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Cut God Some Slack

A little more than a year ago I blogged about how every third book had the word “bullshit” in its title. Happily, that trend faded. I could only find two books on Amazon released in the last year with “bullshit” in the title.

Now, it seems that going after God is the hip thing to do. Daniel Dennett started the stampede with Breaking the Spell. Richard Dawkins followed with the best-seller The God Delusion. Then came God the Failed Hypothesis by Victor Stanger and God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.

Next up? Irreligion by John Allen Paulos (author of Innumeracy). I love the fact that the book’s release date is December 26, 2007. What could be more fitting.

Here is what puzzles me: who buys these books?

I’m not religious. I don’t think much about God, except when I am in a pinch and need some special favors. I have no particular reason to think he’ll deliver, but I sometimes take a shot anyway. Other than that, I’m just not that interested in God. I’m definitely not interested enough to go out and buy books explaining to me why I shouldn’t believe in God, even when they are written by people like Dennett and Dawkins, whom I greatly admire. If I were religious, I think it would be even more likely that I would go out of my way to avoid books telling me that my faith was misplaced.

So who is making these anti-God books best-sellers? Do the people who despise the notion of God have an insatiable demand for books that remind them of why? Are there that many people out there who haven’t made up their mind on the subject and are open to persuasion?

Let me put the argument another way: I understand why books attacking liberals sell. It is because many conservatives hate liberals. Books attacking conservatives sell for the same reason. But no one writes books saying that bird watching is a waste of time, because people who aren’t bird watchers probably agree, but don’t want to spend $20 in order to read about it. Since very few people (at least in my crowd) actively dislike God, I’m surprised that anti-God books are not received with the same yawn that anti-bird watcher books would be.