In response to Richard Dawkins’s book, “The God Delusion,” psychologist Joanna McGrath and theologian Alister McGrath published a book, “The Dawkins Delusion” to refute the claims of the former. The McGraths are a married couple and their completed studies have led to doctorates in both religious studies and science. Alister is the principle author of the response and his own background is quite similar to that of Dawkins. For this reason, the polarity of their opinions is quite intriguing as they have both come from similar experiences. Richard Dawkins is known across the globe as a very militant atheist and the majority of his books deal with exposing the flaws and contradictions that can be found in theology.
One of the primary arguments between the two books concerns the origin of religions and how they have come to prosper. Richard Dawkins god delusion is defined in his book that he believes religions are formed as a byproduct of natural evolution and exist as a virus of the mind. McGrath counters that humans are simply not capable of understanding the true nature of religion and that a person must first be properly psychologically primed for religion. Humans have not yet reached this point and thus, it is pointless to attempt to discuss a subject that is incomprehensible. McGrath goes further, suggesting that the human experience of religious is more possible through the use memes, a collection of cultural symbols or ideas that are transferred through the basic actions of writing and discussion.
Another topic that is debated between the two books is the idea of Dawkins god delusion. The Dawkins god delusion states that the idea of a god is just a form of delusion that is extremely widespread and that many people base their lives around. McGrath agrees on the danger of delusions and advises that people should not live their lives based on a delusion. The problem with both schools of thought is that there is no way to conclusively prove or disprove that the human idea of a god is a delusion or a fact.
The clinical definition of delusion only serves to complicate matters further. Delusion requires that three conditions be met, all of which can be seen as present in those that believe in a god. The first is that the views must be held with true conviction and certainty. The second requirement is that the thought are not changeable through the course of natural discussion or scientific proof. The last requirement is that the beliefs are considered impossible or clearly false. For those that are atheists, a typical religious person would definitely fit all three requirements of clinical delusion. The major problem with these definitions of delusion is that they are based on what the majority of people consider as possible or impossible. As has been shown many times previously in history, the majority is not always correct. While the debate between Richard Dawkins The God Delusion and Alister McGrath’s “The Dawkins Delusion” continues to rage on, neither side is any closer to victory.