My first dip into Dawkins

Seems handy to keep a notebook ever-ready when reading this book. It threatens to rock my world, yes, it does. Anyway. Have taken a peek at The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins [which I discovered through this post by Laura of Laura’s Musings], because this is how I like to spend my weekends. Knee-deep in atheism and grumpy ol’ men who pooh-pooh all things otherwise. But, well, I picked this up because I need a frame for what I’ve long suspected as my foray into atheism [or whatever approximates it]. Let me be clear that I need not be convinced. I already know there’s something niggling within me, but I just can’t seem to articulate it. Dawkins’s book, well, I need to witness someone argue the case for me.

That peek I took? One measly paragraph into the book, in a special foreword to the updated paperback edition, Dawkins scratches his head over “a bafflingly large number of intellectuals [who] ‘believe in belief’ even though they lack religious belief themselves.” And I was like, hell, I can’t hazard to claim myself an intellectual, but I do tend to act as though I believe in belief, even if—yeah, you get the picture.

I dunno, Mr. Dawkins. I mean, for one, it’s hard to break away. It’s only been a couple of years since I grew comfortable with the fact that I just wasn’t too keen on religion. Specifically, the Roman Catholic religion, as an institution. More specifically, the spectacle of Catholicism in the Philippines (as a [political] institution), which never fails to give me the heebie-jeebies. I guess what “God” there was, what construct, what belief, was inevitable for me, for my personal philosophy, but to stop believing in belief itself? What?

But it’s also hard to act like a rude ass. In a noble light, it’s respect—respect of people’s opinions, culture, how they want to live their own lives. In a chill kind of thing, it’s passive tolerance. Shrug.

Gah. One measly paragraph into the book, and I’m already thinking a lot. What the hell, dude. What do you want from me?

I’m trying to read this book in tandem with A Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan. I’ll follow that up with Dawkins’ River Out of Eden. Maybe Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, why not?  And, in the interest of fairness—something I’ve noticed Dawkins’ is too cute-grumpy to allow me entertain—I’d try reading The Case for God by Karen Armstrong, because it just so happens that it’s lying around the house. Yeah. What is going on, Sasha?

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12 comments

  1. I look forward to your review of this one. A friend recommended this and Christopher Hitchens’s The Portable Athiest to me, and I’ve got the PA checked out from the library currently.

    “A bafflingly large number of intellectuals [who] ‘believe in belief’ even though they lack religious belief themselves.” I’m going to be thinking about that quote all day.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Sasha! Like you, this book had me thinking from page 1. I can’t wait to see what you think of it in the end.

  3. You should watch this – really. Think ignorant & uninformed is a picture of religious people everywhere? You would be massively surprised to see Dawkins get quite uncomfortable in this free full-length debate. Two professors – a debate like no other in recent history. http://fixed-point.org/index.php/video/35-full-length/164-the-dawkins-lennox-debate

  4. Also this – a follow-up debate with the title of one of Lennox’s most famous books : Has science buried God? http://vimeo.com/27834228

  5. That’s quite the reading list you’ve got there. My boyfriend, who is a staunch atheist, has a whole pile of Dawkins’s books lying around the house. I think I might try “The God Delusion” soon – I’ve been tempted for a long time, but put off by the image I have of Dawkins as a person preaching atheism just like other people preach religion. You see, one of the things that makes me most uncomfortable with religion is the tendency of very strong believers to think that they somehow have it right and everyone else has it wrong. I can also see this pendulum swing the atheist way, and I don’t like it in anyone, this smug feeling of superiority. I think I might find it hard to sit through a whole book of it. So I’m curious to see how you get on.

  6. A book I really liked, along a slightly different direction, is “Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by Sue Monk Kidd. She articulated my issues with the church, although her conclusion was different from mine. As I read it I underline sentence after sentence.

  7. I need to read Dawkins. But I will have to take a spit at Hitchens first–metaphorically, of course. I found out about your blog on Esquire.

  8. I have something against Dawkins, and that is, I think, his lack of respect for religions and other world views, and his staunch atheism-turned-into-religion.

  9. I tried reading his stuff- and get this- ended up putting them under the category of “Science Fiction” in my iBooks :).

    I am partial, being a Bible-believing Christian. But Dawkins needs to stick to science and let his world speak for itself. In books about religion, he just sounds vindictive and incapable of tapping into the same curiousity and imagination that enabled him to see the universe that many of us never even considered.

  10. […] there were high points here and there. I finally finished reading Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, which established my fascination for that lovably […]

  11. Vincent Dimaano · · Reply

    Allow me to dribble. I ran into your blog while casually doing a search on Richard Dawkins — being quite a priss during an interview he did with one of my select musical performer Brandon Flowers. I’ve not had a chance to read Mr. Dawkin’s particular book, but having been part of a study on male and female attraction during my college years during the iron age, his book “The Selfish Gene” was required reading. You wrote “It’s also hard to act like a rude ass,” in this particular case (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJu98H9UDtM) it was quite easy for him.

    Anyways, great blog (dog ear marked) and mad props to you my pinay sister. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Salamat.

    1. As much as I appreciate Richard Dawkins as my gateway [bigatin at palaban agad, haha] into atheist readings, following him on Twitter has made me realize I much appreciate his science side more, haha. The man’s rudeness can be so entertaining. Off-putting, sure, but I’m secretly a bright-side-of-life girl. Anyway, thanks so much for visiting, and I hope you’re doing good.

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