... religious strictures, many of which involve compiling lists of what is forbidden and dreaming up creatively horrendous punishments for those who fall short.
[de Waal] compares the “neo-atheists” to people standing outside a cinema, earnestly pointing out that Leonardo DiCaprio did not really go down with the Titanic—in other words, a crowd of crashing bores spoiling the fun by stating the obvious to people who know better than to take a film as gospel truth.
Much as I usually enjoy your work, you sometimes post quotations without enough context for me to figure out what you actually mean.
So, I'm not sure if you think the witticism is just clever (which I guess it kind of is), or if it's insightful or especially obtuse.
I'm not certain, but I think the reviewer is being a little sarcastic in this quotation, implying that de Waal is unjustifiably trivializing neo-atheists.
New (or Gnu) atheists such as myself say, duh. We don't picket Titantic precisely because no one takes it literally, and we do criticize religion precisely because millions, perhaps billions, of people do take it literally. There are lots reasonable points of contention, but that no one takes religion seriously seem a position so counter-intuitive that it requires support more elaborate than assertion, incredulity, or personal experience.
And my apologies if I am merely reiterating the point you're making by juxtaposing the quotations. Like I said, I don't always know what you're trying to say.
Religion is a fraud, and may anybody who disagrees with me burn eternally in hell.
Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank
I can't see any inconsistency between Grand Guignol hells and atheism. After all, the evidence for Satan is so much stronger than that for God.
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