PDF | Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion challenges theology to take the method and mandate of science seriously (1 Cor ). His argument is based on. Richard Dawkins. BANTAM gullible people of their money ('God wants you to give till it . The Penguin English Dictionary defines a delusion as 'a false belief. T H E GOD DELUSION terrible and frightening label. Chapter 9 quotes the comedian Julia. Sweeney's tragi-comic story of her parents'.

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A Summary of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (), Bantam Press This short summary has omitted reference to Chapter 3 Arguments for God's. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The God Delusion Dawkins, Richard () Go to bellesetokmeo.ga _pdf and scroll. The God Delusion is a best-selling book by English biologist Richard Dawkins, .. "Response to Richard Dawkins' comments on my writings in his book The God Delusion" (PDF). Retrieved 10 March ^ McGrath, Alister ( ).

Consequently I hear myself often described as a deeply religious man.

An American student wrote to me that she had asked her professor whether he had a view about me. To me, that is religion! I don't think so. Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for him. One hears it said that 'God is the ultimate' or 'God is our better nature' or 'God is the universe.

If you want to say that 'God is energy,' then you can find God in a lump of coal. Weinberg is surely right that, if the word God is not to become completely useless, it should be used in the way people have generally understood it: Much unfortunate confusion is caused by failure to distinguish what can be called Einsteinian religion from supernatural religion.

Einstein sometimes invoked the name of God and he is not the only atheistic scientist to do so , inviting misunderstanding by supernaturalists eager to misunderstand and claim so illustrious a thinker as their own.

The dramatic or was it mischievous? It has led people to believe, mistakenly of course, that Hawking is a religious man. She loves churches, mosques and temples, and numerous passages in her book fairly beg to be taken out of context and used as ammunition for supernatural religion. She goes so far as to call herself a 'Religious Naturalist'. Yet a careful reading of her book shows that she is really as staunch an atheist as I am. For me it conjures my childhood hero, Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle who, by the way, had more than a touch of the 'philosopher' naturalist of HMS Beagle about him.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, naturalist meant what it still means for most of us today: Naturalists in this sense, from Gilbert White on, have often been clergymen. Darwin himself was destined for the Church as a young man, hoping that the leisurely life of a country parson would enable him to pursue his passion for beedes.

But philosophers use 'naturalist' in a very different sense, as the opposite of supernaturalist. Julian Baggini explains in Atheism: A Very Short Introduction the meaning of an atheist's commitment to naturalism: An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that oudasts the body and no miracles - except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don't yet understand.

If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfecdy understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural. As ever when we unweave a rainbow, it will not become less wonderful. Great scientists of our time who sound religious usually turn out not to be so when you examine their beliefs more deeply.

This is certainly true of Einstein and Hawking. He has no theistic beliefs, but shares the poetic naturalism that the cosmos provokes in the other scientists I have mentioned. In the course of a recendy televised conversation, I challenged my friend the obstetrician Robert Winston, a respected pillar of British Jewry, to admit that his Judaism was of exacdy this character and that he didn't really believe in anything supernatural.

He came close to admitting it but shied at the last fence to be fair, he was supposed to be interviewing me, not the other way around. Perhaps it does; but that, of course, has not the smallest bearing on the truth value of any of its supernatural claims.

There are many intellectual atheists who proudly call themselves Jews and observe Jewish rites, perhaps out of loyalty to an ancient tradition or to murdered relatives, but also because of a confused and confusing willingness to label as 'religion' the pantheistic reverence which many of us share with its most distinguished exponent, Albert Einstein.

They may not believe but, to borrow Dan Dennett's phrase, they 'believe in belief'. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Does it seem that Einstein contradicted himself? That his words can be cherry-picked for quotes to support both sides of an argument? By 'religion' Einstein meant something entirely different from what is conventionally meant.

As I continue to clarify the distinction between supernatural religion on the one hand and Einsteinian religion on the other, bear in mind that I am calling only supernatural gods delusional. Here are some more quotations from Einstein, to give a flavour of Einsteinian religion. I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.

This is a somewhat new kind of religion. I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic.

What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfecdy, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility.

