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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Francis S. Collins "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" A Review.

Francis S. Collins' "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" is an excellent book that should be read by virtually all audiences, adolescent to adult. It's easy to read, and it addresses issues of great import. Francis S. Collins provides a reader-friendly, and yet authoritative, refutation of public figures working to create conflict in religion and science by distorting the true meaning of religion and science. Given the import of these issues, the book's readability and the authority of Francis S. Collins, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, is director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. He led the Human Genome Project. This places him in the very top tier of scientists, worldwide, alive today. Given that he presided over the groundbreaking mapping of the human genome, his name will live in science history for as long as that history is written.

Francis S. Collins is a Christian. He was not raised a Christian; as he recounts in this book, his parents were "unconventional" "freethinkers," social activists, farmers, and college professors. He was "vaguely aware of the concept of God," but his parents told him that "theology should not be taken too seriously" (11-14). He came to his Christian faith through years of search and study.

Given Collins' status, and his intellect, he could have written an arcane book that would wow critics and scholars but that few busy people could get through. Collins seems aware of such books; he makes a comment about how many people bought one famous, and yet notoriously difficult, bestseller, v. how many people actually read that bestseller cover-to-cover (60).

One of the great beauties, and gifts, of this book is its simplicity and humility. Collins addresses some of the weightiest questions any human will ever consider – Is there a God? Is that God knowable? What does God want from us? Why is there suffering? What are the ethics of manipulation of human cells for medical purposes? – with the simplest of language, and no more words than is absolutely necessary. In a breathtaking passage, Collins talks of the rape of his own daughter (44), and how that has affected his relationship with God. His words are straightforward and sparse, and no less profound or unforgettable for their simplicity or brevity.

I have had misgivings about stem cell research and Intelligent Design, but have doubted what I've read on these topics in other sources because authors came across as being so wedded to their own point of view, and hostile, and often contemptuous, of others' points of view, that their words lacked credibility. Collins addresses both of these controversial matters, and given his quiet, humble, authoritative voice, and ethical approach, he changed my mind on both.

As part of his humble approach, Collins frequently defers to other authors. When he wants to emphasize a point he is making, he marshals apt quotes from others, including CS Lewis, Augustine, Annie Dillard and Stephen Hawking. I liked this feature. It emphasizes how prominent figures throughout our history have wrestled with questions of faith. Though it may seem so to the individual seeker, persons seeking spiritual truth are not inventing the wheel. I especially appreciated Augustine's words, written centuries before Darwin, on the appropriate interpretation of Genesis (151-152).

There are shrill and powerful voices in the world today insisting that persons of faith are all dangerous obscurantists and enemies of decent society. It is argued that persons of faith must be unintelligent, and that atheists are, in comparison, "bright." Oxford Biology Professor Richard Dawkins has stated, "faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate." Some of this rhetoric is reminiscent of the chilling hate mongering produced by persons like Alfred Rosenberg. In such times as these, Francis S. Collins' "The Language of God" could not be more important.

This review was posted on Amazon in August, 2006.

A personal note: When I was trying to find a publisher for "Save Send Delete," I sent excerpts to Francis S. Collins. He and I have never met. He'd never heard of me. He read my pages and encouraged me warmly and tried to help me out. We've exchanged occasional emails in the years since then. Dr. Collins has been unfailingly polite and encouraging to me.

Being an unknown writer is a very punishing life. Many of the people one meets are rude and even exploitative. I can't say how exceptional Dr. Collins has been. He exemplifies the beliefs he espouses, and I admire him tremendously for that.

Antony Flew's "There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" A Review

Photo by John Lawrence. 

Antony Flew's "There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" is a quiet and brief book that has generated a hornet's nest of controversy.

Antony Flew is an English philosopher and the son of a Methodist minister. He was born in 1923; this book was published in 2007. Flew's advanced age has become the focus of those attacking the book. Flew was educated at Cambridge and attended the meetings of Christian author CS Lewis' Socratic Club. With the publication of the 1966 book "God and Philosophy," Flew became a prominent atheist philosopher.

In a 2004 interview with Gary Habermas, Flew said he had come to believe in God. "There Is a God" expands on Flew's conversion. Flew believes in the God of Aristotle. This God is typified by "immutability, immateriality, omnipotence, omniscience, oneness or indivisibility, perfect goodness and necessary existence" (92).

"There Is a God" begins with a reserved account of Flew's life. For this reader the most intriguing portion was Flew's report that, though he had since abandoned his father's Christianity, he judged pre-marital sex as morally wrong (26). Like many readers, I find the personal and concrete more captivating than discussion of competing philosophical schools. Like a Jane Austen novel, though, Flew's book scurries past intimate detail.

Subsequent chapters summarize the evidence that prompted Flew to come to believe in an Aristotelian God: the universe's fine tuning that renders it hospitable to life, and the questions of life's origin, existence, and complexity. Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, George Wald, David Berlinski, etc, are quoted. Flew does make a good point about the unique gifts philosophy brings to bear when discussing scientific questions (89-91).

It is true that this portion is not original; one can easily find similar arguments on the web. One can easily find these arguments because so many world class scientists have made them. World class scientists and thinkers endorse Flew's take on scientific questions; their endorsements can be found on the back cover and inside front cover of the book. In short, New Atheists' insistence that Flew's take on science is flawed is belied by the many scientists whose views parallel his.

"There Is a God" closes with two appendices; one written by science and religion writer Roy Abraham Varghese, and the other by Bishop N. T. Wright. Varghese addresses perceived flaws in the arguments of New Atheist authors including Richard Dawkins. N. T. Wright offers a brief for the divinity of Jesus.

In November, 2007, The New York Times published Mark Oppenheimer's, "The Turning of an Atheist," an article that, without evidence but rich with catty innuendo, insinuated that Flew was feeble with Alzheimer's disease, that nothing that Flew said could be believed, and that a cabal of conspiratorial Christians, exercising a Svengali-like power and sociopathic lack of conscience, knowingly manipulated and exploited Flew

For a moment, let us leave aside, as Oppenheimer does, all questions of decency and good taste. Question: Does Antony Flew suffer from Alzheimer's, and is disease the cause of Flew's belief in God? New Atheists will insist on this; to them, faith is evidence of low IQ and/or mental illness.

Answer: no one knows. Even if it were proved that Flew has Alzheimer's, it could not be proved that Alzheimer's caused him to believe in God. Further, people who work with the elderly know that we humans do lose predictable cognitive skills as we age. We also, often, gain much: wisdom, patience, perspective. To a casual observer, an elderly person can appear demented. Often, though, what appears to be dementia is not. Rather, the elderly person still has the ability to think deep thoughts, but lacks some abilities that younger people can display readily. This is not just true of the elderly. Often deaf people are wrongly assumed to be stupid, people with Parkinson's are wrongly assumed to be drunk, etc.

Antony Flew was a champion of atheism for many decades. Many atheists are, now that he is old, dragging his name through the dirt. The revolution eats its young. This betrayal is reprehensible. It is also unnecessary. If their arguments against God are as ironclad as New Atheists insist, they need not calumniate an elderly man who was once their champion. Once again we see that, in its shrillness and ethical bankruptcy, the New Atheism is not just anti-God, it is anti-human.

This review was posted on Amazon in 2008. Antony Flew passed away in 2010. 

Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion": A Review

In "The God Delusion," Richard Dawkins performs an Olympic medal-worthy feat. He writes 400 pages while simultaneously patting himself on the back and blowing his own horn. "South Park"'s satire of Dawkins' megalomania is better than Cliff Notes, because – unlike Dawkins – when it tries to be funny, it is.

I purchased "The God Delusion" expecting state-of-the-art atheism. Dawkins delivered a silly rant and a self-indulgent hodgepodge. He's preaching to the atheist choir, who exult "amen" at every burp.

The book is so scattered, so without intellectual discipline, so rife with falsehoods, misrepresentations, and blood curdling irresponsibility, that it is impossible, here, to deliver a thorough review. I can merely pick and choose.

Dawkins quotes letters from persons of faith who are, obviously, obnoxious. This proves nothing. Atheists can be obnoxious (Christopher Hitchens) or mass murderers (Stalin).

Dawkins, like Hitchens, conflates all religions and religious practices. They really do not perceive the differences between Jainism and Islam, between "zakat" and "jihad". They, thus, disqualify themselves as commentators, except to the most unquestioning of atheist acolytes. Luckily the rest of us, when assessing science, are not so blind - we can discriminate between a Mengele and an Einstein.

Dawkins insists that the foundation of the US is atheist. Dawkins fails to acknowledge that "all are created equal" is a Judeo-Christian invention. It is not Hindu (caste); it is not Muslim (dhimmitude); it is not scientific (eugenics; social Darwinism).

Dawkins, like Hitchens, is a broken faucet of snide comments about anyone who disagrees with him. His put down of Stephen Jay Gould, with its overtones of homophobia, is particularly egregious (55). Dawkins, unlike SJG, does not "bend over"! SJG is dead and cannot respond. Dawkins similarly puts down scientists, including Freeman Dyson – not dead but over 90 – who have accepted the Templeton Prize, calling them phonies and sell-outs. One of Dawkins' "jokes" depends for its impact on an atheist's resume being *longer* than a believer's (281).

Dawkins' cheap bullying makes you want to put him in the corner for a lengthy time-out, and restrict his cookie and juice privileges. His species of arrogance is no friend of scholarship; rather, it's the constant servant of brownshirt obscurantism.

Dawkins protests that he doesn't need knowledge of religion to critique it, because, after all, God does not exist. There is a most excellent London Review of Books essay addressing Dawkins' aggressive ignorance: "Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching," by Terry Eagleton.

Dawkins flaunts his ignorance in his dismissal of Luke's mention of Quirinius (93). I don't have space here to address this – do a Google search of "Luke" and "Quirinius" and you'll see that Dawkins is pulling the wool over his naive atheist flocks' eyes.

Religion is persuasive, Dawkins says, "to people not used to asking questions" (92). This statement is so false, ignorant, or blind I'd let it go without comment, but, who's been asking, "Why am I here" for the past ten thousand years, except people of faith – thus, inventing universities, medicine, philosophy, and science? Copernicus, Mendel, Lemaitre - these religious men's questions gave us the heliocentric universe, genetics, and the Big Bang theory. Dawkins, and atheists like him, are smugly certain of their every whim; persons of faith ask all the time.

Dawkins divides the world into two mutually exclusive categories: really smart people like him, and everybody else. He dismisses out of hand the fact that many great scientists are or have been believers. He implies that scientists from the past were faking being religious – they were cowardly liars lacking integrity – and he implies that his contemporaries who believe in God are bad scientists and "embarrassing" (99).

A chapter entitled "Why There Is Almost Certainly No God" reports that there can't be a God because evolution directs biological life – and yet there are evolutionary scientists who are also Christians. As for the anthropic principle, Dawkins argues that any entity that designed physical reality would just be too complex to imagine; so God doesn't exist because Dawkins can't imagine him. Dawkins says that multiple universes cancel out God. There is more evidence for the existence of God than for multiple universes. Dawkins argues against intelligent design; Francis S. Collins does a superior job of arguing against ID in his book, "Language of God." Collins is a Christian. So much for that chapter.

I could go on, but I don't want to, because this hodgepodge bored me. But this must be mentioned – Dawkins reveals zero awareness of the impact of his ideas on real people who, unlike him, don't inhabit ivory towers. Ethically, humans are comparable to cows? (297) Parents should not be allowed to teach their children? (326) Tens of millions of innocents were murdered in Germany, Russia, China, Tibet, Cambodia in the real-world implementation of megalomaniacal creeds like Dawkins'. If he knows his, if he cares at all, no awareness of it is shown in this book, which is not so much a deconstruction of God, as it is a hate letter to all of humanity.

The most telling line in the entire book may be, "wouldn't the designer of the universe have to be a scientist?" (104) Wow, Richard, all I can say is, thank you for designing the universe. We've been so mistaken for worshipping anyone but you for the past ten millennia.

I did like two things in this book: Dawkins does a beautiful job of explaining why moths fly into flames (172-3). When reading those four paragraphs, I felt like I was reading a different book. An expert was enlightening me in the most elegant, ego-free way possible, on a very basic question. Dawkins also writes, briefly, about having been molested as a child (316). I felt great compassion for him, and I had to think that he could write an essay on that that would serve him, and others, well.

South Park's creators on Dawkins.

