to becoming some sort of Zombie follower of the cult of atheism. No – he simply outlines both sides of the argument and invites you to arrive at your own conclusions. Of course, the hope is that you agree with him, but if you don’t then you don’t.
I, for one, applaud his efforts at trying to expand the consciousness of the world – in my view, if he causes just one person, whether they’re a believer, an atheist or an agnostic, to look at the world in a different light and to let their inquisitiveness do the work for them, he’s done his job. A noble mission, and Dawkins has done his mission justice.