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Old 01-23-2009, 03:20 PM   #1
msmith
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Concerns About Sony's Religious Intolerance

Hello All! I am new to the forum and it really seems like a great community! The folks that run it have really done a wonderful job at putting it together.

I wanted to bring up a topic that doesn't seem to be addressed on the forum that I view as pretty important. I would welcome anyone's feedback.

I recently bought a new Sony 505, which is my first e-book reader. The reader came preloaded with numerous book excerpts, but one actually really surprised and disappointed me.

It was "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Now this book is not an unbiased or fair and balanced assessment of people of faith. It is an insulting, vitriolic and hateful attack upon them. People are free to choose whatever they wish to read and to purchase. But I am pretty outraged that of all the books they could have included excerpts of--this intolerant and disrespectful book was one of the few that was chosen.

IMO, this tells me a few things.

1. Sony does not care that (according to numerous polls) that 90% of Americans believe in God. They are clearly interested in promoting their own agenda, regardless of the fact that it may insult 90% of their customers.

2. The choice of including this book demonstrates a policy that they agree with the content of the book, to the point that it should be promoted to every single person who purchases their ebook reader.

3. Sony is committed to this type of religious intolerance because it apparently has also been included for free on the new 700 model.

There is nothing to indicate to people evaluating whether or not to buy Sony's reader, that this insulting book is one of the free offerings you receive. You find that out after the fact.

And for those that would say "just delete it" if it offends you, that's fine. But the point is that the company who I am financially supporting by purchasing their technology has no respect for my beliefs or the beliefs of billions of people worldwide, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim or otherwise. In fact, you are completely unaware of their disdain for your beliefs until you spend $300 to purchase their equipment.

If I had to do it over again, I would just purchase the Amazon Kindle, iRex, or other product that is more tolerant towards people of faith. And I think I will just stick to public domain works rather than giving Sony any additional money at their online ebook store. I don't need to be financially supporting intolerance and disrespect of my beliefs.

Does anyone else feel that it was disrespectful for Sony to do this?
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
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i admit i am not religious, so i'm sure i don't have the same perspective as you, but just out of curiosity, if there had been a markedly religious book on there, for example one of the Left Behind series, would you react the same way ?

i think free speech is really important, and although you don't have to agree with the book (or read it at all, or even leave it on your device), i'm not convinced that it indicated anything at all about Sony Corporation's beliefs (it's probably more indicative of a deal with a publisher and which titles are selling a lot), and i certainly don't think that Sony should censor their sample content for any interest group ; that is a dangerous road.

also, the United States may be 90% religious (although, honestly, that number seems high to me), but Sony does not sell their devices only in the US.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:39 PM   #3
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The first thing I did with both of my new readers was to delete the sample content unread -- I hate reading just a chapter or two of some book and then feeling like I have to buy the rest. And I have very strong tastes in what I want to read and everything that was on as demo material was of stuff I don't usually read, so I wasn't even aware of any such book sample on the Reader.

But I certainly wouldn't take as a personal affront any material that they loaded on as sample material -- I'm sure zelda_pinwheel is right and it was just free content Sony received permission to load on the readers so that people could simply start reading if they wish.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:39 PM   #4
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I think you're overreacting.

"The God Delusion" is a recent bestselling book. The paperback has been out for over a year now, but is still in the Amazon top 300. The Kindle version is currently in the top 200 Kindle titles. When the selections were being made for sample for the Sony Reader, I suspect it was much higher in the lists.

It seems reasonable that Sony would arrange to get a selection samples of recent best selling books from publishers on their device. I really doubt that they have any religious agenda.


Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith View Post
I recently bought a new Sony 505, which is my first e-book reader. The reader came preloaded with numerous book excerpts, but one actually really surprised and disappointed me.

It was "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Now this book is not an unbiased or fair and balanced assessment of people of faith. It is an insulting, vitriolic and hateful attack upon them. People are free to choose whatever they wish to read and to purchase. But I am pretty outraged that of all the books they could have included excerpts of--this intolerant and disrespectful book was one of the few that was chosen.

Does anyone else feel that it was disrespectful for Sony to do this?
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
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I'm sure zelda's reasoning of having the excerpt included is spot-on, or at least on the right track. Sony, like any other major company, are completely neutral when it comes to issues like religion.

Just out of curiosity, have you read The God Delusion personally, since you called it hateful and insulting?
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:48 PM   #6
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Not to be insensitive, but you might be over-reacting on this.

No one likes to be exposed to ideas with which they do not agree. But in this world, there is a lot of room for a lot of ideas, and you are free to disagree or ignore them at your whim. As you pointed out, you are free to delete the excerpt... it's not hard-wired into the reader. Be glad, I suppose, that no one is forcing you to agree with the excerpt, pay extra for having it preloaded on the reader, or read it every morning upon booting up, in order to own the reader.

