Onfray reviewed...

Michael Onfray has an axe to grind and it’s a big axe and very big grind. His issue is religion. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all come in for a serve in his book The Athiest Manifesto: The case against Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Now I’m not sure what a Manifesto* actually is, but in my brief reading of it, his book follows in the genre of other militant Atheists on their crusade to rid the world of religion. It seems there are a number of atheists such as Onfray and Dawkins who can only be described as evangelical in their passion against religion.

Now I haven’t read the whole book in fact I took a what I’d call an extended flick through it. I did however read most of a chapter in which Onfray took issue with apostle Paul. In the chapter he accused him of being deranged and crazy. During my brief survey I couldn’t help but notice the lack of referencing material in Onfrays book. He occasionally (rarely) references some Bible verses. But by and large he paraphrases vast tracts of Pauline and philosophical thought without so much as a solid mooring point.

My second problem was with the tone of Onfray’s book. Here was a man, an obviously intelligent man, who seemingly had reached conclusions based on flawed presuppositions and without so much a glimpse of humility or seeking to understand the Bible on it’s own terms.

You can have a look for yourself on google books here or read a longer more in depth review here. If a manifesto is atheist speak for “Rant” then Onfray’s book is at least honest.

*I do know basically what one is



kath said... 10/05/2007 9:21 am  

interesting stuff. what was his perceptions of jesus?

i never really understood the point of athiest evangelists.

oh, and it's 'by and large', not 'by enlarge':P

Alan said... 10/05/2007 10:52 am  

I like his bit that says: (excuse me for typing all this out..)

"As long as religion remains a purely private matter, we contend simply with neuroses, psychoses, and other personal factors. We deal with what aberrations we can, provided they do not threaten or endager the lives of others...
My atheism leaps to life when private belief becomes a public matter, when in the name of a personal mental pathology we organize a world for others."

With: 'We this, We that, My atheism leaps to life.. etc. etc.' how can it not be a rant? I think you nailed it on the head Mike.. :P
someone should quote him Matthew 7:3-5.. :) but because I am neurotic, psychotic and deluded, I guess it doesn't hold any coherence whatsoever.. ;)

Anonymous said... 10/05/2007 2:18 pm  

Of course only christians should be allowed to proselytise.

mike said... 10/05/2007 3:53 pm  

I don't think you'll find me complaining about proselytizing... you'll notice I disapprove of the tone.

Anonymous said... 10/05/2007 5:27 pm  

I know you've probably thought of this...

But if you ever get the chance to really discuss this book with an atheist, you'd better read all of it, intentionally...it sounds pretty bad to read any review where someone says "now I haven't read the whole book..." Ain't that probably what this dude is doing with the Bible? Don't copy him.

Maybe it's hard to read but with your Sword you can make it through alive of course! And you'll be stronger than when you started.

And remember that no form of logic can get someone to believe, especially an "evangelical atheist." A veil covers their hearts and it's the Holy Spirit that must speak to them.

And pray for athiests, and love them. Cuz gosh, it sucks to not know God.

2 Tim 2:23-26

mike said... 10/05/2007 7:55 pm  

Thankyou for your comments Annon

However criticism is taken more seriously from those with the guts to put a name to their comments or at least email me privately.

If you'd like to read the book in detail and review it be my guest I'd be happy to post it up on my blog.

kath said... 10/05/2007 8:36 pm  

to clarify, i think atheists are more than entitled to preach their beliefs. i just don't understand why you would bother. meh.

i picked on your typo mike because i know others have pointed it out before ;)

mike said... 10/05/2007 8:40 pm  

Thanks Kath

Christy said... 10/06/2007 9:35 am  

I'm the second Annon. I have nothing to do with the first one (I had to look up what that word meant!) I posted as annon because I'm a nobody who's never posted here and was scared ._. I'm sorry. But my comments were not meant to be criticism at all. I wish they hadn't been taken that way.

When I said "I know you've already thought of this..." I was serious. I admire your writing a lot and really honestly did think you would agree with me. But I'm awful at communicating, so now I can see how it could have been taken wrong, especially if you assumed off the bat that because I was an annon, I had malicious intent.

forgive me?

I'll also admit guilty on being a hypocrite. I've never even heard of that book before and don't think ever I'll read it. I'd have to read the Book of Mormon and Koran first, since I talk to a lot more from those groups than hard core athiests...and I'll probably never fully get through those books either. But consequently, I'll probably never write a review of those books.

Which I do think is where you are in the wrong. (and now here's some criticism).

Because can't you see that to write a "review" of a book on atheism without reading it, just pointing out a few points you found of how the writer was wrong, to a bunch of Christians who would already agree that atheism is wrong, could just be a long way to say "look at how stupid atheists are! Aren't we so much better than them?"

I hoped it wasn't. So I, on an exhausted whim, thought I'd remind everyone to have a heart and pray for those who would embrace the theology of a book such as this. (Hey, we can't attribute our understanding of the Good News to ourselves. We'd never be smart enough to figure it out on our own!) but apparently I didn't say that so well.

so again I'm sorry. Maybe this post was an criticism, but know that it's being done scared, I still like your posts a lot, and nothing harsh was meant by the first post at all.

mike said... 10/06/2007 9:56 am  

Firstly thanks for being brave and sticking your neck out it's really appreciated. Thanks also for the apology.

I'm not a great reader. In reality I find the task of reading difficult and reading a book like this when I have so many others siting on my shelf would just be silly.

If my tone seemed ranty in my original post, it was intended to be that way (irony). I also wasn't aiming for a comprehensive review (rather I linked to one) and my style was more a series of observations. Many other "atheists" I have talked to out on the street, have similar criticisms of Dawkins' book (to do with tone etc).

I do have a great deal of respect for my atheistic friends. I'm sorry if it seemed as though I was bagging these people out.

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