Favorite line: "It's getting too thinky."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Christopher Hitchens' "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything": An Amazon Review and Discussion

On June 6, 2007, I posted an Amazon review of Christopher Hitchens' "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." I titled my review "No Wonder So Many People Believe in God." I include the full text of my review of Hitchens' book, below.

The review generated a lively discussion that continues even as I write these words, five years later. I participated in the discussion at first but then I dropped out. Participation became too time-consuming.

I tried to convey something like the following message via the Amazon page:

"I dropped out of this discussion and I apologize for that.

'Save Send Delete' offers the best argument I have in response to many of the atheist points made here. I have a blog devoted to the book. It's easier for me to address questions posted to a centralized location than to continue to return to internet venues like this and others where I have contributed over the years."

Amazon deleted my post.

I wrote to Amazon. I received several replies. They all read like missives from a Kafka novel about a dystopian regime where robots attempt to discern the smallest particle of incorrect thought in the furthest reaches of the human mind. At first I thought these were automated responses, but then I noticed that the Amazon-bots were misspelling my name. Real people were sending me these messages? How sad.

The messages communicated the following, "We don't care what explanation you offer. We KNOW you've been bad, bad, bad, and we are going to continue to delete your posts."

So, I gave up. If anyone from the Amazon discussion found his or her way here, I admire your perseverance. Maybe we can talk here.

Below please find the full text of my Amazon review of Christopher Hitchens' "God Is Not Great."


If "God Is Not Great" is the best argument for atheism, it's no wonder that so many believe. There is much wrong with this book. Given the word limit on Amazon reviews, one can only scratch the surface.

Hitchens' style: So many names are dropped you need an umbrella. Hitchens rubs elbows with glamorous people; he reads famous writers. On the other hand, Hitchens refers, repeatedly, to anyone who believes in God as a "yokel." This patina of sophistication shielded by venom intimidates some into deferring to Hitchens as a great mind.

Namedropping equals leftovers. Hitchens innovates no paradigm in relation to his, and humanity's, grave concern – ending religiously-justified atrocity like 9-11. Given this, it is egregious that Hitchens does not mention works that have responded to criticisms he quotes. For example, he rehashes John Cornwell's accusations against Pope Pius XII, without ever mentioning Ronald J. Rychlak's or David G. Dalin's refutations of Cornwell. This approach – airbrushing out of his picture anything that weakens his point – would not be possible in a volume published by a reputable academic press. So much for scholarship.

Hitchens' method is the classic one of prejudice: create an enemy, an "other"; insist that all members of this category are an undifferentiated mass; voice an entrenched bigotry – people of faith are stupid, hypocritical, and evil; scapegoat this other as the cause of all the world's problems, and then "support" this construct with decontextualized anecdotes.

Hitchens conflates Hinduism, Judaism, Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, and Mormonism. Obvious facts prove this false: Jews, for example, don't proselytize, and, therefore, constitute less than one percent of the world's population. Male to female ratios are skewed in Muslim countries like Pakistan, where conditions mitigate against female survival. The Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon: very different books. But, in Hitchens' construct, all are undifferentiated.

Then Hitchens voices, about this undifferentiated "other," bigoted stereotypes, using the classic imagery of prejudice that associates the scapegoated "other" with subhuman life forms. In an appearance with David Horowitz promoting this book, Hitchens equated persons of faith with plague-bacilli-ridden, sewer-breeding rats.

To "prove" bigotry true, Hitchens, rejecting the scientific method, cites anecdotes. Hitchens repeats as true the slander that Jews have sex through holes in sheets. Hitchens fills his reader's mind with pornographic images in relation to the Jewish practice of circumcision.

The Christian Rev. Martin Luther King, as Hitchens mentions in one anecdote, was, indeed, a plagiarist, and a rabbi did, indeed, give a child VD via circumcision. Neither of these true anecdotes, though, sums up the most important truth about MLK, Jewish ritual, or faith. MLK played an irreplaceable role in the Civil Rights Movement, and that is more important than his failures. The Talmud is a vast document that has been the foundation of a people, Jews, who have contributed greatly to mankind, and that is more important than one rabbi's crimes.

