Read Recently — February 2008 — God’s Pitbull

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

The way people talk about this book — and indeed, about Dawkins himself — I was expecting a much different book, written by a much different man. Something mean-spirited, say. Vicious. Something by an attack dog. Actually, Dawkins is pretty soft-spoken, though not prone to pulling his punches. He is no fan of religion, but he isn’t given to gratuitous insults at people. If he insults someone, he gives a full reason for it. He speaks fondly of his old school’s chaplain, for example, but is bothered by Sir Iqbal Sacranie (described as “Britain’s leading ‘moderate’ Muslim”), who condemned Salman Rushdie, and had issues around the more recent Danish cartoon kafuffle.

Really, there’s not much here that would influence the committed believer, but then, nothing much will; that’s the point of being a committed believer. But one of Dawkins’ professed aims is consciousness-raising (a term he respectfully borrows from Feminism), for atheists, agnostics and for those wobbling on the edge of disbelief. For them, this is a useful book and recommended.

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