Posted: May 05, 2019 12:55 pm
by Hermit
Thommo wrote:
Their works - Dawkins's, The God Delusion, Harris's, The End of Faith, Dennett's, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, and Hitchens's, God Is Not Great - were all essentially written as a blind reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and all zoomed in on Islam and the Muslim world, demonstrating a remarkable ignorance of both.


I've only read one of those books, but I don't recall the God Delusion being zoomed in on Islam at all. In fact wasn't one of the principle criticisms that it was extremely Christian focused?

Chapter 8 of The God Delusion is titled "What's wrong with Religion? Why be so hostile" The last of its six sections is titled
"How ‘moderation’ in faith fosters fanaticism". While Christianity does get mentions, the bulk of the text concerns Islamic terrorism. Dawkins basically argues that the bottom line of the danger is faith, and it does not matter if faith is attached to a moderate or an extremist strand of any religion. The last paragraph of "How ‘moderation’ in faith fosters fanaticism" goes like this:
More generally (and this applies to Christianity no less than to Islam), what is really pernicious is the practice of teaching children that faith itself is a virtue. Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument. Teaching children that unquestioned faith is a virtue primes them — given certain other ingredients that are not hard to come by — to grow up into potentially lethal weapons for future jihads or crusades. Immunized against fear by the promise of a martyr's paradise, the authentic faith-head deserves a high place in the history of armaments, alongside the longbow, the warhorse, the tank and the cluster bomb. If children were taught to question and think through their beliefs, instead of being taught the superior virtue of faith without question, it is a good bet that there would be no suicide bombers. Suicide bombers do what they do because they really believe what they were taught in their religious schools: that duty to God exceeds all other priorities, and that martyrdom in his service will be rewarded in the gardens of Paradise. And they were taught that lesson not necessarily by extremist fanatics but by decent, gentle, mainstream religious instructors, who lined them up in their madrasas, sitting in rows, rhythmically nodding their innocent little heads up and down while they learned every word of the holy book like demented parrots. Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong. It is to childhood itself, and the violation of childhood by religion, that we turn in the next chapter.

Note the preponderance of references to the Islamic religion. The entire section stands in stark contrast of the book's extremely Christian focused approach.