An atheist in full cry assembles scientific and historical evidence upholding his conviction that a supernatural God is a scientifically baseless human fantasy cynically upheld through the ages by bogus religions.
In this rigorously well-argued philosophic tract, debut author VandenBerghe, a retired senior civil servant in the Belgian Ministry of Finance now in his mid-80s, maintains that the more science discovers, the less educated people will believe in God. One result, he says, will be eventual mass inoculation against the plague of religion. “The Church has always been afraid of humankind’s advancing knowledge, sensing that the falsehood of religion would therewith be brought to light,” he writes. To offer proof of science’s debunking of religion, VandenBerghe reviews scientific theories and discoveries ranging from the Big Bang, Einstein’s theory of relativity, Planck’s quantum theory, and, more recently, string theory and the overreaching M-theory, which, he notes, is, in the opinion of theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, “the only candidate for a complete theory of the universe.” These portions of the book make for heavy reading. It’s not always clear whether the author commands full understanding of these abstractions or is merely regurgitating what others have said about them. But no matter; he still succeeds in conveying their world-changing views. In chapters composed of numbered paragraphs reminiscent of a legal brief, he also delves in the historical damage to human progress wrought by religion, sparing none of the major faiths. He declares Jesus a myth and Jewish and Christian scriptures fabrications but reserves particular animus for Islam: “Muslims make one think of Ivan the Terrible, the first tsar of Russia, who prayed three hours a day and spent the rest of the day torturing his many prisoners.” And if the existence of a God, much less a personal God, is dubious at best, what gives life meaning? VandenBerghe intrepidly asserts that simple, honest humanism contains all the goodness humanity needs and without the necessity of a fictional supreme being. But he goes beyond, expressing the fervent hope that atheism will spread outward from an increasingly godless Europe to the entire world. In a stupendous understatement, the author does at least concede that “were religion to disappear today, many people would feel a void.”
A sharply written treatise dangerous for the weak of faith.