That’s the name of the book I just finished, by Richard Dawkins. After a long time of reading religious apologist literature in everything from newspapers to magazines, Richard Dawkins came as a breath of fresh air. And it’s not just me who’s impressed. The New York Times Book Review has hailed him as a writer who "'understands the issues so clearly that he forces his reader to understand them too"' & he was recently awarded the distinction of "'public intellectual"' in Britain.
This is a summary of the book, from his website:
He critiques God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. In so doing, he makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just irrational, but potentially deadly.
And even though he says very little about Hinduism or any other Oriental “religion” for that matter, most of it could well be applied there too. But what he wrote about being an atheist in an increasingly religious world, especially in America, sounded bizarre to me. Bizarre to a person such as myself, born in and brought up as part of the oldest religious systems in the world!
Not that being an atheist in India is a cakewalk. But it’s a different sort of difficult. People don’t hate me, or hurl insults at me or anything overt for that matter. In fact most people don’t mind at all. While I’d like to say it’s because it’s possible to be an atheist and a Hindu, I know it’s because for the most part they don’t care. But you can’t certainly say the same for family. And because they care so much, they keep trying to make me ‘believe’. I wonder can you start to ‘believe,’ just like that?
So my mom and I reached a truce, sort of. I do all that she tells me to do and she gets that I’m doing it for her, not because I believe. Works for everyone. So far. Pretending to be deluded is rather fun after all!