This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive. In greater numbers since his death, religious apologists understandably try to claim Einstein as one of their own. Some of his religious contemporaries saw him very differentiy. In Einstein wrote a famous paper justifying his statement 'I do not believe in a personal God. The extracts that follow are taken from Max Jammer's book Einstein and Religion which is also my main source of quotations from Einstein himself on religious matters.

Einstein does not know what he is talking about. He is all wrong. Some men think that because they have achieved a high degree of learning in some field, they are qualified to express opinions in all. That clergyman presumably would not have deferred to the expertise of a claimed 'fairyologist' on the exact shape and colour of fairy wings. Both he and the bishop thought that Einstein, being theologically untrained, had misunderstood the nature of God. On the contrary, Einstein understood very well exacdy what he was denying.

An American Roman Catholic lawyer, working on behalf of an ecumenical coalition, wrote to Einstein: We deeply regret that you made your statement In the past ten years nothing has been so calculated to make people think that Hider had some reason to expel the Jews horn Germany as your statement.

Conceding your right to free speech, I still say that your statement constitutes you as one of the greatest sources of discord in America. A New York rabbi said: Why not 'and'? The president of a historical society in New Jersey wrote a letter that so damningly exposes the weakness of the religious mind, it is worth reading twice: We respect your learning, Dr Einstein; but there is one thing you do not seem to have learned: As everyone knows, religion is based on Faith, not knowledge.

Every thinking person, perhaps, is assailed at times with religious doubt. My own faith has wavered many a time. But I never told anyone of my spiritual aberrations for two reasons: I hope, Dr Einstein, that you were misquoted and that you will yet say something more pleasing to the vast number of the American people who delight to do you honor. What a devastatingly revealing letter!

Every sentence drips with intellectual and moral cowardice. Less abject but more shocking was the letter from the Founder of the Calvary Tabernacle Association in Oklahoma: Professor Einstein, I believe that every Christian in America will answer you, 'We will not give up our belief in our God and his son Jesus Christ, but we invite you, if you do not believe in the God of the people of this nation, to go back where you came from.

Professor Einstein, every Christian in America will immediately reply to you, 'Take your crazy, fallacious theory of evolution and go back to Germany where you came from, or stop trying to break down the faith of a people who gave you a welcome when you were forced to flee your native land. He was repeatedly indignant at the suggestion that he was a theist.

Or a pantheist, like Spinoza, whose philosophy he admired: Let's remind ourselves of the terminology. A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who, in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation.

In many theistic belief systems, the deity is intimately involved in human affairs. He answers prayers; forgives or punishes sins; intervenes in the world by performing miracles; frets about good and bad deeds, and knows when we do them or even think of doing them. A deist, too, believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place.

The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs. Pantheists don't believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a non- supernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings. Deists differ from theists in that their God does not answer prayers, is not interested in sins or confessions, does not read our thoughts and does not intervene with capricious miracles.

Deists differ from pantheists in that the deist God is some kind of cosmic intelligence, rather than the pantheist's metaphoric or poetic synonym for the laws of the universe. Pantheism is sexed-up atheism. Deism is watered-down theism. There is every reason to think that famous Einsteinisms like 'God is subde but he is not malicious' or 'He does not play dice' or 'Did God have a choice in creating the Universe?

So is Stephen Hawking, and so are most of those physicists who occasionally slip into the language of religious metaphor. Paul Davies's The Mind of God seems to hover somewhere between Einsteinian pantheism and an obscure form of deism - for which he was rewarded with the Templeton Prize a very large sum of money given annually by the Templeton Foundation, usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion.

Let me sum up Einsteinian religion in one more quotation from Einstein himself: In this sense I am religious. But I prefer not to call myself religious because it is misleading. It is destructively misleading because, for the vast majority of people, 'religion' implies 'supernatural'. Carl Sagan put it well: This God is emotionally unsatisfying Sheen, a professor at the Catholic University of America, as part of a fierce attack upon Einstein's disavowal of a personal God.

