As I often do, I picked a book off the shelf the other day to keep me company through a lonely lunch. It had been a while, so I revisited The God Delusion and picked a random chapter.
I’d forgotten how FUN a book it can be in places! I give you a bit of pp. 34-35:
Jefferson heaped ridicule on the doctrine that, as he put it, ‘There are three Gods’, in his critique of Calvinism. But it is especially the Roman Catholic branch of Christianity that pushes its recurrent flirtation with polytheism towards runaway inflation. The Trinity is (are?) joined by Mary, ‘Queen of Heaven’, a goddess in all but name, who surely runs God himself a close second as a target of prayers. The pantheon is further swollen by an army of saints, whose intercessory power makes them, if not demigods, well worth approaching on their own specialist subjects. The Catholic Community Forum helpfully lists 5,120 saints, together with their areas of expertise, which include abdominal pains, abuse victims, anorexia, arms dealers, blacksmiths, broken bones, bomb technicians and bowel disorders, to venture no further than the Bs. And we mustn’t forget the four Choirs of Angelic Hosts, arrayed in nine orders: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels (heads of all hosts), and just plain old Angels, including our closest friends, the ever-watchful Guardian Angels. What impresses me about Catholic mythology is partly its tasteless kitsch but mostly the airy nonchalance with which these people make up the details as they go along. It is just shamelessly invented.
Richard Dawkins (2006), The God Delusion
When Dawkins booms from the stage to “Ridicule them!”, as he famously did at the Reason Rally – I’m sure this is what he meant. Just to look at the claims of religion, repeat them publicly, and call bullshit on it.
We don’t have much choice – doing it with a straight face would just make it too hard!
Bravo Prof. Dawkins.