I just picked up a copy of Richard Dawkins new book ‘The God Delusion’ after reading Atanu Dey’s suggestion to everyone to get a copy before it is banned since the book criticises the monotheistic religions and could very soon get into the cross hairs of votebank politics.
After going through the preface and the first two chapters by now i think that is not likely to happen. Why? Because the book deals with the subject in a very logical manner without any resort to sensationalism or isolating of any particular faith for “special treatment”. Richard Dawkins takes the following view.
I’am not in favour of offending or hurting anyone just for the sake of it.
and makes his stand clear with the following disclaimer.
It is in the light of the unparalled presumption of respect for religion that I make my own disclaimer for this book.I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else.
The book deals with religion as a whole but concentrates much of its analysis of the phenomenon of God according to the views of the monotheistic or the three Abrahmanic faiths- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The book also touches upon the subject of polytheism and nature worship as practised through the ages by the ancient romans, greeks, egyptians, mesopotamians, celts, norsemen, mongols, native americans, Australian aboriginies, pacific islanders, African tribesmen, Japanese, Chinese and ofcourse by the Hindus in the beginning of the chapter on ‘The God hypothesis’. Richard Dawkins makes his stand very clear in this respect too when he declares.
I know you don’t believe in an old bearded man sitting on a cloud, so let’s not waste any more time on that. I’am not attacking any particular version of God or gods. I’am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented.
So if you belong to one of the above categories and are thrilled at the way Dawkins is aiming his artillery at the monotheistic/Abrahamanic faiths, The above quote should be more than enough to dampen that enthusiasm.
But paradoxically Richard Dawkins asserts that the polytheism of the Hindu faith is nothing but ‘monotheism in disguise’.
There is only one God – Lord Brahma the creator, Lord Vishnu the preserver, Lord Shiva the destroyer, the godesses Saraswati, laxmi and Parvati(Wives of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), Lord Ganesh the elephant god, and hundreds of others, all are just different manifestations or incarnations of the one God.
This is somewhat puzzling to me and It is best left to people more knowledgeable on the Hindu scriptures to say whether Dawkins is right or wrong in this matter.
The book overall is a good read and raises some really good questions about the phenomenon of Religious faith- Is it necessary to be religious to be moral?, Is indoctrinating children from a very early age into the religions of their parents and typecasting them as such before they could make up their own minds about it a form of child abuse?, And can the existence or non-existence of God be logically proven or disproven.
And here is a Channel 4 TV documentary by Richard Dawkins on the same subject titled ‘Root of All Evil’.