The God Delusion, whatever your (or 90% of the public's) personal opinion on the subject matter, also happens to be a best-selling book, which is the reason its excerpt was included on the reader (along with others, as you pointed out). Remember, we're talking Sony: They really don't care about your politics, they just want your money. They're not practicing religious intolerance, they're practicing capitalism coupled with religious indifference.

In point of fact, The God Delusion is also available for the Kindle. And in print bookstores around the world. Singling out Sony for placing an excerpt of it is, I think, being a bit unfair towards Sony... you might just as well attack all bookstores for carrying the entire book.

So don't be so hard on Sony... they are not in the religion business. You bought a reader... that's good enough for them.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
I
Just out of curiosity, have you read The God Delusion personally, since you called it hateful and insulting?
When people make this statements of the book they usually have not read it. I think the book is excellent and the argument that religion should not get different treatment from other areas is very good and convincing.
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:02 PM   #8
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According the the the World Factbook, The United States is about 84% religious, with 12% 'unaffiliated' and 4% with no religion.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/us.html

The UK has significantly fewer religious people -- 76.8% are religious, with 7.3% 'not stated' and 15.5% 'No religion'.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nug...ank=1&Rank=176


Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
also, the United States may be 90% religious (although, honestly, that number seems high to me)

Last edited by pdurrant; 01-24-2009 at 05:12 AM. Reason: grammatical errors.
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:05 PM   #9
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As A Christian, I've got no problem with what books come preloaded on the device I buy, as there's this wonderful function called Delete.
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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1. Sony does not care that (according to numerous polls) that 90% of Americans believe in God.
Maybe, maybe not. I don't know and you don't know it too. Btw. the Sony Corporation is a japanese company.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith View Post
They are clearly interested in promoting their own agenda, regardless of the fact that it may insult 90% of their customers.
No. The book was a bestseller in most of the countries where it was published. Most of the readers were obviously interested in the book. Sonys customers are "the readers", not "the americans".

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith View Post
2. The choice of including this book demonstrates a policy that they agree with the content of the book, to the point that it should be promoted to every single person who purchases their ebook reader.
So all companies who are distributing Hitlers "Mein Kampf" do agree with its content? They are nazis? No.
All companies who are distributing McGraths "The Dawkins Delusion" (the "answer" to "The God Delusion") are religous and do agree to the content of McGraths book? No.
Sony offers some bestsellers on it's reader and yes, one of them is "The God Delusion" and it's content is highly atheistical. So what? Sony does not have to agree or to disagree with the content. Sony just thinks that enough readers are interested in the book.


I believe in god but i don't care about "The God Delusion" and i don't care if it's on the reader or not.
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:14 PM   #11
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It's curious that you chose word "intolerance" for the topic. The only intolerance I can see in the whole affair is yours. If you were tolerant, you'd just delete a book you don't want to read and not give it a second thought.
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:25 PM   #12
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Does anyone else feel that it was disrespectful for Sony to do this?
At the risk of appearing glib - no. Not even slightly.
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:31 PM   #13
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:39 PM   #14
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I checked mine to be sure. That title was not one of the pre-loaded samples that came with my 505.
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith View Post
But the point is that the company who I am financially supporting by purchasing their technology has no respect for my beliefs or the beliefs of billions of people worldwide, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim or otherwise. In fact, you are completely unaware of their disdain for your beliefs until you spend $300 to purchase their equipment.

If I had to do it over again, I would just purchase the Amazon Kindle, iRex, or other product that is more tolerant towards people of faith. And I think I will just stick to public domain works rather than giving Sony any additional money at their online ebook store. I don't need to be financially supporting intolerance and disrespect of my beliefs.

Does anyone else feel that it was disrespectful for Sony to do this?
Hello msmith! And welcome to MobileRead! We are glad you've decided to join the forum.

Haven't you been financially supporting your local bookstore? Doesn't the local bookstore sell titles that might be offensive to you? What about your local library? What about other businesses? How can you know for sure all the businesses you support financially share your belief system?

How do you know for sure that the Amazon Kindle, iRex, or other such products are more tolerant towards people of faith? And more tolerant towards what faith?

I consider myself a Christian and I read lots of controversial books about my religion because I am always interested in seeing how others view my faith and because I am always interested in expanding and opening my mind to other thoughts and perspectives. I know I don't possess a full or complete grasp of the truth of such a deep subject, so I am constantly challenging and shaping my thinking about these things....thanks for bringing up this book...it might be a really interesting read.

You'll find folks here that are willing to share their honest thoughts about issues and I hope you are not too put off that, based on the responses to your first thread, not many people here share your opinion about the book or about Sony's motivation in placing it on the reader. Even if we disagree with you sometimes, you will still find a warm and welcoming group of people who are happy to discuss issues with you and to help you work out any problems or issues you may have with your ereading experience.
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