29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2008
This short book (108 pages) is an informative guide to the challenge of the New Atheists and their challenge to Christian theism. Mohler targets the "four horsemen of the New Atheism" - Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.
Chapter one briefly surveys the history of atheism and situates the new atheism within secularism.
Chapter two is the most helpful chapter of the book; it discusses New Atheism's assault on Theism by giving thumbnail sketches of the "four horsemen,"then pointing out eight common features of their assault on theism: (1) The New Atheism is marked by an unprecedented new boldness; (2) There is a clear and specific rejection of the Christian God of the Bible; (3) The New Atheists explicitly reject Jesus Christ; (4) The New Atheism is specifically grounded in scientific argument; (5) The New Atheism is new in its refusal to tolerate moderate and liberal forms of belief; (6) The New Atheism attacks toleration; (7) The New Atheists have begun to question the right of parents to inculcate belief in their own children; and (8) The New Atheists argue that religion itself must be eliminated to preserve human freedom.
Chapters three and four discuss the defense of theism poised against by the New Atheists by various theologians and philosophers, including Alistair McGrath, Alvin Plantiga, Tina Beattie, and John F. Haught. While agreeing with some points of their arguments (especially McGrath and Plantiga), Mohler's primary criticism is that these responses represent various levels of accomodation. In contrast, Mohler argues that "Evangelical Christians simply cannot surrender biblical authority, propositional revelation, and biblical theism in order to meet the various challenges presented to us in the twenty-first century" (102). There are only two alternatives, atheism or biblical, Christian theism.
Unfortunately, this book does not itself present an argument for biblical theism. The book doesn't deliver on its subtitle, "a Christian confronts the New Atheists," for there isn't much confrontation with, and no detailed argumentation against, the New Atheists. That was disappointing. Readers who want thoughtful engagement with the New Atheists will have go elsewhere. (I'd suggest Timothy Keller's The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.)
That said, the second chapter of this book made it worth reading for me. I appreciated the review and summary of the various NA books.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I cannot say for certain what I expected from Dr. Mohler's book. However, I will say I was disappointed to learn that the lecture series was really only a history of atheism and not comments related to the current trend in atheism. If you are a student of apologetics and need a historical background and trends for atheism, than this book may be a decent addition to your studies. Otherwise, your money might be better spent elsewhere.
The sub-title says "A Christian confronts the new Atheists." If that's the case, the publishers left those lectures out of the book.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2012
I am giving this book a low rating, but not because I disagree with anything substantial in it. Out of all the books I've read in the New Atheism debate, this is the worst of the Christian replies. Like other reviewers posting here, I was surprised that the book read like an anthology of what the major players in the debate have said, rather than an argument against atheism. Mohler has little, if anything, original to say. In fact, I estimated that around 1/3 of the book is composed block quotation--skim through it and you will find almost every few pages with half-page and sometimes full-page, small font block quotation. This by itself is not a problem, but the other 2/3rds of the book are not much better.
This is Mohler's structure of virtually every section of the book: First, he introduces a figure in the debate with a few long paragraphs of (mostly irrelevant) biographical information. Second, he gives a short summary of their book, position, or relevant aspect of their life (e.g. Dawkins's career). Third, he provides some long block quotation from the relevant author. Finally, he usually adds in a terse comment of his own and then moves on to another author.
When Mohler does give his opinion, he doesn't provide much argument for it (for one, because the book is so short) and often his comments are just complaints. For instance, Mohler repeatedly complains/bemoans that all sides in the debate, Christians and atheists alike, believe in evolution.
One of the only arguments Mohler himself gives comes at the end of the book. Mohler summarizes a couple of liberal or mainline theological responses to the New Atheism movement, replies that deny large portions of Christian theology. To argue against one such proponent, Mohler quotes him speaking about his favorite theologians, one of which is Paul Tillich. Mohler then argues that Tillich has many views that are incompatible with this writer, and Tillich was even accused of being an outright atheist (and, yes, Mohler needlessly summarizes Tillich's views over 2-3 pages with many long block quotations). So, the argument seems to be, this theologian has compromised too far and likes theologians accused of atheism like Tillich--massive guilt by association. It is difficult to summarize the argument, because it is not made very clearly, but Mohler takes himself to have shown the futility of anything besides an evangelical reply to the New Atheists. At the end of the book, Mohler even claims he has proven that atheism and biblical (by which he means evangelical) Christianity are the only actual options, and I completely fail to see how he even started a case for this. I've tried to keep up with all the books being written in the New Atheism debate on all sides, and so far this is the worst of the Christian reples.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2009
Albert Mohler's Atheism Remix is divided into four sections. In the first, he examines the history of atheism, from its presence in the Bible ("The fool says in his heart, `There is no God'") to Nietzsche and beyond. He explores how the "conditions of belief" in our world have changed from "impossible not to believe" to "impossible to believe," and how this paves the way for the New Atheists.
