Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why read books on Atheism?

Part of the reason is that it's fun to read someone smart confirming your own opinion. Humans are tribal creatures, for almost no reason we are fanatically loyal soccer teams, political parties and Roger Federer. Once we've picked our side, we distort reality in its favour and we always like to see our side win. This isn't admirable, but it's pretty difficult to shake the instinct if you've been sucked in. Atheism is just as prone to this kind of loyalty as soccer or whatever.

All this is pretty negative on buying these books but I don't want to diminish the entertainment value they provide even if it isn't noble. I also don't think it's a coincidence that there are suddenly lots of atheism books at a time when religion has suddenly become much more prominent in public. The more I bang on about something position I feel strongly about the more likely it is that'll I'll hear from people who disagree. It makes sense.

Now does anybody deny that the world seemed a more religious place after Bush came to power and September 11th happened?

This post was inspired by Steven Levitt, who is not concerned he might upset people by telling them that abortion reduces crime, but is concerned that people might think he's anti-religious.

3 comments:

cristi said...

can't say i noticed an increased religious fervour since bush (perhaps if i lived in america it would be more apparant). definitely noticed an increased hatred for christians tho.

strange, i definitely feel like as a christian (the practicing nonfence-sitting variety), that i'm in a small minority group, yet the people who attack me, seem to place me in this large dominant group, that needs to be put in it's place.

do you think that being anti-religious is a minorty group. if we are both in a minorty, then who is the majority. I think the majority are those who aren't religious, but aren't really willing to admit it. perhaps these people get lumped into the religious camp by atheists, and lumped into the atheist camp by religious groups, which is why we both feel so attacked.

have you read God delusions yet?

mutt said...

I didn't really notice it amoung people I know, just how often religion seemed to feature in the news. Mostly, the focus has been on Islam, but Blair and Bush are the most religious leaders of their countries for ages.

Muslims seem to have an overwhelming sense of being under attack.

When there's one of those surveys saying what percentage of people are what religion, most people want to maximise their own groups share. but when it comes to feeling under attack, most people are keen to feel threatened.

Even when Bush's party was dominating US politics, conservatives were howling about the liberal media and universities. We often feel the media is biased against us.

I've read it. it's very entertaining, more stories and anecdotes than the book I loaned you, but I dont think it's better.

cristi said...

I didn't know blair was religious. I just thought he was a twat. is twatology a religion? might have quite a large following. i have been known to dabble in it on the odd occasion.