Outgrowing God: A Beginner's Guide
Outgrowing God is a masterful piece of writing. This is the book I wish I could have read 10 years before I finally became an atheist. It elegantly answers many of the questions I had asked myself (and many I’d never even considered) in the most insightful and well-constructed way. I have no doubt it would have accelerated my own deconversion process.
Outgrowing God appears to be targeted at believers (primarily those of the Abrahamic faiths). But the sad reality is that many of these individuals will never read this book. Which means they will miss out on learning more about the beautiful complexity of our world and the wonderful creatures that inhabit it. Dawkins reveals so many layers of wonder in constructing his arguments against “intelligent design”.
What separates Outgrowing God from the God Delusion is the approach. It structures the argument in a more measured way which may actually appeal to believers and non-believers alike.
Dawkins starts by asking why you would believe in your god from amongst the thousands that are believed to have existed. After that, he takes the reader through the scriptures and their various inconsistencies. From the “nasty god” of the old testament through the new testament and the “Chinese whispers” of its origins. The author asks whether morality is reliant on religion and scripture, and takes the reader through the Darwinian reasons behind altruism and religious belief. In later chapters he paints a beautiful picture of many of nature’s marvels which led previous generations to believe in the concept of a creator. In conclusion, Dawkins explains why he believes a creator is not needed to explain all of these wonders.
How many religious people will buy a book by Richard Dawkins remains to be seen. However, I would suggest whether you are religious or not you would do well to pick this one up at the store.