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Daniel Dennett's "Breaking the Spell"

I’ve just completed my review of Daniel Dennett's new book on religion, Breaking the Spell. Like his other books, this one is very readable and also contentious. I found it stimulating, with plenty of good insights.

I was left with the following thought. In the USA, at least, it seems to be pretty well impossible for a politician to appear to be indifferent to religion, let alone to proclaim himself or herself an atheist. But that’s not all. Dennett tells us (p.338) that there are eleven senators or congressmen who are members of the Fellowship Foundation, a secretive Christian organization that has been influential in Washington for decades; Dennett provides their names. George Bush, we understand, has weekly Bible meetings for his staff in the White House. Do they read the Book of Revelation at these meetings, and do they believe it?

All of which makes me ask this question: Which would you rather have in the White House or in 10 Downing Street: someone who was a sincere believer or someone who was just pretending to be?

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