Dawkins states a case against God--but only against the fundamentalist conception of God as omnipotent, omniscient, and in direct control of earthly events. This is only one of many possible understandings of the divine. Many Christians and those of other faiths do not view their Maker as a flawless Absolute, nor does scripture necessarily claim this. In a sense, Dawkins argues against a straw God: the rigid, wrathful ruler of Christian and Muslim fundamentalism. Millions do believe in such a God, but by addressing only the kind of supernatural envisioned by fundamentalism, The God Delusion ignores the huge numbers of thoughtful believers who approach faith on more sophisticated terms. For instance, the latest study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that only one-third of American Christians, Muslims, and Jews regard their scriptures as the inerrant word of God to be taken literally; Dawkins writes as if it's 99 percent.  

Millions of Jews, Christians and Muslims do not believe God is an angry Absolute, do not believe tsunamis and wars are "God's will," do not wish ill to other faiths, do not have any problem with natural selection theory--but still look up in wonder at the night sky and dream there may be so much more to existence than just scurrying about the streets of our little world. The God Delusion ignores believers who think this way, because they cannot be used as straw men.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus