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.
A pre-eminent scientist—and the world’s most prominent atheist—asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm
religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.
rigor and wit, Dawkins examines 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. The God Delusion makes a
compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially
deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of
atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a
clearer, truer appreciation of the universe’s wonders than any faith
could ever muster. Download and start listening now!