Religion

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Read: The Final Sacrament

It has been a while since I have read a history novel. So I don’t know whether it is rather the genre or the specific book: I almost put Forrester’s The Final Sacrament away before I forced myself through the novel.

It did not really manage to hold my attention. The many very brief chapters invited to put the book down even after the briefest reading bouts. The main protagonist – even though an interesting character – was hard to relate to, and the story was mostly slow paced. Only during the last third does the novel gain some momentum. Yet, even the then gory and raunchy plot variations did not really succeed in making the novel more compelling.

The ending – not a happy one which is fine with me – was also disappointing. Just because the protagonist is caught in between two political factions that define themselves by their affiliation to different flavors of the christian religion, just because he himself is a pious man there was no need for the following the voice and walking into the light cliche. Given the earlier gore and desperation a simple death, comfortless and dreary, would have been much more fitting.

Read: The God Delusion

“The plural of anecdote is not data.” This is a quote from Dawkin’s The God Delusion making the case for a more scientific approach to Life, the Universe and Everything. Unfortunately most of his points are supported by just these anecdotes. There is also a lot of name dropping as if a point (generalizing to all members of a group) becomes more valid if a more prominent representative of a group can be shown as an example.

At one point he concedes that he, from that point on, has to use rhetoric rather than logic to make his case. That came as a bit of a surprise: In my opinion he relies mostly on rhetoric in his book and very little on explicitly applied logic. Many things seem so obviously evident to him that he does not spell them out. I missed that. I would have needed it. The God Delusion lacks the brilliance of The Selfish Gene. Dawkins jumps from point to point without discussing them in sufficient depth, ultimately failing to convince, sometimes rambling on minor issues, getting side-tracked, and losing the reader: me.

I agree with Dawkins on most issues. We do not need religion as a moral guide. There is undeserved respect towards religion. Religion and science do not mix (well). Most importantly, the mental abuse, the indoctrination of easily impressed children that is part of religious upbringing is bad, bad, bad. I agreed with him on these points before I read the God Delusion not because of it.

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