I own a couple of Werleman’s books: ‘God Hates You, Hate Him Back’ & ‘Jesus Lied – He Was Only Human‘. I’d never heard of him beforehand, but I was happy to receive them as Christmas gifts a few years back – my Dad’s cool like that.
They’re ok – they don’t cover any new ground, the humour is a bit too school yard for my taste and reading them created the impression of an author who’d spied an opening in a growing a market – but it doesn’t really matter. I decided they were essentially good, as they were accessible (that’s a polite way of saying ‘dumbed down’).
The so-called ‘Four Horsemen/New Atheists’ are often accused of being elitist, as if that’s somehow an invective. Whilst not really sharing this concern, I think I understand one aspect of it. We have a group of incredibly intelligent, likely privileged (white – must mention white!) and qualified individuals who write on topics in such a manner that may require a life-time worth of research and expertise to fully get to grips with. Not everyone feels this way of course, but it’s not necessarily entry-level stuff for some either. I count myself amongst those that have their own intelligence challenged (and often pummelled) by the ideas these people so effortlessly hold court on. So I also consider any contribution to a body of literature that’s critical of religion to be a good thing, especially if it reaches a broader audience.
Needless to say we won’t be seeing Werleman follow up with ‘Allah Hates You, Hate Him Back’ or ‘Muhammad Lied – He Was Only A Charlatan’ any time soon, as he’s currently preoccupied with the deeply courageous task of mocking Republicans, ‘New Atheists’, and bravely highlighting the dangers posed by talk show hosts & neuroscientists (see the article ‘What atheists like Bill Maher have in common with medieval Christian crusaders‘). Islamic terrorism can wait – or rather, is explained away as a product of politics, not a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam – as though the two are mutually exclusive. Drop in a pinch of white guilt, a dash of masochism and you’ve already heard this elsewhere, many times before, many years ago.