I (hopefully still) have a regular reader whose story mimics part of the preface,
“Chapter 9 quotes the comedian Julia Sweeney’s tragi-comic story of her parents’ discovery, through reading a newspaper, that she had become an atheist. Not believing in God they could just about take, but an atheist!”
He goes on to describe why we don’t hear so much about atheist groups,
“organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority”.
The book itself is not the easiest read, but it is worth the effort. I was at times pleasantly surprised by his manner, “do not call a child a christian child or a muslim child. Instead call them children of christian parents or children of muslim parents.” (Children haven’t had the chance to decide for themselves what they believe.) and others taken aback by his attitude to eradicate all religion, including the Amish.
He attempts to explain how religion may have come to be so strong and poses an interesting question for those who rely upon a god, heaven and hell to dispense punishment and reward for behavior on this planet, “how moral of a person are you when the only reason for your morality is a belief that you will be punished in the afterlife?” It’s a good question. He also notes that christians are way too gleeful at the thought of non-christians burning in hell. What kind of morality is that?
He fails to bring us to an understanding of why so many people believe in a nebulous being in the sky and how religions developed to be so strong all around the world. Perhaps it is because there is no scientific explanation for why people believe in something that is not scientifically provable.