If you describe yourself as religious I can promise you that this book will offend you, but then you also shouldn’t be on this website!
For those who don’t know, a meme is something which is passed on to another person(s) by non-genetic means.
Webb makes it clear from the very first sentence that the object of the book is to rid you of your religious beliefs. Religion would be anything and everything to do with blind adherence to centuries- old doctrines, rooted in the fearful and ignorant devotion to a supernatural being.
According to Webb, religion makes you insular and complacent, which I agree with, having spent most of my life in this web, being told to never question anything.
People have this idea that atheists have ‘lost their religion’ because they are angry at god, or something terrible has happened to them. This is not the case, atheism is a journey, a slow but methodical trek down a road of discovery that leads eventually to God (and gods) becoming unnecessary. It is not rooted in anger or evil or fear or guilt. Atheists cannot find a shard of evidence to prove the existence of supernatural beings.
The book is divided into 3 sections with funky headings:
Section 1 A Picture s Worth A Thousand (Trillion) Worlds
In this section Webb looks at the mind blowing size of our universe, which we can now discover with the help of Hubble and other scientific instruments
“we’re starting to realize that solar systems are just as common as suns are. That is to say, it appears as if most stars have planets circling them. If we assume our own solar system is typical of other solar systems, there may be as many as one thousand trillion planets in this one photograph alone. One thousand trillion alien worlds. One thousand trillion possibilities for life. One thousand trillion statements on our own unimaginable unimportance.”
2) Uncle Ed, Scrat and the Artichoke
Here Webb discusses evolution. In his own words: “The evidence for evolution is so ridiculously overwhelming that its truth, like the truth of the theory of gravity or the theory of the sun- centred model of the solar system, isn’t in question. What I ‘d like to do instead is just take a few minutes to explain one small part of it. I hope you stick with me, because evolution, properly understood, is one of the most beautiful, powerful and deceptively simple ideas ever proposed.”
Section 3: Mostly harmless
Webb confessed that this section is a personal rant about those people who cannot quite commit to “getting out of the closet”, wanting to be everything to everybody. Personally I was on this side of the fence for a very long time. I did actually think it was harmless to do so. Not so.
Consider the following story from the Bible: The Jews were enslaved in Egypt. They cried out to God for help. Moses told Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go, otherwise God was going to be very angry. Pharaoh refused, and so God sent plague after plague upon the Egyptians: hail, boils, frogs, etc. Still Pharaoh refused, and so God told the Jewish people that he was going to kill the first- born sons of every Egyptian (mass murder!) in the night, and that they should mark their own doors with blood so that God would know to pass over their homes! Surely an almighty god would not need signs! Yet, today Pass-over is still observed, celebrating the murder of children?!!
Personally I found the Conclusion and Atheism Q & A sections at the end of the book most valuable. Read it if you dare :-).
Our life is now, right here, and we must make the best of every moment. It is insane to live only in the hope of a better life ‘in the hereafter’. If you have any doubts about this, remember knowledge is power. Knowledge frees you from fairy tales and horrors. Read & learn more!