The second chapter profiles the "Four Horsemen of the New Atheism," viz., Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, touching on their lives and work. The third chapter examines the responses to these writers by Alister McGrath and Alvin Plantinga, while the final section touches on more liberal responses to the New Atheism. Mohler is dissatisfied to some extent with all of the responses, as even McGrath and Plantinga allow for the possibility of evolution; in the book's last few pages, Mohler asserts that Christians must make a stand for biblical theism, not any accomodationist form of theism that would seek to appease the New Atheists.
The book serves as a decent review of the state of the debate, in that the middle two chapters consist more of long quotations from other authors' work than Mohler's own analysis or argumentation. However, his objection to McGrath's and Plantinga's otherwise cogent arguments is only barely sketched, rather than advanced, and he ultimately fails to make a case that in no form can evolution and God co-exist. In the end, Mohler's work may be a rallying point for conservative evangelicals who share his views, but does little to "confront" the New Atheists--or persuade others of his ideas.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The 3 star rating came because of my disappointment in what I hoped to get out this short book and in the fact that I think it could have been expanded a bit and made more of a tool that could be used by conservative Christians who are dealing with people involved in the New Atheism.
The four chapters are what was claimed in the introduction, they are the text of 4 lectures given by Dr. Mohler at Dallas Theological Seminary. The four lectures are quite well done and the book reflects that. His background on Atheism and also on what he calls "The Four Horsemen of the New Atheist Apocalypse," Richard Dakins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, is very good. Well thought through and well documented.
What I found disappointing was that there was some repetition in the 4 chapters. I think this happens because the four lectures are not done back to back, but one day after the other, so as any good teacher there is a bit of review and drawing on previous material as you build your thesis to the final conclusion. But in a book format you don't need to go back over material already covered. I think that the book could have been edited a bit for this and then some expanded material added to give more information to we the Pastoral community that don't have the advantage of being in the classroom setting to discuss these lectures.
Please, again, don't get me wrong. Dr. Mohler does a good job of presenting the material. It is interesting and laid out well.
My concern is that I was hoping for a bit more practical material that I could use in working with young people who I am running into who are buying into this New Atheism. I now have some historical background and better understand many of the intellectual players in this game and so I can better address those aspects, but I still need more information. This has been a good start but now on to some more material to get the rest of what I needed.
I do believe that if you want a primer on this issue that you will not be disappointed with Dr. Mohler's book. But keep in mind that it the essence of four lectures and only a short booklet at 108 pages in length.
But do enjoy!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
In his recent book, Mohler documents and reacts to four of today's most prominent and evangelistic atheists. The new atheists, Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens. Or, as Mohler likes to call them, "the four horsemen of the new atheism".
Mohler himself is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky. He also hosts a self-titled national radio program. He is the author of the recent book Culture Shift, and is one of my favorite bloggers, writing mostly about culture issues.
Mohler's style of writing is easy to read. Like something you'd find in a commentary section of a newspaper. The content is compelling, but the language and structure is not overwhelming. It should be an easy read for most and a breeze for heavy readers.
Remix is short. Surprisingly short. 108 pages, spread over four chapters, sliced into about six chapter subsets (again, why'd it take two months to finish?). But length doesn't necessarily mean much. Mohler says quite a lot in a little bit of space.
This New Atheism is unprecedented, as Mohler sees it. Unlike atheism movements in the past, it's popular. Mohler sites how long these proponent's books have taken residence on best seller stands. He also addresses the distinct lack of moral grieving over the loss of something previously seen as beautiful: faith. There's quite a lot more to say. That's why Mohler wrote a book.
The subtitle is "a Christian confronts the New Atheists", but the subtitle is misleading. When I first received the book from Amazon, I was disappointed at the size. I thought to myself, "really? this dude is effectively going to go up against four of the most outspoken members of the atheist movement in just over a hundred pages?". Well, he doesn't. In fact, he doesn't even try to. The final chapter of the book makes clear that this text was not written to confront them, or even their followers. It's written for Christians, living in a culture that's shifting as a result of this emerging "New Atheism".
And for us, he writes convincingly, with conviction.
Dr. Mohler does an excellent job of bringing together information. Much of the pages are made up of discussing other opponents attacks on the New Atheists. I find this reads with a refreshing humility. It gives us the sweetest points of popular rebuttal but also lends to an argument that feels much larger that is actually contained in the book.
Mohler saves the biggest chunk of his own opinion for the final chapter (which is also typical of his blog), titled "New Atheism and the Future of Christianity". In it he gives Christians an encouragement not to shrink from the discussion but to read, study, learn and pray.
