I have only just started the book, but I am immediately struck by the differences between Dawkins and Hitchens. So far Dawkins is much more restrained in the over the top rhetoric. I find it much more readable. I appreciate Dawkins brutal honesty here as well. He is not just interested in conversation between worldviews or expression of his own beliefs. He states plainly that he wants theists to read this book and become atheists.
Dawkins’ first chapter deals with religion that can be respected and that which cannot. Dawkins examines the God talk of Albert Einstein. Christians sometimes quote Einstein as if he had some good things to say about the God of the Bible. The truth is that Einstein explicitly denied a personal God. There are those that speak of religion as the awe one feels at the beauty and complexity of the universe but have no place for a supernatural personality in charge. Dawkins has respect for this kind of religion. For those who believe in a personal God and supernatural revelation, there is no place for respect. To illustrate that, Dawkins reminds us of the Muslim reaction to the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. In this way, Dawkins is putting himself in a position of advantage. He is not just taking aim at Christianity but all religion. Even if there was something good in Christianity, he could look at all the bad things in other religions and still conclude that religion is bad. The other observation is that Dawkins is appealing to emotional reaction rather than rational argument. Many people, non-religious and religious (including me) were disturbed by the Muslim reaction to the cartoons. But that event says nothing to the existence of God. There have been plenty of abuses of science and yet surely we should not abandon science. However, Dawkins knows that people are influenced not just by reasons but also by emotion.