Famed atheist and Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has said he is committed to making his bestselling book “The God Delusion” available for free across the Middle East. This comes after he found out that millions of people were risking prosecution by illegally downloading online versions of the book on the internet.
Dawkins claims that some 30 million copies of the book have been illegally downloaded – with 3 million downloads in Saudi Arabia alone.
“I derive huge encouragement from that,” he told The Times.
Now, Dawkins says that he has embarked on an ambitious project to provide free downloadable PDFs of seven of his books, including “The God Delusion,” “in the language of Islamic countries.”
His controversial bestseller argues that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that the sincerely-held belief in a personal God should qualify as a delusion. Dawkins also argues that religion is not a requirement for living a moral and meaningful life.
“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it,” he writes in the book. “Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base thought.”
More than three million copies of “The God Delusion” have been sold since its release back in 2006.
Dawkins’ particular brand of morality has led to some extremely controversial remarks. On Twitter, he once claimed that it would be “immoral” to knowingly allow the birth of a Down Syndrome child.
“Abort it and try again,” he said. “It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
He later qualified his remarks in what he called an “apology” statement, as the Guardian reported:
“If your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down’s baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare.”
The 76-year-old academic suffered a stroke back in February 2016, but has since recovered. When asked in a BBC Radio 4 interview whether he considered asking God to let him live, he bluntly responded, “absolutely not, no.”
(H/T: The Times)