November 9, 2006

The God Delusion (by: Richard Dawkins) [Part 3, Final Part]

Posted in Books, Life at 6:06 pm by pmatos

This is the end of my commentary on the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I’ve written a Part 1 and Part 2 in the past.

I’ve finished this book about 2 weeks ago but unfortunately only now have the time to finish the commentary.
I was mainly motivated to write about this right now because at 19.30 today I’ll be hearing a public lecture with the title Dawkins God, by Allister McGrath (named after her book with the same title). I haven’t read this book, still Dawkins refers to it in his book. So initially you might think this book is a Dawkins supporter… Well, it isn’t… She’s anything but supportive and it has nothing to do with The God Delusion which was written after Dawkins God. The former was published this year, 2006, and the latter on 2004.

The end of The God Delusion is extremelly good, like the rest of the book. Unfortunately, however, there’s a subject which misses appropriate comment from the author and although the author touches this subject he is rather vague and fills only a couple of pages. The subject (which is a rather disconcerting subject for me) is death. The question one might pose is: “Shouldn’t we believe in God because he makes us believe that there is life after death and then we won’t live fearing our own death?”

His point of view on the subject is superficial and as a person which usually thinks deeply on the death subject regularly, I’d love to read a more elaborate opinion on this from him.

I haven’t read his other books so probably he has answered be more deeply on his other books but still this is the only thing I can complain about Dawkins and his book. Nothing else. The book is certaintly tailored for a wide non-scientific audience and should be read by everyone, independent of their religious belief.

Thanks Dawkins for your book!



  1. The question one might pose is: “Shouldn’t we believe in God because he makes us believe that there is life after death and then we won’t live fearing our own death?”

    I believe the answer to that is quite simple: your belief (or lack of it) has exactly zero influence into whether God (and thus life after death) exists or not. In other words, if he doesn’t exist, he won’t start existing because you believe — or the other way around. Therefore, the point here shouldn’t be what you desire, but what is more likely.

    Since everything we see suggests that the universe is 100% natural, “pinning your hopes on the slimmest of doubts” (a SMAC quote) is nothing more than wishful thinking, than a refusal do deal with reality as it is.

  2. If your point isn’t actual life after death, but, instead, just the feeling of comfort that can come from believing in life after death, then that’s just a delusion. Wishful thinking, again. Delusions are bad; they prevent us from being able to deal with real life.

    Sam Harris (author of The End of Faith) has a good example of a similar delusion: believing you have a diamond the size of a refrigerator under your garden. That belief makes you feel good, gives your life “meaning”. Should it be encouraged? Obviously, I don’t think so. Delusions aren’t healthy or beneficial, especially when you’re an adult.

  3. pmatos said,

    Well, my point is that for the point of view of a person fearing death, I would be better off hiding behind religion which would provide me a very pretty ‘explanation’ for what would happen to me after death (if I behaved, obviously). This was just an example of the kind of stuff that might be beneficial for some people within religion and which Dawkins lacked explanation in his book although, as I said, he touched it lightly.

  4. So, in other words, you say that it may be a good idea to lie to people so that they feel better.

    I can’t agree with that, sorry… though I’m probably in the minority.

  5. pmatos said,

    No, not at all… In fact, that’s one reason why I’m an atheist. I don’t want to be lied to and I don’t want to lie to anybody…

    What I tried to convey is that I (for instance), having a somewhat dreadful fear (still trying to understand why) for death would probably be better off being religious, but I’m not because I would even be able to try to convince myself. But If I was a theist I would surely believe deeply in it and I wouldn’t even have to think about it… I would be happy to go to the heavens where the lord awaits me.

    If you then tell me that even a religious people may think about death, and may question the existence of God, then they are surely not 100% religious and that ‘scientist’ spine in each one of us is trying to break free.

    Still, thanks for your comments and I’m sorry if I couldn’t explain myself. I support 100% what you said!

  6. Nuno Barreto said,

    Did you enjoy the lecture?

  7. pmatos said,

    I’ve taken a lot of notes during the lecture. I’ll be commenting on it today. Thanks for your interest.

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