Reason’s Fifth Dawning, The End of Religionby Alan Jeskin proclaims itself to be a novel and blueprint for the end of religion. It begins with several independent stories of seemingly unrelated but highly successful people, and their response to the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11th, 2001. One story was that of how a US Navy fighter pilot responded by writing a logical book about the negative aspects of religion, that triggered the events. It had a small press, but reached some important people. The story continues with the book being read by a Wall Street billionaire whose business was destroyed in the attack, in which many of his friends and colleagues were killed. Another reader was a highly successful Texas preacher, who had been having reservations about the questionable quality of what he had been telling his large congregation and millions of TV followers. Each of these people becomes convinced that they personally must do something to expose the obvious myths of religion as stories, not of fact but of fantasy.
The billionaire invites the pilot to a meeting and they discuss what needs to be done and realize that to be successful they need some scientific expertise and a business plan. Thus they set up a non-profit corporation, and invite the needed experts to develop a method for bring the reality of religion to people in such a way that they can make responsible decisions about their beliefs and their behavior. They end up in Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley (37.8741 -122.2642) on the fifth floor, which I found strange because I have spent many happy hours there. Okay that’s a strange aside, but there’s more coincidence, at least for me.
Later in the book we become involved in a terrorist organization, which plots and executes a horrible bombing attack on a Dayton, Ohio shopping mall, killing and maiming many people. The incomprehensibly strange coincidence for me was that the terrorists operated out of the motel (39.9626 -84.1918) I stayed in for my 100th family reunion at Tipp City, a few miles north of Dayton.
The book proclaims itself to be revelatory about exposing the shortcomings of religion by exposing high-school level scientific reality to true believers, and having them convert to Humanism, or perhaps Atheism. Strangely the strongest arguments against religion were presented by a true believer Texas reverend in a radio interview, while debating one of the heroes we are following.
This book is well worth reading by any person who has become less than subservient to revealed religion. The stories flow well and blend together into a believable and fascinating story. It was marred by frequently misspelled words, (one of my personal shortcomings) but those should have been corrected by the copyeditor, so I don’t hold the author to that nitpicky standard.
In the end good sense triumphs over fantasy, and the reasonable people live more happily.