The Delusion of Disbelief
Why the New Atheism is a Threat to Your Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness
This book examines the four primary actors behind the new atheism, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. The first section of the book is rather polemic, working on the motives of each of these four men, and providing some background on why each one has an issue with Christianity specifically.
The author then turns to a more philosophical discussion of Darwinism, starting in chapter four, The Science Problem. In this chapter, Mr. Aikman discusses the supposed antipathy between science and belief in God, tearing down the arguments in this area. He does slip up here in a couple of places, most notably in stating Darwin started out as a Christian and “converted” to atheism. In reality, Darwin was demonstratively a lifelong atheist, raised in the confines of an atheistic family and circle of friends. He includes a number of quotes showing just how unhappy atheists are in their real lives in this section. For instance:
But for many years now I cannot endure to read a line of poetry … I have also lost any taste for pictures or music … My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts … -Darwin
But I cannot listen to music too often. It affects my moods and makes me want to say sweet nothings and stroke the heads of men who live in a dirty hell and can still create such beauty. But these days you cannot go around stroking people’s heads … You have to smash them over the head—smash them without mercy … -Lenin
Both of these quotes reminded me of this:
And ï»¿whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:23
Maybe these atheist just need to listen to more music.
After discussing the science problem, Mr. Aikman discusses the problem of wicked atheist, including the likes of Mao, Che, Stalin, and Hitler. In this section he notes that people in Soviet Russia were not killed for their beliefs, but rather for teaching their children to believe in God. They were fine with people maintaining their beliefs, they just wanted to make certain the next generation didn’t carry those beliefs on. Hence the takeover of the schools first, just as we see in the US, and in many other areas of the world. The author quotes Lenin as saying:
After the implementation of the separation of church from state and school from church have taken effect, it is essential to strive for the separation of the people from religion and the church. -Lenin
It’s interesting to note, in this regard, the continuing push towards spirituality instead of religion. The author does a spectacular job of ripping Mao apart, using quotes from the margin notes he made in A System of Ethics, while he was a student at university. His section on Pol Pot is interesting; they killed all the “intelligent” people, or people with educations, to force the people to be “closer to nature.” In other words, to make them more like animals.
Overall, this is an interesting book, and well worth reading. Just be careful of the polemic tone overall.