The God Argument by A.C. Grayling

Being a Christian, it may shock some people that I do enjoy reading anti-theist books. Many times I find the logic more rational and discussion more vibrant in books arguing against the existence of religion.

The God Argument by A.C. Grayling is an impressive work. The book is split into two simple parts: against religion and for humanism. The first part is an unsurprising step by step deconstruction of religion. Several well-thought out arguments are presented including: for every good thing done in the name of religion there is a ghastly, horrific act done in the name of religion, Intelligent Design has no place in science, and the lack of knowledge does not equate to supernatural or theistic evidence. All of these points are well argued and pretty accurate even if I find his conclusion lacking: “The cumulative case against religion shows it to be a hangover from the infancy of modern humanity, persistent and enduring because of the best interests of religious organisations, proselytization of children, complicity of temporal powers requiring the social and moral policing that religion offers.”

The second part of the book is the construction of humanism. “Why cannot we have art and music, personal consolation and inspiration, a positive and humane outlook on life?” This part of the book left me wanting more. I am sure a humanist would point out that my Christian worldview clouds my ability to find subjective goodness in our society, and I think that is a fair point.

However, I was not satisfied by the arguments for humanism. I am not saying I disagree with the arguments, I simply was left unconvinced.

I agree that the world’s greatest atrocities have been done in the name of religion, but if religion is simply a man-made fabrication, then ultimately the greatest atrocities have been done by humans and humans alone. They simply just used religion as their excuse. I am not convinced that a world without religion would lead to a kinder world, just a world with different excuses.

On the same level, there is a correlation between decreased religious involvement and decreased violence over the past few centuries, but as every economist would say: correlation does not imply causation.

A very solid read, and definitely worth it.