Stanley Fish takes aim one last time (June 24th) at the arguments of the three hapless atheists foisted upon us, for lack of more convincing fare, by book publishers around the world. Wherever I happened to be in the last two weeks - Chicago O’Hare, London Heathrow, Milano Malpensa, the better stocked bookstores of Tuscany - among the most prominently displayed books on sale, I found Richard Dawkins’s “The God Delusion” (2006). One also finds, with little difficulty, Christopher Hitchens’s “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” (2007), and Sam Harris’s “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and The Future of Reason” (2004, 2005). All three have been translated into Italian. The first and second are also available in German, with the last (though first to be published) soon to appear.
Fish’s approach to the rather ho-hum atheism of the three is helpful on several counts. For earlier summaries and discussion, go here and here. Before touching on Fish’s chief points in the third and final installment of his review, it is worth reiterating that atheism, properly understood, is a tonic of true faith. There is nothing to be afraid of, or if there is, we ought to be very afraid of many passages in the Bible, which question, doubt, and object to sins of omission and commission on God’s part with noticeable vehemence.