Outgrowing God fills in a much needed gap in atheist literature. Though there are many books for adults there isn’t necessarily a popular or famous one intended to be more accessible for a young audience. This book seems to solve these problems, but how well?
When you think of marketing books towards a younger audience of teenagers, an immediate problem comes to mind. They don’t exactly read very much. As well as that paying for a book, when you know anything at all about how to pirate books online (hint – type the name of the book with PDF on the end) is very difficult to even want to do. Even I, as the oldest teenager, didn’t pay for it, but instead listened to it with a free audible trial online – and I run a blog about atheism!
So I think Dawkins made the right decision in making it easily accessible for an older audience. I have read “The God Delusion” and would say that it’s a much better book overall, however, for some specific audiences I would sooner recommend “Outgrowing God”
This would obviously be for younger readers and theists. It’s less confrontational, more accessible and also I think would make a person think more and consider whether or not they are wrong.
The best way to demonstrate this is with the titles themselves. The concept of a “God Delusion” immediately puts theists on the defensive and brings to mind thoughts of mental illness and deliberate deception. “Outgrowing God” on the other hand, just appears to be more appealing. It associates belief with God with simple childishness rather than illness, and “Outgrowing” rather than seemingly stating “you are wrong” brings to mind “I think your better than this” which is honestly a much easier and less defensive perspective to take as you read a book to challenge your views. Though obviously it will still put a theist reader on the defensive.
I think the phrasing of “Outgrowing” is just perfect for another reason. For many people, including some atheist adults religion still has a large effect over their lives. Whether that’s a fear of hell, or of guilt, or of not being accepted for who they are. Although these things in reality are far from childish, I could see phrasing it in this way easily having a positive effect for people suffering due to the consequences of religion. This, to me at least, is kept up throughout the book in a very non-patronising, non-condescending and encouraging kind of way, and I just think that’s brilliant.
In terms of what the book actually contains it’s split into two parts. The first titled “Goodbye God” opens with quite a compelling argument against theism, and then moves on to discuss how we can still have morality and remain moral without God.
The next section is titled “Evolution and Beyond” which explains evolution, how we evolved to be religious and provides a good case against intelligent design. There is also much more general science that is explained, particularly how patterns of immense beauty can occur naturally.
If you have spent a long time in the atheist community then the first section won’t really feature anything new to you, as well as some sections in the second part. However, particularly in the area of science it talks and explains concepts that were still new and interesting to me. And anyway, regardless of whether you’ve heard the arguments before or not, Dawkins’ excellent writing style really makes them engaging to read nether-the-less.
Theirs not much more I can say without going into great details within the book, so if any of this has piqued your interested then you can find my affiliate link to it’s Amazon page where you try reading a free sample here!
I recommend getting it on free trial if possible, but if you like to read the book, physically buying it will give me some money for recommending it to you. Not a bad deal for anyone if you already wanted the book!
If you have read the book for yourself, what did you think about it? Are there any other books you would like me to talk about? I’d really like to hear your thoughts!