Dawkins god delusion epub

Sheen sarcastically asked whether anyone would be prepared to lay down his life for the Milky Way. He seemed to think he was making a point against Einstein, rather than for him, for he added: Nevertheless, I wish that physicists would refrain from using the word God in their special metaphorical sense. The metaphorical or pantheistic God of the physicists is light years away from the interventionist, miracle-wreaking, thought-reading, sin-punishing, prayer- answering God of the Bible, of priests, mullahs and rabbis, and of ordinary language.

Deliberately to confuse the two is, in my opinion, an act of intellectual high treason. That is why I needed to get Einsteinian religion out of the way to begin with: In the rest of this book I am talking only about supernatural gods, of which the most familiar to the majority of my readers will be Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. I shall come to him in a moment. But before leaving this preliminary chapter I need to deal with one more matter that would otherwise bedevil the whole book.

This time it is a matter of etiquette. It is possible that religious readers will be offended by what I have to say, and will find in these pages insufficient respect for their own particular beliefs if not the beliefs that others treasure.

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It would be a shame if such offence prevented them from reading on, so I want to sort it out here, at the outset. A widespread assumption, which nearly everybody in our society accepts - the non-religious included - is that religious faith is especially vulnerable to offence and should be protected by an abnormally thick wall of respect, in a different class from the respect that any human being should pay to any other.

Douglas Adams put it so well, in an impromptu speech made in Cambridge shordy before his death, 5 that I never tire of sharing his words: What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it.

But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'I respect that'. Why should it be that it's perfecdy legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows - but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe We are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it!

Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be. Here's a particular example of our society's overweening respect for religion, one that really matters. By far the easiest grounds for gaining conscientious objector status in wartime are religious.

You can be a brilliant moral philosopher with a prizewinning doctoral thesis expounding the evils of war, and still be given a hard time by a draft board evaluating your claim to be a conscientious objector.

Yet if you can say that one or both of your parents is a Quaker you sail through like a breeze, no matter how inarticulate and illiterate you may be on the theory of pacifism or, indeed, Quakerism itself. At the opposite end of the spectrum from pacifism, we have a pusillanimous reluctance to use religious names for warring factions. The very word 'religions' is bowdlerized to 'communities', as in 'intercommunity warfare'.

Iraq, as a consequence of the Anglo-American invasion of , degenerated into sectarian civil war between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Clearly a religious conflict - yet in the Independent of 20 May the front-page headline and first leading article both described it as 'ethnic cleansing'.

Richard Dawkins to give away copies of The God Delusion in Islamic countries

The original usage of 'ethnic cleansing' in the former Yugoslavia is also arguably a euphemism for religious cleansing, involving Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosnians. I'm not suggesting that we should go out of our way to censor the views of these people. But why does our society beat a path to their door, as though they had some expertise comparable to that of, say, a moral philosopher, a family lawyer or a doctor?

Here's another weird example of the privileging of religion. On 21 February the United States Supreme Court ruled that a church in New Mexico should be exempt from the law, which everybody else has to obey, against the taking of hallucinogenic drugs. Note that it is sufficient that they believe that the drug enhances their understanding. They do not have to produce evidence.

Conversely, there is plenty of evidence that cannabis eases the nausea and discomfort of cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy. Yet the Supreme Court ruled, in , that all patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes are vulnerable to federal prosecution even in the minority of states where such specialist use is legalized. Religion, as ever, is the trump card. Imagine members of an art appreciation society pleading in court that they 'believe' they need a hallucinogenic drug in order to enhance their understanding of Impressionist or Surrealist paintings.

Yet, when a church claims an equivalent need, it is backed by the highest court in the land. Such is the power of religion as a talisman. Seventeen years ago, I was one of thirty-six writers and artists commissioned by the magazine New Statesman to write in support of the distinguished author Salman Rushdie, 9 then under sentence of death for writing a novel. Incensed by the 'sympathy' for Muslim 'hurt' and 'offence' expressed by Christian leaders and even some secular opinion- formers, I drew the following parallel: If the advocates of apartheid had their wits about them they would claim - for all I know truthfully - that allowing mixed races is against their religion.

A good part of the opposition would respectfully tiptoe away. And it is no use claiming that this is an unfair parallel because apartheid has no rational justification. The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification. The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices. But ask a religious person to justify their faith and you infringe 'religious liberty'.

