Whether you believe in God or you are an atheist, Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, presents some interesting and convincing ideas arguing against the existence of a religious God i.e., a being who created the world, lives in heaven, listens to our prayers and metes out rewards and punishments as He sees fit. Dawkins doesn't argue against more abstract concepts of God such as the God of pantheism or the God that Spinoza and Einstein believed in. Dawkins' problem is with the idea of a religious God and religion in general.
One of Dawkins' primary arguments is that if God created the world, then who created God? In trying to explain the existence of the world by using the concept of God, we are creating a larger problem. Instead, he suggests that natural selection and other scientific theories do a much better job in explaining the world, and he even argues that the appearance of design can be explained by natural selection. Dawkins isn't trying to disprove the existence of God once and for all; he's just suggesting that we adopt Occam's razor and accept the simplest explanation of something, since this is the rational thing to do.
Dawkins then goes on to argue against religion. He specifically has a problem with children who are classified according to their religion and sent to religious school which he considers a form of child abuse. To call a child a "Christian child" or a "Muslim child" is patently unfair because children don't have the capacity to understand Christianity or Islam well enough to adopt it. For Dawkins, religion is the result of the spread of memes in the population i.e., the tendency for something to spread like a virus from one person to another.
Many of Dawkins' arguments are justified. After all, there is no scientific proof of the existence of God, and it is perfectly possible for a person to be an atheist and moral at the same time. Religion has also been responsible for many atrocities over the years, and Dawkins' theory is quick to point this out. Whether you feel convinced of his argument or not, Dawkins' book is an honest representation of how people think about God and religion today.
Dawkins was born in Kenya, the son of an English civil servant. He returned to England when he was nine and had what he calls "a normal Anglican upbringing." However, he stopped believing in God when he was in his teens and came across the theory of evolution. He went on to do his Bachelor's at Oxford, studying zoology, and later got his doctorate studying under Nobel-prize winning ethologist, Nikolaas Tinbergen. During his academic career, he has taught at UC Berkeley and Oxford. He has also been married three times and has a daughter. The God Delusion has been on the New York Times bestseller list and has attracted widespread commentary from those who agree with Dawkins and those who don't.
Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins "Darwin's Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky). Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes. 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. Dawkins has fashioned an impassioned, rigorous rebuttal to religion, to be embraced by anyone who sputters at the inconsistencies and cruelties that riddle the Bible, bristles at the inanity of "intelligent design," or agonizes over fundamentalism in the Middle East-or Middle America. Download and start listening now!