The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
It’s clear why Richard Dawkins writes the way he does. For one, he’s a great writer. Second, he’s a mind that doesn’t necessarily make a movie. That is, he’s so friggin’ smart that when he starts to talk or even when he starts one of his books, everything else seems to shut-up, pipe-down or crawl under a dunce cap. And he’s probably the most academic fellow I would rather not have a beer with. That said, if you’ve ever questioned religion or come up with a thought in the middle of the night regarding the meaning of it all, don’t worry. Dawkins doesn’t have the answer(s) for you. What he does have, though, is a a lot of ammunition. Ammunition that every thinking person needs to get through an evening with religious zealots who believe in tea-pots in the sky.
“Let’s remind ourselves of the terminology. A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who, in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation. in many theistic belief systems, the deity is intimately involved in human affairs. He answers prayers; forgives or punishes sins; intervenes in the world by performing miracles; frets about good and bad deeds, and knows when we do them (or even think of doing them). A diest, too, believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place. The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs. Pantheists don’t believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a non-supernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings. Deists differ from theists in their God does not answer prayers, is not interested in sins or confessions, does not read our thoughts and does not intervene with capricious miracles. Deists differ from pantheists in that the deist God is some kind of cosmic intelligence, rather than the pantheist’s metaphoric or poetic synonym for the laws of the universe. Pantheism is sexed-up atheism. Deism is watered-down theism.” -Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion