I’m considering reading The God Delusion…
…but I’m not quite sure if I will understand it, admittedly. I guess my main question is: Is the writing style and vocabulary something that I would find trouble understanding? For example, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi was a little complicated for me to understand.
Also, my parents are religious (Christian) and I would appreciate if anyone could tell me or recommend books like The God Delusion, preferably ones that do not imply atheism in the title.
My parents are ministers so I can attest. If you’re in college, I’d recommend amazoning the God Delusion, and God is not Great and reading it there. As for other titles that are atheistic, but not in title, I’d recommend:
- The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris
- A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss
- The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
- Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett
Edit: And I haven’t read the God Delusion, but the Greatest Show on Earth was an easy read vocabulary wise, and I would imagine Dawkins would use the same vernacular. Dennett is probably the hardest to read, Krauss being second hardest.
The God Delusion is one of my favorite books! I find Dawkins writing to be very readable.. especially this book! Personally for me, I just went down to my local book store and bought a copy.. my father is a pastor so I keep behind my other books on the shelf :P Anyways, if you really are interested go down to your local library and check it out.. or if you’re really desperate just download a PDF online :) Happy reading!
Buy the Kindle edition on Amazon and read it on your computer/phone, if you don’t have a Kindle. It’s $6 and no one has to see you doing it.
It’s readable, and very worthwhile. That said, while I love science, I still kind of wanted to fall asleep every time Dawkins walked into one of his lengthy explications of the evolution of whatever species, because often there was a point where I think he’d forget his own point, so to speak. To paraphrase the man in his own book, he has a tendency to ride off on his pet steed Tangent. This stuff is pretty skippable, though, especially if you’re already in the choir, if you will.
The only thing that annoyed me in the book (and I am in the choir) was that he has a sort of…not flippant, but almost, attitude toward the problem of molestation within the Church. He doesn’t say it isn’t a problem, it is true that it is a bit beside his point, but even in setting it aside, he could do a whole lot better. Doesn’t come off well. It’s brief, though, only about a page and a half in a later chapter.
If I may highlight some things:
- Chapters 3 and 4 are pretty dense, but they form a good guide for understanding the arguments for the existence of a deity, and the flaws in those arguments. Don’t be afraid of these chapters, do read them, with Wikipeida (yes, I know, but we’re talking the basics here) nearby if you need it.
- Chapter 6 is excellent for atheists who are often faced with explaining to people how they form sound moral judgement without the guide of religion.
- Chapter 7 is hilarious, and is where the book gets particularly good, all the way through to the end — these are the parts about specific passages in the Bible, deconstruction of various religious texts, religious hypocrisy, a liberal religious person’s penchant for cherrypicking what parts of the Bible they interpret literally and which they interpret metaphorically, and the issue of raising children. Even if you’re too young to have children, or don’t want them, that part may cast light on your upbringing or your friends’, depending on your experiences.
No, Dawkins is not a fluffy friendly atheist, and really, the movement needs that kind of people at times, to keep the rest of us who tend to be more accomodating in line. I don’t have to agree with him wholesale, or even at all, to find what he says valuable.