I am reading a lot of books about the negative effect of religion these days. I started out with no intention to read any of them, but first tackled Sam Harris’ The End of Faith because an online discussion was just too interesting not to participate. I found the Harris book an eye opener. The number one idea I took away from it was that it doesn’t make sense to exempt religious ideas from any sort of logical argument. Our culture tacitly agrees that anyone can believe anything they want and the result is often that once someone interjects a religious sentiment into the argument or discussion, the debaters silently slink off, whether they agree or not, on the theory that the person is “entitled to his belief”. Believe it or not it had not occurred to me that that practice was not exactly correct. It was tolerant and humane. Harris convinced me it was also dangerous. I think he also convinced me that religion was dangerous when it was “moderate”. Then I read Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy which was notable primarily for the statistics on the numbers of Americans who believe literally in the Bible and the growth of fundamentalist believers and churches—at the expense of the mainline protestant denominations like the one I was raised in. In the interim I read several articles and speeches such as the one by Bill Moyers on why Christians in thrall to The Rapture don’t care about conservation because they expect the world to end soon anyway. (I see he’s even published a short book on the subject called Welcome to Doomsday). The God Delusion is my third read on this topic in less than a year, despite the fact that I would not say that religion is one of my priority topics.
I must say that while my response to Dawkins’ book was a series of "buts", in all honesty I must stay that he had anticipated my responses and gave answers that satisfied me. Which is not the same thing as saying I loved the book.
In "The God Delusion", Richard Dawkins is witty, poignant, and inspiring. I have listened to most of it in a very short amount of time because I have a hard time putting it down. If you're looking for proof that belief in a personal God is irrational or an explanation to why so many people believe in God, this book will do the job. Dawkins' book is thought provoking, eye opening, and enjoyable to listen to. I'd love to see more of his books (and books like it) on this site. It is now one of my favorites.
I think this is a great book. I'm sorry it took me so long to come across it. I've been atheist for a long time, now I no longer feel ashamed to say so. (It's a good thing I'm not a politician, that would be the end of my career.)
This is a good scientific based analysis and presentation of religion as an evolved human adaptation or behavior, and the idea of religion as a meme - a replicating and evolving component of our environment that uses humans as a vector for reproduction. Think of the cold virus.
This is an engaging and enjoyable book that makes a strong case for abandoning the wishful thinking of religious belief and embracing reality to the best of our ability. I found it bracing and thought-provoking.
The two-reader format was bit distracting. At first I thought the female voice (Lalla Ward) was reading only quoted passages, while Dawkins was reading the bulk of the text. However, it turns out that the readers change apparently at random intervals. Ward, though a clear reader, often took a somewhat disdainful tone that wasn't so apparent in Dawkins's voice. However, this is a minor niggle that did not detract much from my overall enjoyment of the book.
Looking back on my own conversion to atheism and how difficult it was to abandon my religious upbringing, I hope this book will make the struggle easier for those who are just starting down that path. The book makes clear the fact that, by opening our eyes to reality, we see a universe much more awe-inspiring than what is allowed by religious mythology.
I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
I came away from this book convinced of two things: that Dawkins is a skilled scientist who has serious reasons for the convictions he holds, and that Dawkins really, really likes the sound of his own voice. He makes, if you can look past his indulgent narration and his pretentious writing style, good arguments. Religion has long divided people unnecessarily, it has hampered scientific understanding, it has spread racism, and it has made people skeptical of greater understanding. He makes these arguments clearly and they are thought out. Of the most interest is his section on how religious apathy and moderation has its downsides as well - a concept I had never seriously considered.
That said, he comes across as holier-than-thou (pun intended) and intellectually snobbish. Narrating his own book only increases this perception. Adding a second narrator makes the book sound disjointed without adding any significant clarity to the storyline. I was not impressed by this book and saddened that, again, good messages oftentimes come through poor messengers.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
Great book! Very well researched, well nararrated, etc. I think even religious people will enjoy how clear and relevant Dawkins' arguments are.
Thought provoking cogent argument for Atheism over agnosticism
I'm not sure I agree with much of what Dawkins suggests but his is a compelling argument worth hearing.
The book is well written and it stimulates thought. That is what it is supposed to do whether you agree or not.
An avid reader, who also loves to listen.
I really liked this book and found it to be very interesting. Any book that refers to both Carl Sagan and George Carlin has got to be good!
If you start listening to this book and don't like the tone or the approach of Richard Dawkins, don't give up on it. While the first couple of chapters seem to have no purpose other than to bash religion, the book really takes off after this and he gets into a great thought provoking groove. He makes some great points about religion, in particular how we treat our children when it comes to religion. Even if you are believer, this books is worth listening to as it has the potential to open your mind to ideas you may not have considered before.
As an audible book, it is a very well read, sounds great and could get real funny at times.
This book should not be avoided by anyone. He raises important points and more importantly tries to raise consciousness - although I think he goes too far when he tries to explain the origin of religion by Natural selection. Also, his critisicm of some aspects of religion can best be desribed his own point of view. He brilliantly detsroys the dogmatic aspects of religion and the way people think about religion.
The book is out to convert you. In my case it did not but I learned a lot!