I am not an atheist, but neither am I a 'true believer'. I border more on 'agnostic', that is to say I believe there is some force beyond this Earth a...moreI am not an atheist, but neither am I a 'true believer'. I border more on 'agnostic', that is to say I believe there is some force beyond this Earth and that I don't know what it is, but I don't subscribe to any particular set of beliefs, per se.
Until I come across books like this one. Then, I get an irrational urge to defend spiritual beliefs (but not religion, and that's another discussion).
What I mean is, I am generally docile and private about my spirituality and my beliefs until someone goes out of their way to make inflammatory comments designed to browbeat me into supporting a point of view. That is true for prosthelytizing believers of any religion, as well.
(No one ever persuaded me to become a Christian by telling me I was going to Hell if I didn't.)
But Dawkins manages the atheists' equivalent, and its my main quibble with atheists and their arguments. It's all condescension and ridicule, moral superiority and incredulity. Followers of Dawkins' mantra are the evangelicals they despise without the religion. Its quite entertaining to watch a conversation between these two groups devolve, but very rarely is any substantive progress made in making one group better understand the other. And I believe we will need that reconciliation, as a society, sooner than later.
Which is what annoys me about this book. It's well written, and somewhat well-argued (though Dawkins does engage in some sophistry, but not as bad as Sam Harris did in his book), but the tone of it is all wrong. He clearly isn't trying too hard to engage the people he should be, in favor of those who already believe or are sympathetic to his views.
Because of that, I consider this book largely a masturbatory enterprise and not something that seeks to seriously put forth real arguments, or to promote understanding. It merely serves as a platform for Dawkins to illustrate his views.