I have just finished reading Richard Dawkins best-seller, “The God Delusion.” Even if you are a God-fearing or God-loving person, it will make you think and is also very entertaining. If you are a believer and are afraid to read it then obviously it doesn’t say much about your confidence in your own belief system.
Herewith is a summary of some of the main points:
1. At the outset he summarizes every argument that has been given historically to account for God, and demolishes each one of them. But he admits the possibility of some mystery: “An atheist… is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence …except in the sense of natural phenomena that we do not yet understand” (p. 35).
2. A test was done of the efficacy of prayer. Three churches in different parts of the US were chosen and they prayed for different individuals in hospitals in different places. There was no difference in the outcome for those patients who were prayed for and those who were not (p. 87). The explanation of the extremely devout was that God did this deliberately to confound the skeptics.
3. “Why is God considered an explanation for anything? …If someone credits something to God, generally it means they haven’t a clue, so they’re attributing it to an unreachable, unknowable sky-fairy” (p. 161).
4. He quotes “The charge of the light brigade” by Alfred Tennyson as an example of religious othodoxy “there’s not to reason why, their’s but to do and die…” (p. 204)
5. He discusses “memes” that are in some ways analogous to genes (p. 222). Genes are physical pieces of DNA that cause biological heredity, while memes are inherited societal practices, such as knowledge (skills) and belief systems (religions), passed down from one generation to the next.
6. He argues that, “we do not need God to be good or evil” (p. 258). There are plenty of examples to support this.
7. Calls to respect “others” in religions generally refer only to those of the same faith – not of other faiths (p. 297).
8. He quotes Seneca the Younger (Roman Senator), “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful” (p.313).
9. Religion fulfils four main roles in human life: explanation, exhortation, consolation and inspiration. He considers each of these and concludes that none of them really needs to invoke God (p. 389).
10. He compares the child’s need for an imaginary friend (a “Binker”) with the adult need to invoke God (p.389), and concludes that these beliefs arise from similar psychological origins.
(page nos. are from the paperback edition, published by “Black Swan.”)
There is much more in this book, and I agree with most of it. But, if you don’t agree with any of the above, don’t write to me, read the book and then write to the author or if that doesn’t satisfy you write to God and complain.