One of the best non-fiction book I've ever read. Actually, one of the best book I've ever read period. Dawkins is well-researched and has a good prose...moreOne of the best non-fiction book I've ever read. Actually, one of the best book I've ever read period. Dawkins is well-researched and has a good prose. He has a thorough analysis that is to the point, and although he is on a few occasions slightly speculative, he sets his argumentative boundaries very well and explains what he argues and what he supposes or tentatively explores for the sake of expanding the discussion to get a broader picture.
The point of the book is spelled out pretty early and is to give people who believe in God (or in the need of the supernatural / suprahuman to set their morals or give themselves purpose or hope) the tools to do away with this myth that was perpetuated through millennia for the wrong reasons.
His chapters, sub-divisions and thoughts are very well-structured and he starts by pointing out the undue respect people offer religion. This protective aura that anything remotely religious gets from people, the media, to the government and legislation. Why should religion get automatic respect?
He later makes an argument for the high probability that God does not actually exists, by first rebuking the classical 'proofs' of God and advancing the more robust hypothesis that there almost certainly is no God. He also reveals a few truths about the writing of the Bible and other religious books and picks apart the Bible in particular as Christians' supposed ultimate truth when it comes to advancing moral values and setting an example for the way to lead one's life. He argues that even devout religious people do not take their morals from the Holy book, because firstly, most of them have not actually read it, and that the ones that have or know more about its content pick and choice what is relevant to their lives with their own set of right and wrong morals. Why then pretend that the Bible or Word of God is the be-all end-all or should even be the basis of any moral system?
I was raised catholic, turned agnostic as a teenager and was heavily leaning towards atheist. I went to explore other religions, traveled, read and had many discussions to find answers. This book opened my eyes to things I had never before came across in the extend in which religion has been controlling many aspects of our private and common lives for centuries. It also puts light on what the real questions should be to have real answers to such treacherous territory and many people being misinformed while others have vested self-interest. His argument for the unlikelihood of God, if you can properly follow it without a clouded, pre-convinced judgment is very convincing. He does not only convince you, but he makes you ask yourself the right questions.
Even more reaching than this pretty crucial element of the book is his later analysis on what religious upbringing brings to our children as a society, namely that they are not allowed to think for themselves when it come to the 'word of God.' That they should lead their lives without ever questioning this aspect of their 'heritage.' He makes a case that children are not able to make such decisions early on in their lives and that it is actually a form of mental child abuse to indoctrinate them at an early age and label them as Jewish kid, Catholic girls or Muslim boy if they were never given the openness and opportunity to make up their own mind with the right unbiased information in the first place.
This book is not perfect in any way, yet if you had to judge it by the task it set itself out to do and the results and reflections he was able to raise, it far than exceeded what was intended. Hopefully this book will also make you see the hidden and not so hidden problems and dangers religion and faith has and continue to affect our human society in a subversive and supremacist way. One hopes that more people, like Dawkins will openly stand up against this chokehold of religion and liberate us from this calamity for the better good of all, like we progressively did slavery centuries ago and are still working on discrimination against sex, sexual orientation, culture, physical traits or attributes and child abuse! (less)
Incredible complex and profound writing where everything is a matter of perspective and character's proclivities take a life of their own in a very tr...moreIncredible complex and profound writing where everything is a matter of perspective and character's proclivities take a life of their own in a very truth-revealing analysis of human nature's peversity and ordinary coping mechanisms.(less)
Why do we want to be immortal and how can we achieve this? What is the difference between the big and the small immortality? What if we prefer to oppo...moreWhy do we want to be immortal and how can we achieve this? What is the difference between the big and the small immortality? What if we prefer to oppositely slowly erase ourselves to make sure we will not be remembered? These are only a handful of themes that this novel delves into. From his perspective as an author and by contrasting imaginary and historical characters, Kundera created a universe of whining roads with unexpected sights at every turn. Symbolic and full of signs like the one from an old lady in the swimming pool that seems unique but is not and is used by Agnes and then copied by her sister Laura and finally by Laura's husband. This gesture is simple and epic, odd, playful and beautiful, and means different things for different people and at different time and places.
All the intricasies and subtleties of the novel substantiate the metaphores for life that are exposed and transposed. Part 3 & 6 are the most poignant & potent and explore the fleshed out characters of Agnes, Laura, Paul, Bernard and Rubens. The latter which has sexual and romantic phases in his life not unlike the motion of the hands on a clock. Such details,understanding and ability to convey the essential of his characters, their and his ideas make for a involved read. It is a story that continues to give after it is done. Also, many passages can be re-read with no less (perhaps more) delight than the first time around.
Quite enjoyed the different Daxes and their individual perspectives. Very interesting to have one lifetime consisting of many lifetimes. One of my fav...moreQuite enjoyed the different Daxes and their individual perspectives. Very interesting to have one lifetime consisting of many lifetimes. One of my favourite Trek character and well portrayed in this short stories novel that fit her presumably disjointed, yet surprinsingly coherent and wise personality.
Here is my breakdown by story:
Second star to the right and straight on ‘till morning (Judith Reeves-Stevens & Garfield Reeves-Stevens) 8/10 First Steps (Kristine Kathryn Rusch) 7/10 Dead Man’s Hand (Jeffrey Lang) 6/10 Old Souls (Michael Jan Friedman) 8/10 Sins of the Mother (S. D. Perry) 6/10 Infinity (Susan Wright) 8/10 Allegro Ouroboros in D minor (S. D. Perry & Robert Simpson) 9/10 The Music Between the Notes (Steven Barnes) 10/10 Reflections (L.A. Graf) 8/10 (less)
Good short stories that make you travel to some of the most exotic places, by the most exotic means and for the most exotic reasons. Adventure, humour...moreGood short stories that make you travel to some of the most exotic places, by the most exotic means and for the most exotic reasons. Adventure, humour, love and lots of contemplation. Best stories are:
Meeting Echo (Danny Wallace) The Finest Cake in Sri Lanka (Conor Greenan) On the Trail (Karl Taro Greenfield) Pol Pot's Toilet (Christopher R Cox) Debauched in Valdai (Alex Sheshunoff) Primavera (Art Busse)
Yet, you will find plenty of perky tales among the thirty themed stories. Many 3 and 4 stars out of 5 with only one or two real missfire. Enjoy!(less)