Little did I know that something pretty similar would come to pass in the twenty-first century. The Los Angeles Times 10 April reported that numerous Christian groups on campuses around the United States were suing their universities for enforcing anti-discrimination rules, including prohibitions against harassing or abusing homosexuals.

As a typical example, in James Nixon, a twelve-year-old boy in Ohio, won the right in court to wear a T-shirt to school bearing the words 'Homosexuality is a sin, Islam is a lie, abortion is murder.

Some issues are just black and white! TO The school told him not to wear the T-shirt - and the boy's parents sued the school. The parents might have had a conscionable case if they had based it on the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.

But they didn't: But hate only has to prove it is religious, and it no longer counts as hate. So, instead of freedom of speech, the Nixons' lawyers appealed to the constitutional right to freedom of religion. Their victorious lawsuit was supported by the Alliance Defense Fund of Arizona, whose business it is to 'press the legal batde for religious freedom'. The Reverend Rick Scarborough, supporting the wave of similar Christian lawsuits brought to establish religion as a legal justification for discrimination against homosexuals and other groups, has named it the civil rights struggle of the twenty-first century: But that isn't what it is about.

The legal case in favour of discrimination against homosexuals is being mounted as a counter-suit against alleged religious discrimination! And the law seems to respect this. You can't get away with saying, 'If you try to stop me from insulting homosexuals it violates my freedom of prejudice.

Yet again, religion trumps all. I'll end the chapter with a particular case study, which tellingly illuminates society's exaggerated respect for religion, over and above ordinary human respect. The case flared up in February - a ludicrous episode, which veered wildly between the extremes of comedy and tragedy. The previous September, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.

Over the next three months, indignation was carefully and systematically nurtured throughout the Islamic world by a small group of Muslims living in Denmark, led by two imams who had been granted sanctuary there. The dossier contained falsehoods about alleged maltreatment of Muslims in Denmark, and the tendentious lie that Jyllands-Posten was a government-run newspaper.

It also contained the twelve cartoons which, crucially, the imams had supplemented with three additional images whose origin was mysterious but which certainly had no connection with Denmark.

Unlike the original twelve, these three add-ons were genuinely offensive - or would have been if they had, as the zealous propagandists alleged, depicted Muhammad. A particularly damaging one of these three was not a cartoon at all but a faxed photograph of a bearded man wearing a fake pig's snout held on with elastic. It has subsequendy turned out that this was an Associated Press photograph of a Frenchman entered for a pig-squealing contest at a country fair in France.

But the Muslim activists, on their mischief- stirring hike to Cairo, implied all three connections. The carefully cultivated 'hurt' and 'offence' was brought to an explosive head five months after the twelve cartoons were originally published.

Demonstrators in Pakistan and Indonesia burned Danish flags where did they get them from? Apologize for what? They didn't draw the cartoons, or publish them. Danes just live in a country with a free press, something that people in many Islamic countries might have a hard time understanding.

Newspapers in Norway, Germany, France and even the United States but, conspicuously, not Britain reprinted the cartoons in gestures of solidarity with Jyllands-Posten, which added fuel to the flames. Embassies and consulates were trashed, Danish goods were boycotted, Danish citizens and, indeed, Westerners generally, were physically threatened; Christian churches in Pakistan, with no Danish or European connections at all, were burned.

Nine people were killed when Libyan rioters attacked and burned the Italian consulate in Benghazi. As Germaine Greer wrote, what these people really love and do best is pandemonium. In Nigeria, Muslim protesters against the Danish cartoons burned down several Christian churches, and used machetes to attack and kill black Nigerian Christians in the streets. One Christian was put inside a rubber tyre, doused with petrol and set alight. Demonstrators were photographed in Britain bearing banners saying 'Slay those who insult Islam', 'Butcher those who mock Islam', 'Europe you will pay: Demolition is on its way' and, apparendy without irony, 'Behead those who say Islam is a violent religion'.

Sacranie told Mueller how concerned he was about the Danish cartoons. Mueller was concerned too, but for a different reason: Islam and the west are fundamentally irreconcilable. Sacranie explained that 'The person of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is revered so profoundly in the Muslim world, with a love and affection that cannot be explained in words. It goes beyond your parents, your loved ones, your children. That is part of the faith. There is also an Islamic teaching that one does not depict the Prophet.

