Three weeks ago, I said I hadn’t done anything worth mentioning. That wasn’t quite true. I’ve continued – slowly – going through my book collection.
Alas, my commute time to and from work has not been as productive as I would like. I usually snooze.
Nonetheless, I have recently finished reading two more books from the ever-growing atheism/religion/politics section of my shelves.
Dan Barker’s newest book is GOD: The Most Unpleasant Character In All Fiction. The title is, of course, taken from the well-known opening tirade in Chapter Two of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion:
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Barker breaks down his book into one chapter for each one of Dawkins’ adjectives. He provides dozens of verses from the bible to support every single one of those adjectives. It is both astonishing and disturbing that those words are so easily proven by the very words that are supposed to entice someone to believe in him and think of him as “good.”
However, Barker raises the bar. He finds additional adjectives to apply the moral monster that is The Lord Jealous.
Next up was Darrel Ray’s book The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture. It is an interesting extended metaphor of faith and religion as a biological virus. It surprised me just how far Ray was able to go with this idea.
The book does not focus on any one religion. Ray uses terms like the “Catholic virus” and the “Islamic virus” when he needs to get specific but then refers to the “God virus” for broader general concepts. He is able to apply concepts of evolution – just at they apply to biological virii – to explain how God virii adapt and change over time to continue infecting other minds or to protect themselves against other God virii “invading” their territory.
On one level it is obviously tongue-in-cheek; but on another level – as one ponders the ideas a bit – it makes a lot of sense.
Both books are well worth reading.