Run, little Amish girl, run!

Mark the day, October 18, 2006: Ginny’s going to meet Richard Dawkins! (err, listen to him give a public lecture.) As I’ve said many times on this blog, I love the man and his clever, lucid writing. If you’re in the market for a good read, pick up his new book, The God Delusion, which is now ranked #9 on amazon.com’s bestseller list.

Fair warning: As a large book, it can be a bit awkward trying to hide the cover jacket from nosy (and potentially pious) seat neighbors on the subway…but then again, the book jacket is orange and metallic silver, so the casual observer might just mistake it for Michael Crichton.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes…for the first, I actually laughed out loud.

On the Amish (after explaining why respecting religious “diversity” is a load of crap):

“The rest of us are happy with our cars and computers, our vaccines and antibiotics. But you quaint little people with your bonnets and breeches, your horse buggies*, your archaic dialect and your earth-closet privies, you enrich our lives. Of course you must be allowed to trap your children with you in your seventeenth-century time warp, otherwise something irretrievable would be lost to us: a part of the wonderful diversity of human culture. A small part of me can see something in this. But the larger part is made to feel very queasy indeed.”

(*I had initially planned to write my thesis on the non-electric, and thus “green” agricultural technologies used by the Pennsylvania Amish. However, after spending a few days at the library reading about their faith and seriously deranged customs, I was creeped out enough out to drop the Plain People.)

On religion’s role in the war in Iraq:

“Our Western politicians avoid mentioning the R word (religion), and instead characterize their battle as a war against ‘terror’, as though terror were a kind of spirit or force, with a will and a mind of its own. Or they characterize terrorists as motivated by pure ‘evil’. But they are not motivated by evil...They are not psychotic; they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational. They perceive their acts to be good, not because of some warped personal idiosyncrasy, and not because they have been possessed by Satan, but because they have been brought up, from the cradle, to have total and unquestioning faith.”

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