Hatemongering, though, snips out isolated, true anecdotes, *decontextualized*. If you Google Hitchens' most inflammatory claims, about MLK, for example, chances are the first website you find will be Stormfront, a white supremacist site. And quoting isolated verses from the Talmud has long been the anti-Semite's favorite tactic – visit the David Duke website. No, Hitchens is not a supremacist. Yes, he uses the same tactic as they.

Hitchens, in reporting anecdotes about the failures of persons of faith, never cedes that faith has been the sine qua non – the indispensable element – in much that humanity cherishes. For example, Hitchens mocks the founder of Mormonism – easy to do – but fails to mention the awesome achievements of Mormonism, as chronicled by scholar Harold Bloom.

At the same time, Hitchens refuses to acknowledge the failures of organized atheists and atheism. The largest pile of corpses in human history was left by atheist, scientifically-inspired "reformers:" Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. In a shameless and transparent ploy, Hitchens claims that Stalin, et al, were religious! By that "logic," up is down, war is peace, and hate is love. How convenient.

As a solid critique of faith, "Not Great" is toothless. Devastating critiques of faith: Carroll's "Constantine's Sword," Collins' "Language of God," Bawer's "Stealing Jesus," Garry Wills, Daniel Boyarin, Rachel Adler, Ali Sina, Brian Victoria, William Wilberforce, the 88th psalm. For a heart-wrenching, take-no-prisoners, fully invested critique of the failures of religion, read Jesus Christ. Excepting Ali Sina, a former Muslim, these authors – Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Buddhists, are *still* persons of faith, and they have authored soul-rattling critiques of their religions.

Hitchens' anecdotes of badly behaved persons of faith – his *entire bag of tricks* – have already been addressed, and acted upon by . . . persons of faith. Collins, a Christian, doesn't just go after Intelligent Design rhetorically – he is a key DNA researcher. Wilberforce, an Evangelical, didn't just critique the irreconcilability of Christianity and slavery, he devoted his life to ending slavery.

In the plus column: Hitchens, unlike so many published writers today, knows how to construct a sentence. And he is, weirdly, endearing. He is like the child – in the very best sense – in all of us who recoils when he discovers that revered figures have feet of clay. MLK plagiarized. Recoil! These recoils have resulted in Hitchens checkered ideological history. He is a former Trotskyite; currently he's a red-white-and-blue, Iraq-quagmire-cheerleading, chicken hawk – a harsh term but an accurate one – neo-con. And, by his own admission, he is drunk all the time, to help him deal with his disappointment in his fellow mortals.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

On Being Called a "Passionate" Writer


"Passionate": one word that, more frequently than any other, is applied to my writing.

Yesterday I submitted an excerpt from "Save Send Delete" to an editor. He wrote back this morning. "Passionate" was the third word in his email. He also called the excerpt "enthralling," which I really liked. That email will never be thrown away!

But … "Passionate?"

I just don't get it.

I am anything but passionate when I write. I am rational. What's going on in my head is very much not "pant pant" but "tick tock."

I'm a teacher and a dyslexic. I've devoted many hours to thinking about how the mind and body work. I note my own processes. I know how the inside of my head feels when I am reading a kissy-face novel, and I know how the inside of my head feels when I am balancing my checkbook.

I have different postures, locations, furniture, even CDs for each: Bach for the checkbook. Tchaikovsky for the kissy-face.

In day-to-day life, I am an emotional person. I produce tears just at the thought of the final ten minutes of the 1957 Cary Grant - Deborah Kerr film "An Affair to Remember." The scene where Cary Grant realizes that the reason Deborah Kerr didn't keep their planned rendez-vous atop the Empire State Building was that she'd been hit by a cab. If you need a good cry, or if you just need to get something out of your eye, you can watch that scene here.

Recently I was lecturing a friend who is thinking about writing for publication. "Why do this to yourself," I asked? "The rejections, the crashed hopes, the humiliations, the expense."

So many writers die young: Dylan Thomas after drinking eighteen straight whiskies, Edgar Allan Poe in someone else's clothes, F. Scott Fitzgerald after a year in which he sold fourteen – fourteen! copies of "The Great Gatsby." Women writers who commit suicide are their own genre.

"Why do this to yourself?"

Me? I write because I have to. No, I really have to.

