It is contended that more than 90% of the world’s people believe in some form of God when in fact there has been no hard evidence offered in support that one exists. I say, most of those 90% believe in faith and generally devolve their fate to a higher power especially when their things aren’t going so well. We are an unhappy race and generally tend to be worried about something or the other even when compared to the rest, we are better off. Ever look at any other animal apart from humans and wonder if anything apart from seeking food and rearing their young keeps them busy? Animals in zoos are the saddest lot because they have to do neither.
Getting back to the humans, assuming our extended needs and wants, you would find the happiest people in countries that are most prosperous but sadly, that isn’t true. Even political leaders need to emphasize their faith and belief in God if they have stand a modicum of chance to be elected to office. Atheists in America are the most hated group; more than the current whipping group of Muslims. Parents wouldn’t entrust their daughters to boys who openly declare themselves to be atheists. So it seems like a dire world for atheists, right?
Fortunately, if book sales are any indication then atheism is experiencing a sudden surge at least in interest. It may have started out with Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation. Both authors mince no words in associating religious belief in the growing irrationality of people and their subsequent impact on our political, social, and cultural life. However, the latest offering comes from a man who has always been one step ahead in espousing his disagreement with religion. Christopher Hitchens who authored God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything has a surprise hit on his hands as the book is flying off the shelves even in the so-called Bible belt:
Demand has been so strong that booksellers and wholesalers were unable to get copies a short time after it hit stores, creating what the publishing industry calls a “dark week.” One experienced publishing veteran suggests that Mr. Hitchens will likely earn more than $1 million on this book.
Currently, there are 296,000 copies in print as compared to the initially planned 40,000. Some might argue that it is Hitchen’s personality that is selling all these books and it doesn’t say much about the subject. His exchange with Anderson Cooper on the topic of Jerry Falwell’s death was typically him and quite entertaining and refreshing. However, atheism has become a hot topic these days and its proponents are unabashedly putting forth their viewpoint. After all, they aren’t running for office and any kind of publicity especially that of controversial nature helps book sales. And people are naturally curious.
Religion in America is not exactly going through its glory days right now thanks to countless scandals that have Catholic priests and evangelists speakers in the thick of it. People are disillusioned and want to at least hear what the non-believers have to say. Getting people to hear the other side of the argument was the hardest part and now that they are listening, it makes a whole lot of sense to them.