Darrell's Reviews > The God Delusion

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
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's review
Aug 25, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed

Dawkins starts out by citing a recent statistic that shows atheists are the most discriminated against group today. Declaring yourself an atheist in America is political suicide. George Bush the elder once said atheists shouldn't even be considered citizens. People have lost their jobs, lost their spouses, and one man even lost his life simply for being an atheist. Afraid of losing their friends and having family members turn against them, there are many atheists who are afraid to "come out of the closet" about their atheism and continue going to church in fear of being found out. Other atheists keep their lack of believe under wraps so they won't be considered arrogant.

Dawkins tells us that, like homosexuals, atheists should have pride in themselves instead of being ashamed. Dawkins also notes that there are more atheists in America than Jews, and yet Jews have tremendous political clout while atheists have none. (If you doubt this consider the amount of money the US sends to Israel.)

Dawkins makes the case for atheism by systematically tearing apart all arguments against it. He demonstrates that all the so-called proofs of God's existence don't really prove anything and counters with his own proof that God almost certainly doesn't exist (he stops short of saying God definitely doesn't exist). He also points out that everybody is an atheist in some sense. Even the most religious people in the world don't believe in Zeus or Thor. Any argument that can be used to convince someone to believe in God can be equally applied to Greek or Egyptian gods, yet this doesn't convince any Christian to convert to the worship of Osiris.

He covers a lot of the same ground Sam Harris did in Letter To A Christian Nation, and in fact quotes from Harris quite a bit. However, since Richard Dawkins is a biologist, he goes on to explain how religion is a by-product of Darwinian natural selection and explains it using evolutionary psychology.

To those who say atheists have no sense of right and wrong, he brings up examples from nature showing that evolution instills a sense of altruism into animals. If animals can be kind to each other without religion, why should humans require it? Besides, the morals taught in the Bible (such as putting a child to death if he disobeys his parents, or putting a man to death for gathering firewood on the Sabbath) are not the morals we live by today. Christians don't believe in Biblical morality any more than atheists do. Our own internal sense of right and wrong derived from evolution is what really guides us, not an allegedly "good book" which encourages genocide (Joshua 6:21 among others).

Dawkins destroys the current myth that the founding fathers of America were Christian with several quotes from our founding fathers in which they warn us of the dangers of Christianity and insist that America is not a Christian nation. He also destroys the myth of Hitler being an atheist with quotes from Hitler showing rather definitively he considered himself a Catholic and crusaded against the Jews because he blamed them for Jesus’ death. It's interesting to note that the Pope at the time repeatedly refused to denounce Nazism.

The wonders of science are so fascinating that we don't need religion to instill a sense of wonder or awe into our lives. In fact, as hardly needs pointing out, religion can be a danger from people who kill doctors for performing abortions to suicide bombers. George Bush the younger said he invaded Iraq because God told him to. Taking God away won't automatically make everybody good, but it certainly won't make everybody turn evil either, and in fact, it will likely improve the stability and overall morality of society.

This book will make atheists proud to be atheist and maybe even convince some to "come out of the closet."
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Reading Progress

August 25, 2007 – Shelved
Started Reading
January 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
March 13, 2008 – Shelved as: reviewed

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by M0rfeus (new)

M0rfeus "One man" lost his life for being an atheist?

Care to compare that with the hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of Christian martyrs over the last two millenia?

It seems to me that atheists are celebrated by the elites of modern American society; Christians it seems to me are far more discriminated against.


Katie Mcsweeney Regarding the fact that atheism seems to be quite often social suicide in the US; perhaps the issue is more with society and the agression produced by people who disagree?

Nancy This book has helped me feel free to admit to being an atheist, at least in some situations. It is nice to know I am not alone. Atheism is generally a pretty solitary belief. There is no reason to go to meetings and no reward in heaven for getting converts. There is a big social downside in the US if you admit to being an atheist.

message 4: by Roldan (new) - added it


Nancy To #4 I see myself as more of a cat than a sheep so I don't miss having a herder.

message 6: by Roldan (new) - added it

Roldan Navarrete (:

message 7: by Traveller (last edited Jan 06, 2012 10:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Traveller M0rfeus wrote: ""One man" lost his life for being an atheist?

Care to compare that with the hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of Christian martyrs over the last two millenia?

It seems to me that atheists are c..."

Um, I beg your pardon? ..and who killed these millions? I'm not exactly sure who you refer to, but I can guarantee you that any "Christian martyrs" who were killed in the last two millenia would have been killed by people of other religions, or by other Christians who saw them as heretics. ;)

Daniel Leavitt So you gave this 5 stars just because you simply agree with it?

Darrell In response to Daniel: If you hover over the stars with your mouse, it will tell you what each rating means.

one star = did not like it
two stars = it was ok
three stars = liked it
four stars = really liked it
five stars = it was amazing

Hope this helps.

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