Book Review: The Magic of Reality

Book Review

I really flipping enjoyed this book. It feels like it is written for older children or young adults and I am not gonna lie, I think that’s a really good thing.

Mr Dawkins looks at a wide range of subjects, to name a few; light, evolution, earthquakes and miracles. For each section, he addresses the commonly held myths of the subject, showing us how before we could possibly understand what caused these things, we gave them unprovable supernatural explanations, which over time have fallen to the wayside in favour of reality. Then he moves on to demonstrate that as we scientifically study these things, we begin to understand how they really are within the time and place we find ourselves.

The way he writes is completely different to say, ‘The God Delusion’, which has a far harsher and more aggressive tone (not that this is a bad thing). In this book, he is gently leading the reader to glimpse at the incredible realities within the universe. Pointing out along the way how easy it is for humanity to place an unprovable supernatural answer into the spaces we yet don’t understand, (take consciousness today for example). Within ‘The God Delusion’ Mr Dawkins comes down hard on this sort of religious waffle, whereas in ‘The Reality of Magic’ he just repeats his chapter structure consistently, explaining what the topic is we are looking at, what people use to think and what we now know (because of science) is the literal answer to these things. You might have heard the sort of thing Mr Dawkins is talking against here often being referred to as ‘the God of the gaps’.

For example, he looks at the creation of our planet and explores the different answers people have given over the last 6000 years (recorded history). Then he takes a look at what we know, going as far back as we can possibly go (to the Big Bang), and shows how gas clouds, then stars, then planets were literally formed, (in an easy to understand way).

Here are some of the quote that I found really interesting and with this book.

‘Believe it or not, your 185-million-greats-grandfather was – a fish.’ I find this really helpful, just simply to point out how amazing it is that we are alive and here to comprehend the fact that we are alive. Blows my mind.

‘Indeed, to claim a supernatural explanation of something is not to explain it at all and, even worse, to rule out any possibility of its ever being explained.’ How often does this happen within church settings? Something happens and we attribute a supernatural explanation and leave it there. We do it with the bigger things in life as well. Purpose, meaning, morality, truth. We might never have full answers for these things, but that doesn’t mean we should hang our worldview upon the pin of the supernatural for fear of living without answers. If you don’t ask and seek then how do you ever expect to learn and find?

‘We should always be open-minded, but the only good reason to believe that something exists is if there is real evidence that it does.’ Unfounded spiritual claims are meaningless if they can’t be backed up with more than a feeling and worldview. My children exist, I can hold them, teach them, look at videos of them when they were younger and dream about the future with them.

For Mr Dawkins the ‘Magic’ expressed in this book is not a supernatural phenomenon type magic, nor is it the sort of thing we see on a stage performed by a magician. For Mr Dawkins ‘Magic’ is the wonder we express towards the literal realities we witness within the universe.

He doesn’t shy away from the fact that bad things happen, as well as good things. He also encourages everyone to have an open mind about what we just accept as true and to look into the ‘truth’ we are told properly. Which is an important thing to encourage, especially if this book is written for a younger and arguably more susceptible audience?

_End of Blog Blurb_

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.

Podcast: If you like what you read then you could always check out the podcast ‘When Belief Dies’, it is available on all major podcasting platforms or you can listen via YouTube. Dave and I upload and publish via Anchor FM each Wednesday at 7 am.

Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.

Time Frame: This blog is roughly six to nine months behind where I currently am at in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.

If you want to connect with me, then you can get in touch via any of the social media links that can be found at the top of the page. If you want to get every post straight to your inbox then you can do that by either following directly via WordPress or with your email address, whichever you prefer – the links are to the right.

I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂


Farewell For Now When Belief Dies

It's time to stop, even though it breaks my heart. This episode serves as my reason why.   -Sam
  1. Farewell For Now
  2. When Belief Dies #100 – 'Psychedelics, Philosophy & God' with Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes
  3. When Belief Dies #99 – 'Open and Relational Theology' with Thomas Jay Oord
  4. When Belief Dies #98 – 'The Take Over' with Daniel Kelly & Roger Bretherton
  5. When Belief Dies #97 – 'The End?' with Daniel Kelly

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