If people wish to love a 7th century preacher more than their own families, that's up to them, but nobody else is obliged to take it seriously. Except that if you don't take it seriously and accord it proper respect you are physically threatened, on a scale that no other religion has aspired to since the Middle Ages. One can't help wondering why such violence is necessary, given that, as Mueller notes: In the meantime, if you want to get excited about affronts to Muslims, read the Amnesty International reports on Syria and Saudi Arabia.

At a demonstration in Pakistan against the Danish cartoons, a woman in a black burka was photographed carrying a banner reading 'God Bless Hider'. In response to all this frenzied pandemonium, decent liberal newspapers deplored the violence and made token noises about free speech.

But at the same time they expressed 'respect' and 'sympathy' for the deep 'offence' and 'hurt' that Muslims had 'suffered'. The 'hurt' and 'suffering' consisted, remember, not in any person enduring violence or real pain of any kind: But I am intrigued and mystified by the disproportionate privileging of religion in our otherwise secular societies.

All politicians must get used to disrespectful cartoons of their faces, and nobody riots in their defence. What is so special about religion that we grant it such uniquely privileged respect?

Mencken said: I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gendy than I would handle anything else. Those of us schooled from infancy in his ways can become desensitized to their horror. A naif blessed with the perspective of innocence has a clearer perception.

Winston Churchill's son Randolph somehow contrived to remain ignorant of scripture until Evelyn Waugh and a brother officer, in a vain attempt to keep Churchill quiet when they were posted together during the war, bet him he couldn't read the entire Bible in a fortnight: The God Hypothesis should not stand or fall with its most unlovely instantiation, Yahweh, nor his insipidly opposite Christian face, 'Gentle Jesus meek and mild'.

To be fair, this milksop persona owes more to his Victorian followers than to Jesus himself. Could anything be more mawkishly nauseating than Mrs C. I am not attacking the particular qualities of Yahweh, or Jesus, or Allah, or any other specific god such as Baal, Zeus or Wotan.

Instead I shall define the God Hypothesis more defensibly: This book will advocate an alternative view: Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it. God, in the sense defined, is a delusion; and, as later chapters will show, a pernicious delusion. Not surprisingly, since it is founded on local traditions of private revelation rather than evidence, the God Hypothesis comes in many versions.

But it widely is - an assumption that provoked Ibn Warraq author of Why I Am Not a Muslim wittily to conjecture that monotheism is in its turn doomed to subtract one more god and become atheism The Catholic Encyclopedia dismisses polytheism and atheism in the same insouciant breath: Nor can polytheism, however easily it may take hold of the popular imagination, ever satisfy the mind of a philosopher. It was my ambition to persuade a member of Britain's respected Hindu community to come forward and bring a civil action to test this snobbish discrimination against polytheism Far better, of course, would be to abandon the promotion of religion altogether as grounds for charitable status.

The benefits of this to society would be great, especially in the United States, where the sums of tax-free money sucked in by churches, and polishing the heels of already well-heeled televangelists, reach levels that could fairly be described as obscene. Almost unbelievably, it worked. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased. His polytheism isn't really polytheism but monotheism in disguise.

There is only one God - Lord Brahma the creator, Lord Vishnu the preserver, Lord Shiva the destroyer, the goddesses Saraswati, Laxmi and Parvati wives of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva , Lord Ganesh the elephant god, and hundreds of others, all are just different manifestations or incarnations of the one God.

Christians should warm to such sophistry. Rivers of medieval ink, not to mention blood, have been squandered over the 'mystery' of the Trinity, and in suppressing deviations such as the Arian heresy.

Arius of Alexandria, in the fourth century ad, denied that Jesus was consubstantial i. What on earth could that possibly mean, you are probably asking? What 'substance'?

What exactly do you mean by 'essence'? Yet the controversy split Christendom down the middle for a century, and the Emperor Constantine ordered that all copies of Arius's book should be burned.

