Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Irrational Atheist

As I promised, WAY back on January 28th, I am reviewing Vox Day's excellent book, The Irrational Atheist.

To those reading this review, in the interest of full disclosure, I have been a reader of Vox Day's WorldNetDaily.com weekly column for over 6 years and an avid reader (if extremely infrequent comment contributer) to his blog. I am also a Christian, one whose hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the first of Mr. Day's books I've had the pleasure to read. I hope to have the opportunity to read many more. The book is extraordinarily well written. Vox has an amazing ability to dissect fallacious reasoning and a BS detector that makes mine look positively minor league.

The book's arguments are well-formed and well-presented. The scope of his research is impressive. No, make that IMPRESSIVE. For example, in his evisceration of the fallacy that more wars have been fought in the name of Religion that any other reason, he did a statistical breakdown of all recorded wars that was amazingly complete and left little wiggle room for the atheists. No, make that NO wiggle room. The overwhelming evidence was that wars are fought for political ideology, for greed, for the pursuit of power, but are seldom fought due to the influence of or in the name of religion.

He dealt harsh verbal blows to each of the Four Horsemen of the Bukkakelypse, but reserved his best work for the feeblest of the "brights", Sam Harris, a man whose contribution to the debate is to claim that one is better off being raped than being raised a Christian. Come to think of it, Vox was WAY too lenient with that asshat. But, lest you think the book was nothing but a slam-fest, he spoke quite highly of another of the major atheists, Daniel Dennett, whom he describes as "a respectable intellectual".

My personal favorite chapter was Chapter 15 (Master Of Puppets Or Game Designer?). This is an absolute must-read for new Christians. It does the best job of any explanation of the "omniscience vs. omnipotence" question that I've read, whether written by clergy or by lay person.

While some reviewers have found the tone of the book to be "un-Christian", I fell on the other side of that coin; I thought that Vox was a little too NICE in his treatment of the unholy atheist trinity of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris (okay, maybe calling Harris a bumbler isn't the nicest thing...but considering the course of action recommended by Mr. Harris -- preemptive murder of people with" dangerous beliefs" -- MUCH nicer than I could have mustered).

One reviewer on WorldNetDaily was shocked and saddened after reading the book, because

[Vox']s claim to be a believer is belied by his use, even at times glorification of, at least 14 types of terms for sick, vile and disgusting sexual perversions (some of which I had to research to find out what they meant, and which turned my stomach when I did), five mentions of grossly immoral and/or irresponsibly behavior, five slang references to body parts let's just say which are below the beltline (yep, you guessed them!), three mentions of crude bodily functions, (to be exotic, one is even in German, and again, yes, those are the ones you're thinking of), and five vulgar and/or crass nicknames for women.
I have a succinct two word reply for this person: bite me. Have you taken a good look around at the world in which we live? Do you not see the manner in which common people (read: people who don't have a stick up their ass) communicate? By utilizing the lengua franca of the times in which we live, Vox actually enhances his positions. Had he been stuffy and full of himself (like you, sir, seem to be), the book would have been a crushing disappointment.

Well done, Vox. You had a fastball in your wheelhouse and you crushed it.