When the God Delusion landed in 2006 it caused quite the storm. Mayhem, in fact, but Richard Dawkin’s magnificent book set out to challenge what he considers anachronistic views. We’re in an era of abundant scientific discovery and evidence which has led us to understand the Universe a great deal more through physics and whatnot, and the provocatively titled God Delusion makes the statement it’s time to move on from simply accepting an omnipotent being as the creator of everything.
It probably won’t be surprising for regular readers to learn we’re terrifying, immoral atheists, but we approach our lives with the old existential adage of: lead a thoroughly moral life, as you’re a free agent and you’re here only once. Thusly, we don’t tend to engage anyone in their religious beliefs (unless it’s something utterly insane) – whatever makes you happy in this big, scary world, but be open minded and consider where we are here in 2017.
The God Delusion
Dawkins was aware he was about to upset numerous religious communities with this one, but the scientific community welcomed it as a timely work. Now, if you tell someone a central belief in their life is utter nonsense, they will probably get a bit angry. The God Delusion isn’t about cheap shots and basic heresy, though; Dawkins, an esteemed evolutionary biologist, makes an impassioned and highly intelligent challenge against religion in the name of reason and science.
As you’d expect, the book makes the claim a supernatural creator is an extreme improbability given the advances in human understanding of the world. As such, believing in what has been dubbed a “personal god” is delusional behaviour due to the overriding lack of evidence.
An old argument is also challenged, that religion maintains moral standards and provides humanity with a sensible structure. Dawkins attests the peculiar inconsistencies and, indeed, psychotic violence in many areas of the Bible, and how morality doesn’t exist due to religion. Of course, in this extensive book, there’s a lot more going on, but these are the basic arguments put forward. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s a compelling book and the use of humour and Dawkin’s relentless intelligence make it a modern classic.
It didn’t sway everyone, of course, and Dawkins has since received an outpouring of hate, and intellectual debate, in equal measure. The response from Christian theologian Alister McGrath, for instance, was to pen the Dawkins Delusion?. Written from a Christian perspective, it takes on the arguments laid out in the God Delusion. Clearly, there’s a lot of debate to be had about being deluded.
Atheists: Probably Not Psychopaths
We’ve seen some confusion with atheism amongst the religious – apparently, those who don’t believe in god are unhinged psychopaths, and others believe a godless society would descend into anarchy. Somehow we think rigid social structures such as law enforcement, and the majority of peoples’ general desire to earn a living and enjoy a decent life, might ensure it would all stay on track.
Anyway, rest assured most atheists are half decent people who don’t want to see the world burn. Take us, for instance – we’ve only ever robbed five banks, caused several riots, and been arrested 17 times. Whatever way you look at it, this is an amazing record, and from our perspective, the best way for humanity to get along is to apply a degree of tolerance to proceedings. Obviously, it won’t happen – it’s just too difficult for some. But you try your darned best, you hear?