Saturday, November 17, 2007


There has been a slew of books advocating atheism recently. I decided to try reading as many of them as possible.

Top of the heap is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I read one of his other masterworks The Selfish Gene a few years ago, and found for the first time I really understood evolution. It's his credentials as a scientist which make his arguments so elegant. He can be funny, sarcastic or angry when it's called for. He also expresses praise, admiration and wonderment for the natural world and the works of humanity which deserve it.

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris is a very attractive little hardcover book. To me it felt like a classy version of the little pamphlets printed by the Rationalist Society of New South Wales, which I used to buy when I was a rebellious Catholic school boy in the 1970s. Harris seems to have put a lot of love into this book. It is beautifully written, and although it is aimed at an American audience, it's a good read anywhere in the world.

God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens was an arse-kicker of a book. Every now and then I found myself roused by polemic and invective like this. Hitchens doesn't like religion and he says so without fear of offending any over-sensitive souls. Refreshingly, he takes aim at non-Christian faiths as well, such as Hinduism and Islam. I found by the end of the book I had had my fill of his contrarianism, but not before he had served up memorable arguments, facts and anecdotes.

I'm now reading another of Sam Harris's books The End of Faith. I have Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett on the shelf, and The Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfrey is also beckoning me at Gleebooks, the quality shop down the road.

Is there a limit to how many words can be written about this subject? I think there is a never-ending quest for the perfect, convincing, concise argument which will lift the delusional veil of superstition and indoctrination in minutes. I call it the Credo Revinco, which is probably bad latin for I believe I refute. I jot down my own Credos from time to time, and I ALWAYS think there is room for improvement. If there is repetition in these books, it is part of that process of refinement, and it's great pleasure to see the picture sharpen in focus with each new perspective.

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