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The God Delusion

The Bible may have been a suitable guidebook for people in ancient times, but with the exception of a few fundamentalists, most Christians today would have to concede that the Bible by itself is no longer a sufficient source of answers, especially when faced with new issues that have only recently arisen in our rapidly changing modern high-tech world.

It might be said that even in ancient times, the Bible by itself wasn't sufficient, and that it needed the writings of Augustine and Aquinas to interpret its ambiguities. Few Christians would disagree that in modern times, people need additional sources of wisdom beyond the Bible from other 'sacred' texts, like the constitution of the United States, which defines things that the Bible forgot, like a democratic political system with a declaration of fundamental human rights.

The Bible is gradually losing its relevance. The percentage of people in developed countries who believe in Christianity is falling. And despite the illusion of a recent resurgence, unless something miraculous happens, Christianity will soon become a minority cult. And just like the collapse of other influential ideologies a few decades ago, it might happen more quickly than any of us anticipate. Allow me to indulge in a little bit of speculation.

Just five years ago, religion was not being seriously debated in the mainstream media. People's beliefs were seen as something personal and our democratic society was largely tolerant of all religious beliefs. However, since September 11 and the rise to power of the religious right in America, religion has become the most hotly debated cultural and political issue of our time.

Taking advantage of the current climate of conservative religious fanaticism, hardline atheists like Richard Dawkins are launching an aggressive assault on Christianity. Dawkins and his supporters argue that religion has grown dangerous and should therefore be actively opposed by the scientific community and by other intellectuals sympathetic to the atheist cause.

Maybe by raising the intensity of the debate to this new level, the hardline atheists will help to bring about some progressive religious reform. However, by blindly savaging the Christian myth without properly contemplating what will be left in a post-Christian world, the atheist campaigners may be diving into something they don't fully understand and are not prepared for.

Will the hardline atheist worldview presented by Dawkins in his recent book "The God Delusion" be persuasive enough to fill the inevitable moral and metaphysical void? The answer is no, it will not be.

Dawkins offers no real meaning or purpose to life other than some contrived sense of wonderment at the beauty of nature, he relies on a baseless poetry of humanist ethical ideals as the foundation of a moral education, and he depends heavily on ambiguous words like "reason" to make up the shortfall.

We are about to see a major ideological struggle between hardline atheism, hardcore agnosticism, and every imaginable flavor of incomprehensible secular philosophy and nutcase pseudo-spirituality. They will all be battling it out over the Internet and in the mass media; competing to claim the scorched earth left behind by the eventual collapse of mainstream religion.

A similar thing happened in Rome around 2000 years ago. For those who have not worked it out yet, this website argues for a hardcore agnostic position, which is philosophically incompatible with hardline atheism.

Click here to read a detailed summary and review of The God Delusion

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