Newsweek’s religion editor, Lisa Miller, has written:
The atheist writers Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have presented us with a choice: either you don’t believe in God or you’re a dope. “It is perfectly absurd for religious moderates to suggest that a rational human being can believe in God, simply because that belief makes him happy,” writes Harris in the 2005 “Atheist Manifesto” now posted on the Web site of his new nonprofit, The Reason Project. Their brilliance, wit and (general) good humor have made the new generation of atheists celebrities among people who like to consider themselves smart. We enjoy their books and their telegenic bombast so much that we don’t mind their low opinion of us. Dopey or not, 90 percent of Americans continue to say they believe in God.
She then talks about Robert Wright’s new book The Evolution of God. Her comments can be summed up with these words:
…Wright gives relief and intellectual ballast to those believers weary of the punching-bag tone of the recent faith-and–reason debates.
First, I am also looking forward to reading Wright’s book.
Second, I think very few people would argue that religion evolved along with man, and that it has served us greatly. Personally, I enjoy religious study, and think atheists are often to quick to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” It’s possible to study the almost transcendent (for lack of a better word) aspects of religious experience without embracing the supernatural. We can extract the gems of truth without embracing the superstition.
Thirdly, arguing that 90 percent of Americans believe in god(s), and that religion has always been with us, has nothing whatsoever to do with its validity. Even if believing in a god(s) enables an individual to live in euphoric extasy, it doesn’t add to the truth of its claims.
Finally, my recent pet peeve is the believer who accuses nonthiests of being closed minded. Really? Isn’t it they who claim to “know” truth without a doubt? Isn’t this the very definition of faith? A preacher I used to listen to always described religious truth as, “something you know in your knower.”
To my readers who are believers (or knowers), let’s be honest with each other. You think we are wrong and we think you are wrong. The big difference is we atheists believe the disagreement end with death. You, on the other hand, believe we will have eternal consequences for our lack of knowing.
To read the first 31 pages of The Evolution of God, you can download the PDF.