Splitting Christendom by splitting hairs - such has ever been the way of theology. Do we have one God in three parts, or three Gods in one? The Catholic Encyclopedia clears up the matter for us, in a masterpiece of theological close reasoning: In the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: Whatever miracles may have earned St Gregory his nickname, they were not miracles of honest lucidity.

His words convey the characteristically obscurantist flavour of theology, which - unlike science or most other branches of human scholarship - has not moved on in eighteen centuries. Thomas Jefferson, as so often, got it right when he said, 'Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.

Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. Perhaps it is the very fact that there is no evidence to support theological opinions, either way, that fosters the characteristic draconian hostility towards those of slightly different opinion, especially, as it happens, in this very field of Trinitarianism Jefferson heaped ridicule on the doctrine that, as he put it, 'There are three Gods', in his critique of Calvinism But it is especially the Roman Catholic branch of Christianity that pushes its recurrent flirtation with polytheism towards runaway inflation.

The Trinity is are? The pantheon is further swollen by an army of saints, whose intercessory power makes them, if not demigods, well worth approaching on their own specialist subjects. The Catholic Community Forum helpfully lists 5, saints, 18 together with their areas of expertise, which include abdominal pains, abuse victims, anorexia, arms dealers, blacksmiths, broken bones, bomb technicians and bowel disorders, to venture no further than the Bs.

And we mustn't forget the four Choirs of Angelic Hosts, arrayed in nine orders: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels heads of all hosts , and just plain old Angels, including our closest friends, the ever-watchful Guardian Angels. What impresses me about Catholic mythology is partly its tasteless kitsch but mostly the airy nonchalance with which these people make up the details as they go along.

It is just shamelessly invented. Pope John Paul II created more saints than all his predecessors of the past several centuries put together, and he had a special affinity with the Virgin Mary. His polytheistic hankerings were dramatically demonstrated in when he suffered an assassination attempt in Rome, and attributed his survival to intervention by Our Lady of Fatima: Others might think the team of surgeons who operated on him for six hours deserved at least a share of the credit; but perhaps their hands, too, were maternally guided.

The relevant point is that it wasn't just Our Lady who, in the Pope's opinion, guided the bullet, but specifically Our Lady of Fatima. How did the Greeks, the Romans and the Vikings cope with such polytheological conundrums?

Was Venus just another name for Aphrodite, or were they two distinct goddesses of love? Was Thor with his hammer a manifestation of Wotan, or a separate god? Who cares? Life is too short to bother with the distinction between one figment of the imagination and many.

Having gestured towards polytheism to cover myself against a charge of neglect, I shall say no more about it. For brevity I shall refer to all deities, whether poly- or monotheistic, as simply 'God'. I am also conscious that the Abrahamic God is to put it mildly aggressively male, and this too I shall accept as a convention in my use of pronouns.

More sophisticated theologians proclaim the sexlessness of God, while some feminist theologians seek to redress historic injustices by designating her female. But what, after all, is the difference between a non- existent female and a non-existent male? I suppose that, in the ditzily unreal intersection of theology and feminism, existence might indeed be a less salient attribute than gender. I am aware that critics of religion can be attacked for failing to credit the fertile diversity of traditions and world-views that have been called religious.

Read such books and marvel at the richness of human gullibility. But that is not the way of this book. I decry supernaturalism in all its forms, and the most effective way to proceed will be to concentrate on the form most likely to be familiar to my readers - the form that impinges most threateningly on all our societies.

Most of my readers will have been reared in one or another of today's three 'great' monotheistic religions four if you count Mormonism , all of which trace themselves back to the mythological patriarch Abraham, and it will be convenient to keep this family of traditions in mind throughout the rest of the book.

This is as good a moment as any to forestall an inevitable retort to the book, one that would otherwise - as sure as night follows day - turn up in a review: I don't believe in an old man in the sky with a long white beard. Indeed, the distraction is worse than irrelevant. Its very silliness is calculated to distract attention from the fact that what the speaker really believes is not a whole lot less silly. I know you don't believe in an old bearded man sitting on a cloud, so let's not waste any more time on that.

I am not attacking any particular version of God or gods.

I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented. They are, literally, patriarchal -God is the Omnipotent Father - hence the loathing of women for 2, years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. During the Roman occupation of Palestine, Christianity was founded by Paul of Tarsus as a less ruthlessly monotheistic sect of Judaism and a less exclusive one, which looked outwards from the Jews to the rest of the world.

