Saturday, December 08, 2007

Harsh but fair, The Guardian Digested Read on John Humphrys' In God We Doubt: Confessions of a Failed Atheist .

I did find this book rather disappointing when I put it down. I suppose I was hoping for the Agnostic The God Delusion but instead I got one-third 'If there's a God then why do bad things happen?', one-third 'If there isn't a God then how did the universe start then huh?' and one-third 'We've got a letter from a Mrs Thoughtful of Middle-Englandshire'. Perhaps all that this book demonstrates is that rational sensible argument is unlikely to change the phase-state of a person's belief, that can only occur when they think for themselves. Humphrys largely skirts religion to concentrate on belief, which allows him to put his impartial boot into the Dawkins and Hitchens of the world but the problem is there's no sense of a journey, after a vaguely religious upbringing he lost his faith as a young man and is now an old man and it hasn't come back. In the end he makes Agnosticism seem like the Liberal Democrats of theology, able to stand on the sidelines and take pot shots at the other two positions but not doing much to convert others to the cause.

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