Why Religion is Giving God a Bad Name

I read this review of Christopher Hitchen’s latest book in the Times Book Review this week and it got me thinking about how enlightenment style atheism is making a comeback in the popular press. Another book that has been on the best seller list in this vein is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. To be fair to both of these authors, I haven’t read their books, only the reviews. As such, I am not qualified to and this post is not intended as a critique of their work.

However, one paragraph from the review of Hitchens’ book struck me as interesting:

“Hitchens is an old-fashioned village atheist, standing in the square trying to pick arguments with the good citizens on their way to church. The book is full of logical flourishes and conundrums, many of them entertaining to the nonbeliever. How could Christ have died for our sins, when supposedly he also did not die at all? Did the Jews not know that murder and adultery were wrong before they received the Ten Commandments, and if they did know, why was this such a wonderful gift? On a more somber note, how can the “argument from design” (that only some kind of “intelligence” could have designed anything as perfect as a human being) be reconciled with the religious practice of female genital mutilation, which posits that women, at least, as nature creates them, are not so perfect after all? Whether sallies like these give pause to the believer is a question I can’t answer.” Read the rest of this entry »