Can reason and religion ever really co-exist?

A new book Dangerous Illusions: How Religion Deprives Us Of Happiness argues for a shift in our thinking about religion

Thursday 06 December 2018 11:21

"After thousands of years in Christian belief, it's simply impossible to carry on believing this nonsense," contends author Vitaly Malkin, a Russian philanthropist, businessman and philosopher, whose book Dangerous Illusions: How Religion Deprives Us of Happiness is a passionate, fearless dissection of humanity’s thinking on religion. "There is no God at all," Malkin continues, "Perhaps he never existed, or maybe He existed at first but then died..."

Malkin’s provocative polemic, which is based on nearly a decade of dedicated research, explores how religion and social utopias are attacking our freedom of thought and expression. In other words, Dangerous Illusions is a battle cry for the human race to throw off the shackles of religion in favour of common sense and reason. This challenging book tackles taboo subjects with refreshing gusto and offers a new way of seeing things.

This engaging but also cerebral work not only reads well but looks sensational, thanks to over 100 full-colour, rich illustrations. In short, Dangerous Illusions is an ideal gift for those seeking to read a lovingly-researched (religious) debate.

The author, who became interested in philosophy and the history of religion while engaged in his philanthropic activities for the Fondation Era and Fondation Espoir, sets out to explore the "irrational" demands that religion makes of human beings and asks the reader to question what benefit these acts actually offer humans in this life. Malkin argues: "Delete all religious channels, stop idealising other people and listening to their opinion. Do not blindly believe what is written, and doubt everything, including this book."

Malkin scrutinises topics such as suffering and evil, pleasure and asceticism, sex and celibacy through the lens of the three monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It may sound overly heavy-handed but this well-researched book is also imbued with an impish sense of humour and whimsicality; it’s like a giddy mix of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, America’s Jon Krakauer and Richard “The God Delusion” Dawkins.

He also controversially maintains that reason and religion cannot actually co-exist, and humankind will only be truly happy if we are able to shake off the illusions of religion in order to live a life more rooted in the present. Humans might have made considerable progress in the past few centuries – which most people in the world are reaping the benefits from – yet we continue to blindly follow religion, Malkin forcefully argues. He even goes as far as to assert that our “advanced society” is in peril of losing our secular values, and that religion – and the world’s commitment to living under its illusions – poses the greatest danger to our society and our mental wellbeing.

For further details, and where to buy, go to Dangerous Illusions