Those jungle drums you heard beating furiously today were the atheists who have just discovered “The Godless Delusion.” Judging from their jeering comments, we can safely conclude that they don’t like it — not one little bit — a colossal understatement. From the 50 or so comments that I’ve perused today on RichardDawkins.net (the notice about the book was posted there early this morning), a few things are clear:
1) The atheists who’ve savaged the book based on reading the first dozen or so pages which are visible on Amazon (most of them haven’t even read that) demonstrate that they really don’t understand what my co-author, Ken Hensley, and I are doing with The Godless Delusion. They seem convinced that ours is a book which rehearses the standard proofs for the existence of God, proofs for the Christian religion and the divinity of Christ, etc. They’re certain that all we do is quote Bible verses at them, defend creationism, flee from reason, shelter ourselves behind blind superstition, and deny the importance of science. You know, all the low-brow, knuckle-dragging, anti-intellectual Christian stuff like that.
Reality check. That’s not at all what the book is about, either in the real or the caricatured sense.
The Godless Delusion is, rather, a direct critique of atheism, and only indirectly a defense of theism. But then, the atheists posting there don’t know that because they’ve let their emotions run away with them and have fallen prey to typical atheist thought-stopping sloganeering to reassure themselves that they have a valid reason for dismissing our critique of atheism without even knowing what it entails. They’re a pretty agitated bunch, judging from their comments.
If just the idea of a Catholic book challenging atheist claims is enough to touch off the festival of odium and contempt that we see among the God-deniers in this thread at RichardDawkins,net, one can only imagine the paroxysms that would ensue once they actually read the book in its entirety and had to contemplate its philosophical critique of atheism.
2) Our atheist detractors are heavy on pompous rhetoric and light on actual substantive argumentation. The latter is due in part to the fact that they don’t understand the focus of the book, and that, of course, is because they haven’t read it. And it’s also due to the fact that, even if they did read the book, I’m confident that they wouldn’t be able to effectively respond to, much less refute, our critique of atheism. Let’s see what they come up with.
3) These atheists seem to think that their grievances against the Catholic Church (the priest scandals, the crusades, etc.) somehow vindicate atheism. A number of their comments are laced with shouts of “women-haters and child molesters!” and that sort of thing. Apparently, they think that whooping and hollering about the crimes committed by Catholics somehow disproves the existence of God, which of course it doesn’t. The evils perpetrated by Catholics, Protestants, and others who believe in God have no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether or not God exists and, more importantly and more to the point, they are completely irrelevant to the question of whether atheism itself is true. But they don’t seem to understand that.
4) The atheists who’ve commented thus far seem to have gotten practically everything they think they know about The Godless Delusion flat wrong. For example, several have been going on about how the book was published by a “vanity press.” Um, no. It was published by Our Sunday Visitor, which is one of the top 2 or 3 largest mainstream Catholic publishers in the United States. I don’t know the stats, but they might even be the largest. Also, at least one of these atheists are confused about when the book was released, scoffing that it is “copyright 1999-2006” when, had they only actually read the front matter at Amazon, they’d have seen that
it just came out two weeks ago.
Anyway, the bulk of their scoffing is predicated on erroneous assumptions like those two, highly charged emotionalism and anger, and a general unwillingness to actually deal with the arguments (which, again, they have not bothered to explore, beyond the first 12-15 pages of introductory matter), etc.
I’m hopeful that some atheists somewhere will rise above the puerile antics of the ones who have been posting in this “kick the can” thread about The Godless Delusion. We’ll see. In the meantime, here’s just one example of the kind of “enlightened” atheist responses to the book:
Comment 38 by Logicel
I hope there are atheists out there who will respond with something more substantive than that level of mindless invective. Surely there must be. Perhaps some of them will calmly accept the challenge of The Godless Delusion, will read the book, and then respond seriously to our critique of atheism. We’ll see.