Richard Dawkins‘ latest book Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide is now available for pre-order. Think of it as The God Delusion, but for a teenage audience.
It’s not surprising for the author of a book that sold millions of copies to milk that cow and write a children’s version — and he is, in fact, working on a similar book aimed at even younger children — it makes particular sense for Dawkins to do it since he said in The God Delusion, controversially, that pushing a religious label on children is a form of mental child abuse.
The rhetoric was strong, but his point was sensible. He said the phrase “Christian child” or “Muslim child” was unfair to kids too young to understand those religions. They never subscribed to those beliefs, so why were parents foisting their faith upon them? It made as much sense as saying “This is my toddler. He’s a Republican.”
So a book about atheism, geared at people finally old enough to think for themselves, is right in his wheelhouse. According to its description, Dawkins plans to answer some of the biggest stumbling blocks young people have when they first begin to doubt their parents’ religion.
… Dawkins explains how the natural world arose without a designer — the improbability and beauty of the “bottom-up programming” that engineers an embryo or a flock of starlings — and challenges head-on some of the most basic assumptions made by the world’s religions: Do you believe in God? Which one? Is the Bible a “Good Book”? Is adhering to a religion necessary, or even likely, to make people good to one another? Dissecting everything from Abraham’s abuse of Isaac to the construction of a snowflake, Outgrowing God is a concise, provocative guide to thinking for yourself.
Just to put this out there: There’s no shortage of Christian apologists who have written books tailored to a younger audience, and the Bible itself has all kinds of children’s editions. But when Dawkins’ book comes out, you can expect Christian writers to accuse Dawkins of trying to indoctrinate children into godlessness. Even though he’s doing exactly what they do, except from a different perspective. The difference is he actually has evidence on his side.
The book is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on October 8.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)