Sunday, March 9, 2008

Can we really learn to love people who aren't like us? By Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

The humorist Alan Coren was told by his publisher that if he wanted to write a bestseller it should be about sport or pets. So he wrote a book called Golfing for Cats. Today I suspect his publisher would tell him to attack religion. Atheism sells.

First The End of Faith by Sam Harris was a success in the US. Then came Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell, Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion and A. C. Grayling's Against all Gods. And now Christopher Hitchens's God is not Great is high in the charts both sides of the Atlantic.

There have been, of course, various ecclesiastical ripostes, usually that atheism is itself a faith and you can have secular fundamentalists as well as religious ones. This is fine if we enjoy knockabout polemics, but if we are honest, it's not good enough.

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