Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion

The spate of recent and upcoming atheist attacks on religion could provide me with a little cottage industry of Christian apologetics book ideas.

Letter to an Atheist, my response to Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation should be coming out from Harpeth River Press next month, "God willing and if the creek don't rise."

The current book The God Delusion by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, dubbed recently by the BBC as Britain's #1 intellectual, provides the opportunity for an alliterative response -- The Dawkins Delusion. What's his delusion ? That RNA arose from inanimate matter.

And of course, my all time favorite atheist, Christopher Hitchens, is soon to come out with God is not Great: The Case Against Religion.

I look forward to reading Hitchens' book. He has, over the past 20 years, provided me with hours of clever, interesting, and merciless entertainment as he lampoons the foibles of the well known and the weasely. He's one of the smartest guys on the planet, and has a wickedly devastating sense of humor.

Unlike Mr. Harris, whose work is filled with all sorts of misrepresentations (my book documents 22 factual errors in his slim little 91 page volume), my expectation is that Hitchens' book will be factually tied down. Which is why I look forward to reading it.

Watch Hitchens on any of his many C-SPAN appearances and you can't help but be fascinated by the man's erudition, biting satire, and personal self indulgence. I mention his self indulgence as an observation, not a condemnation, however, as he himself is quite unrepentant for his own love of drink.

"He's a mess !" as my grandmother used to say about some people. But he is a mess who keeps your mind challenged and entertained every step of the way.

There he sits on camera, bloodshot eyes scouring the room for the drink he so desperately needs, smoke curling up from his ever present cigarette, as he destroys yet another self important and intellectually challenged example of blow harded puffery.

Hitchens is an enormously interesting and sympathetic character. Sympathetic from a safe distance, most likely. A Brit, he lost his mother early in life, and grew up pretty much on his own with his younger brother Peter. Christopher became a Trotskyite, moved to the States, saw the light and became an interesting blend of left wing theories and neo conservative policies. Along the way, he became estranged from his brother, a believing Christian as well as a political conservative, and eventually reconciled, at least in part.

We'll see how many copies of Letter to an Atheist we can sell from the legendary trunk of the car. If it works, I'll have a decision to make on writing.

In addition to a title for the Dawkins' response, I have a terrific title for the Hitchens' response as well. Of course, there's this little matter of actually writing the response that might make the whole undertaking a little difficult.

Back to Fort Desperate, the final draft awaiting, or on to the Christian apologetics cottage industry, so kindly prepared for me by Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens ? Perhaps Darwin is right. It will be a matter of natural selection to determine which genre, for the moment, survives.

And the connection between Fort Desperate and the potential series of Christian apologetics ? There actually is a compelling theme emerging there, but I'll leave that for another day and another post.

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