Tug of War for America’s soul

TODAY-Weekend • July 14, 2007

Tiffany Tan

Twenty-five-year-old John Pritzlaff is among hundreds of Americans who responded to The Blasphemy Challenge — daring atheists to upload into YouTube “a short message damning yourself to Hell” in exchange for a DVD.

The challenge, launched by a United States-based atheist group known as the Rational Response Squad last year, targets teenagers to renounce religion.

In the US, some atheists are becoming increasingly visible and outspoken about their beliefs: That faith in God is irrational, that it should be replaced by pure scientific reasoning and that religion is a destructive force. They are making their views heard not only via blogs, TV interviews or public debates, but also with the help of books that have penetrated bestseller lists.

Two of the hottest books in the category are The God Delusion by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by journalist Christopher Hitchens.

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