Several centuries later, Muhammad and his followers reverted to the uncompromising monotheism of the Jewish original, but not its exclusiveness, and founded Islam upon a new holy book, the Koran or Qur'an, adding a powerful ideology of military conquest to spread the faith. Christianity, too, was spread by the sword, wielded first by Roman hands after the Emperor Constantine raised it from eccentric cult to official religion, then by the Crusaders, and later by the conquistadores and other European invaders and colonists, with missionary accompaniment.

For most of my purposes, all three Abrahamic religions can be treated as indistinguishable. Unless otherwise stated, I shall have Christianity mosdy in mind, but only because it is the version with which I happen to be most familiar.

For my purposes the differences matter less than the similarities. And I shall not be concerned at all with other religions such as Buddhism or Confucianism Indeed, there is something to be said for treating these not as religions at all but as ethical systems or philosophies of life. He turns this argument around by pointing out the billions of planets in the sample of the universe, making life statistically bound to happen somewhere.

Chapter 5: The Roots of Religion Dawkins explains religion as a by-product of some other evolutionary process. As an example, he cites the moth that is built to follow the light, but occasionally this causes one to burn in the candle flame. In the same way, Dawkins believes that tools for our own survival create religion as a by-product. This chapter concludes with probably the most abstract concept in the book: memes. While the mechanism to replicate is not yet understood, many believe this to be a system that religious thought gets passed on.

Dawkins argues in this chapter that because cultures around the world share general traits of moral behavior, this supports the claim of a common evolutionary source.

He concludes with an attack on religions stating that we only exhibit good behavior because a God is watching over us. Archived from the original PDF on 28 February The New York Times.

Retrieved 2 December Retrieved Archived from the original on 13 October Retrieved 14 September The Unholy Trinity Thank God". Atlantic Free Press. Archived from the original on 15 September The Observer. Retrieved 5 October But that is my whole point! We pick and choose which bits of scripture to believe, which bits to write off as symbols and allegories. Dawkins states preachers in the southern portions of the United States used the Bible to justify slavery by claiming Africans were descendants of Noah 's sinful son Ham.

During the Crusades , pagans and heretics who would not convert to Christianity were murdered. In an extreme example from modern times, he cites the case of Reverend Paul Hill , who revelled in his self-styled martyrdom: I am looking forward to glory," he announced as he faced execution for murdering a doctor who performed abortions in Florida, USA.

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He thought that Thomas's logic requires the universe to have had a temporal beginning, which Thomas explicitly and repeatedly made clear is not the case. He anachronistically mistook Thomas's argument from universal natural teleology for an argument from apparent 'Intelligent Design' in nature.

He thought Thomas's proof from universal 'motion' concerned only physical movement in space, 'local motion,' rather than the ontological movement from potency to act. He mistook Thomas's argument from degrees of transcendental perfection for an argument from degrees of quantitative magnitude, which by definition have no perfect sum.

Admittedly, those last two are a bit difficult for modern persons, but he might have asked all the same. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 May Retrieved 26 May Radio 3, Hong Kong. Houghton Mifflin Co. Science 3 ". Retrieved 3 April The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March Free Inquiry magazine.

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Archived from the original on 4 April You know, there were muslims and Jews at the theatre, as I said, sitting side by side, with certain jokes only clear to one or the other. I spoke to Prof Dawkins, several years ago, at a book signing for The God Delusion in London, and asked him if he would allow me to translate his book into Arabic.

A Muslim believes homosexuality is an abomination and women are inferior to men; a Muslim does not believe in evolution but does believe in flying horses; a Muslim believes in jihad and the establishment of a universal caliphate.

We are dealing with misogynists, homophobes and control freak fascists who have no problem with advancing their own agenda through violent means. Richard Dawkins and Herb Silverman identify as cultural Christian and atheist Jew with full knowledge of the horrors which have been and continue to be committed in the name of these religions.

Richard is happy to identify as a cultural Christian. Was Galileo Galilei known for presenting his ideas in a particularly sarcastic way?