Thursday, June 14, 2007
The "Religion" List
The June 4 issue of Publishers Weekly includes an article on the latest craze of anti-religious books--and they're sitting pretty on the bestseller list. I've been watching the PW "religion" list for quite awhile now. You're likely to see Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion sitting right next to one by Joyce Meyer or Don Piper/Cecil Murphy's Ninety MInutes in Heaven.
Three books in a row by atheists are making this list: Dawkins', Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation, and Christopher Hitchens' God is not Great. The March 12 list had Dawkins at #1, Harris at #2, Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore at #3, and The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren at #4. Jonathan Karp, editor-in-chief of Twelve, publisher of Hitchens' book, says these books stem from "a manifestation of the anger that people are feeling towrd piety in the culture, fears about Islamic extremism and frustration with the way religion is continuously injected into our political life." Hitchens has appeared on The Daily Show with John Stewart, CNN's Lou Dobbs and Anderson Cooper, and Charlie Rose. He's also been publicly debating with religious leaders about his beliefs. Another publisher--Da Capo--has already signed Hitchens up for The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer. The book will include writings from Darwin, Einstein, Twain, Russell, Jefferson, Paine and Marx, among other. It will release this fall.
Just as many Christian publishers responded to The DaVinci Code novel with rebuttals of the beliefs it espoused, so they are responding to these new nonfiction titles. (For example--The Dawkins Delusion? published by InterVarsity Press.)
At the recent Book Expo America convention a group of atheist authors, including Hitchens, were on a panel sponsored by PW on "Atheism: The Rise of a New Subcategory in Religion."
I find the situation disheartening but not surprising. God is using popular culture today--books, movies, music--to reach many people. And whatever God uses, Satan will do all the more to twist the medium for his own gain. It is particularly sad, however, to see names like Dawkins and Hitchens at the top of the "religion" bestseller list.