Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Yes, why indeed

Are we really at the point where one can cite screeds and books that feed conspiracy nuts to question the need for all books?
I like John McWhorter and he's a bright guy. (Good book, this).
But if some people buy books to have their beliefs reinforced, that's a fault of the individual, not the book.
' Mr. Hitchens’s book is, unsurprisingly, great writing. But the number of people who will contact Mr. Hitchens thanking him for writing about the logical error in the religious faith they were raised in and trying to convince them to become atheists will be very, very small. People do not give up their religious faith on the basis of suasion. The faith is, by definition, beyond the reach of logic. So for all of its entertainment value, how could the book affect the world beyond that? There have long been prominent religious skeptics. In the Gilded Age, orator Robert Ingersoll was titillating audiences declaring, “toilers are paid with the lash, babes are sold, the innocent stand on scaffolds, and the heroic perish in flames” and “yet we are told that it is our duty to love this God.” Yet, these days, religion is on the rise in America. Ingersoll changed nothing. From what I see, the effects of books like “God Is Not Great” will be to make nonbelievers feel more confident in expressing their views. But they will not convert believers, which means that these anti-God books will serve mainly to elevate the rancor in our public discussion."

So there you have it. Books can elevate the temperature of debate to dangerous levels, or be ignored and/or blown out of the water by movies.
Because surely no one goes to an Oliver Stone film expecting to have their emotions manipulated, right?
Somebody get this man a novel.

Posted by Dave

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