Drek of Marginal Utility has an interesting take on a Dawkins book review found in the New York Times.
Yet, in saying all that, I think I can still object to the recent book review on Dawkins' work published in the New York Times. This review, written by Jim Holt,** is quite frankly negative. Okay, that's an understatement: it's actually rather vicious. In the viciousness, however, it's fairly clear that the reviewer simply doesn't like Dawkins' message and wishes he'd just keep his atheism to himself. This, and this alone, is really what I have a problem with. Religious persons of all stripes are permitted, and often expected, to try and convert their friends and neighbors. Often they are rewarded for conspicuous displays of piety and religion acts as a sort of human capital. So, I consider it a bit absurd for someone to be condemned not merely for taking pride in their own religious views, but for simply doing what everyone else does already: doubting the gods of others, and giving voice to that doubt.
Source: Marginal Utility: The Dreadful Dick Dawkins Part I
I am always interested in finding a new atheist (Drek was unknown to me), and then reading and processing what he or she has to say. In this case, the dissection of Jim Holt's book review was fun to read, informative, and insightful. But it also troubled me...
This morning I spent a great deal of time with my son driving to and from, and to and from, his school. He forgot an important assignment, so we repeated our drive twice. During the drive he talked about two friends who don't celibate Halloween for religious reasons. Apparently, his friends don't believe in a god that prohibits fun things like Halloween or video games, which places them in conflict with their parents. We talked about god again. He was concerned that his belief in god in some way offended me. He asked about what it would be like if the tables were turned. If I were a Christian and he an atheist. Would I still be as tolerant of his beliefs. I answered that self-determination is an important concept and that I hoped that I would stick to it. Only... In retrospect, I understand that to be a Christian comes with the obligation of spreading the word, and therein lies the problem. I don't feel the obligation to spread the word as an Atheist, but I would as a Christian. Perhaps spreading the word is the right thing to do?