Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Dawkins and Hitchens beat Pope to top of religious book charts

Also in The Observer on Sunday, a piece on the recent boom in books about religion, which reports the surprising news that (according to Amazon) the most popular 'religious' book is currently Dawkins' The God Delusion, with Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great in second place, knocking the Pope's new tome into third place and Paul Coelho's new-age twaddle into fourth.

The article includes an explanation of this latest publishing phenomenon from Anthony Grayling:

I think 9/11 has changed the nature of the debate tremendously...A decade ago people wouldn't say 'I'm a Christian' at a dinner party. You would no more speak about your religious belief than you would your sex life.

But after 9/11 we no longer think people should be treated differently or given exemption from certain laws because they believe something. Secularists are now saying, 'OK, believe in what you like, believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden if you want to, but don't force your beliefs on us or our children, and don't expect preferential treatment.' To allow religious organisations more privileges and influence than a political party or trade union, for example, is to distort public debate. People are waking up to the fact it is anomalous.

That's as neat a dismissal of all the nonsense about a new 'aggressive secularism' as you're likely to read.

1 comment:

Shimmy said...

"There is no pope" (Gertrude Stein).