I'm dyslexic, and something else. I don't know if there is a name for it. I'm very confused by supermarkets, for example. I experience them as a blur of stimuli. To find something I'm looking for amidst the confusion, I have to say its name to myself: "Oranges. Oranges. Oranges," and the names of the items I don't want. "These are apples. I want oranges."

I do the same thing when I birdwatch. I describe the bird to myself in words: "Striped chest, central dot, eye-stripe. Oh, that's a song sparrow."

Placing words on things defeats my cognitive dysfunction that renders the world a chaotic buzz. Words are the skeleton keys that unlock reality for me.

It is what I do when I write.

"Save Send Delete" concerns two things that have sucked my mental energy: God and Love.

When I sat down to write every day, I did not allow myself passion. Had I, I would still be crying at the desk. Crying and swooning and careening.

No. I was in balancing checkbook mode when I wrote "Save Send Delete." My posture was erect. I was listening to Bach and wearing Ma Grife, a severe, spinster-schoolmarm perfume that smells of citrus and juniper.

I never allow myself emotions while writing. I do, rather, what I do in the supermarket, what I do when birdwatching. I translate the overwhelming throb of reality that beats against my anxious brain like moth wings beating against a hurricane lamp. I don't say, "This is an orange," I say, "This is the way his eye moves when he tells a lie."

Drop by drop, item by item, bird breast by bird breast, I apply discrete words to discrete realities and the world comes to make sense. For the day, mystery is tamed, anxiety quelled, and I can find some cognitive peace.

This is a cool process. This is a rational process. Believe me. I'm an early morning, caffeinated, green eye-shade, add-subtract writer. Not a puffy sleeve, quill-dipped-in-purple-ink, absinthe-quaffing midnight writer.

"Passionate," though. People keep calling my writing "passionate." Why?

Here's why, I think. It's exactly because of my writerly process.

I tell my students: Don't use hyperbole. Don't use ad hominem. Don't bother.

The facts, ma'am. Just the facts. If you just report the facts, no embroidery, no hyperbole, if you just, as 12 Step puts it, "Show up and tell the truth," readers will shit their pants. The unvarnished truth is so rare.

That's what I strive for as a writer. Just to put the facts down on the page. To these facts, the reader brings his own passion.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palisades hosting "Save Send Delete" on Sunday, June 3, 2012


The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palisades, a lovely and brilliant group of people, have kindly extended an invitation to me to be their guest speaker on Sunday, June 3rd, at 10:00 a.m. I'm delighted and grateful. I will read from "Save Send Delete." My talk title is "Why Does God Allow Suffering?"

Please come. You'll like this group. I promise!

And if you'd like me to read to your group, please contact me, using the contact link here.

You can find directions to the service at the UUCP website, here.

And don't forget to enter the contest to win a free copy of the book, here!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Win a Free Copy of "Save Send Delete" - Tell a Friend!

Amazon reviewers like "Save Send Delete":

"A fabulous, warm, fascinating and wonderful love story."

"Perhaps it was David Eggers 'Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' that last moved me this way."

"An education in the background and beliefs of many of the world's greatest religions - their strengths and their weaknesses."

You can check out more reviews here.

I'm celebrating. That's me, on the right of the photo. Robin is right across from me. 

Join the celebration. Enter a contest to win a free copy of "Save Send Delete."

Share news of "Save Send Delete" with five people who haven't heard about the book yet. Tell those five to email me that they've learned about the book from you. And your name is entered in the contest. A winner will be selected at random from those names.

Here's an example of the email you might send:

"Hi! I'm writing to tell you about a new book called 'Save Send Delete.' It's a true story about a devout Catholic and an atheist celebrity who debate the existence of God and fall in love. Reviewers have called it 'funny,' 'passionate,' and 'brilliant.' I am entering a contest to win a free copy. If you email the author and tell her that you learned about the book from me, I might win. Here's the Amazon page for the book: ."

Your friend could email me a message like this:

"Hi, I just learned about 'Save Send Delete' from my friend Betty." If your name is Betty!

To email me, your friend can use the "contact" link on the left hand side of this page.

You can also email me directly at:

my first name dot my last name at gmail dot com.

I wrote my email address that way in order to avoid spam. You have to replace "my first name" with Danusha. Etc.

Contest expiration: midnight on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28th, 2012.

Thanks! And good luck.