Category: Books

Accentuate the positive

Book Reading, ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins.
Institute of Education, London, 9 October 2006

Last week my partner Marion and I attended this reading organised by Foyle’s at the Institute of Education in Bloomsbury. The Logan Hall seats almost a thousand and the venue was sold out, with many disappointed non-ticket holders turned away.

The event followed a format that Dawkins has used before. He and Lalla Ward, his wife, take turns to read out sections of the book, and after three quarters of an hour or so Lalla leaves the podium and Professor Dawkins invites questions. They are a good ‘double-act’ and the rhythm and juxtaposition of the selected text strongly reinforces the Dawkinian message.

We were both surprised when Mr Foyle, who introduced the evening, asked those sitting in the auditorium to declare their attitude to God. However, it was interesting to note that from this initial show of hands there were very few believers or agnostics in the audience. I’d guess 90% voted ‘definitely no God’ so this really was a case of preaching to the converted. If you feel such an evangelical phrase inappropriate here, Dawkins has said he wants his book to persuade wavering creationists to abandon ‘The Almighty’!

Sam Harris on nasty Christians

Since the publication of my first book, The End of Faith, I have received thousands of letters and e-mails from religious believers insisting that I am wrong not to believe in God. Invariably, the most unpleasant of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally believe that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. Please accept this for what it is: the testimony of a man who is in a position to observe how people behave when their faith is challenged. Many who claim to have been transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While you may ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that the hatred these people feel comes directly from the Bible. How do I know this? Because the most deranged of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.

Link: Council for Secular Humanism

BBC Newsnight on ‘The God Delusion’

In The God Delusion, the scientist Richard Dawkins sets out to attack God “in all his forms”.
He argues that the rise of religious fundamentalism is dividing people around the world, while the dispute between “intelligent design” and Darwinism “is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science”.

Link: BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight Home | The God Delusion

See a forum discussion about the book on this site.