Overall, I recommend this book to most all Christians. If you're unfamiliar with this new movement, this will serve as an excellent introduction. If you're already pretty well informed, this will be an easy read and an important reminder. It's certainly no waste of time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2013
Atheism has undergone a considerable "remix" over the last two decades. Unlike traditional atheists, the so-called "New Atheists" such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are not content to passively deny the existence of God but make it their mission to actively wage war against the very concept of God and to promote the secularization of every aspect of society. In his insightful volume, Atheism Remix, Mohler exposes the agenda of this new brand of atheism and starkly rebuts the liberal forms of Christianity that have blithely acquiesced to the New Atheists' naturalistic claims. If Christians are to meet the growing threat of atheism, Mohler insists that the Bible cannot be given a "remix" of its own. Christians must be faithful to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Atheism Remix is a must-read for all Christians who want a concise introduction to the challenge of the New Atheists.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
For those who have been reading much of the New Atheist's work or have been keeping abreast with Christian apologetics (defense of the faith), this work will offer nothing new. However, this work by Southern Seminary President Al Mohler is a good introduction to what the New Atheists are about. Mohler argues that what makes New Atheism different than atheists of old is that they generally have a sense of celebration when it comes to God's nonexistence whereas old school atheists typically experienced a sense of loss (54). Mohler also felt that the New is more against Christianity specifically than more against an abstract philosophical concept of God such as the atheists before them (55-57) . This is disputed, I think what's new is not really with the new atheists (one can think of Dan Barker, George Smith, Robert Ignersoll, etc) but the cultural acceptance of this current wave of atheists. In other words, new atheism speaks more of our culture than the atheists themselves, and if there is any differences between the old and the new it's a matter of degrees rather than clear cut separation between the new and the old. As with other works by Mohler, I know he is a very capable bright man, and an intellectual giant but his written works tend to address a popular general reading audience. The book is not a refutation of New Atheism per se and more of a survey of the movement's strategy, and readers will enjoy the background information of the "Four Horsemen." Mohler is well-read (just look at his book review on his website) and the book reflects his knowledge of ongoing interaction in print, such as his summary of the new Atheist's work, and the responses by Alvin Plantinga and Alister McGrath. The last chapter also focuses on the liberal and mainline response of those who are outside the pale of Evangelical orthodoxy, and his observation of their response and inadequacies since they deny Evangelical doctrines such as the propositional nature of the Word of God and the truth of the Gospel. Overall, as an introduction I think it was a good book.
I enjoy the discussion of improbability by McGraft (71-72)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2010
Cogent and concise volume?
Clear warning about the New Atheists?
Comprehensive treatise defending Christian theism?
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. delivers a precise analysis and inspirational call for Christian theists to engage the non-believing dogma of the New Atheists. He exposes the anti-Christian aims of Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins and then refutes their self-smiting assertions and groundless worldview. Dr. Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is considered by CNN, Time Magazine, and Christianity Today as a leading evangelical thinker. Time named him the "reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement."
This breezy page-turner is based upon Mohler's "Griffin Thomas Lectures" given at DTS in 2008 (page 13). Thus this book is succinct, brief, and dynamic. "Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the new Atheists" offers numerous anecdotes which help make this volume a excellent pastoral resource (and other public speakers). Dr. Mohler outlines and adds fine commentary on recent theistic works by McGrath and Plantinga aimed at intellectually rebutting the New Atheism (p.p. 65-87). The author provides a brief overview of the history of atheism and notes that the "word atheism did not appear in the English language until the sixteenth century. The `Oxford Dictionary' documents the first use of the word to 1568, when it was coined ... by Miles Coverdale" (p. 17).
Since all non-Christian thought is anti-theistic Professor Mohler rightly asserts that "it's atheism or biblical theism. There is nothing in between" (p. 108). Additionally: In refuting atheism the real issue "is not metaphysics, but epistemology"(p. 85).
My favorite quote has Dr. Mohler confuting atheism at its rational pre-committments when he argues that Christians need a sustained and credible apologetic that refutes atheism at the "worldview level, including the pre-theological patterns of thought ..." (p. 65).
This little book may not be a broad and extensive refutation of atheism, but it is a good read for the beach or on a plane ride (for a comprehensive answer to atheism see McGrath or the book:
Truth, Knowledge and the Reason for God: The Defense of the Rational Assurance of Christianity
orGod Does Exist!: Defending the faith using presuppositional apologetics, evidence, and the impossibility of the contrary.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This brief volume provides a concise overview of the New Atheism and four of its leading proponents - Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens. What distinguishes the New Atheism from its intellectual forbears is its unbounded delight in the death of God. According to the New Atheists, it was impossible for pre-Enlightenment man not to believe in God. The Enlightenment changed everything; it became possible not to believe in God. We now live in a third stage of human development that is shaped by the Darwinian revolution, and which makes belief in God impossible. The New Atheists shed no tears over the death of God. Unlike atheists of previous generations, his demise is counted an unqualified good. Theists are dangerous people, and the sooner the world is rid of theistic belief the better off the world will be.
Mohler notes eight characteristics of the New Atheism.
* Unprecedented boldness.
* Clear and specific rejection of the Christian God of the Bible.
* Explicit rejection of Jesus Christ.
* An atheistic worldview grounded in scientific argument.
* A refusal to tolerate moderate and liberal forms of theistic belief.
* An attack on religious toleration.
* A challenge to the right of parents to inculcate theistic belief in their own children.
* The conviction that religion itself must be eliminated in order to preserve human freedom.
Mohler provides a concise critique of the scientific and philosophical foundations of the New Atheism, and also of the the defenses of theism offered by Alister McGrath and Alvin Plantinga.
Mohler concludes: "The Christian church must respond to the challenge of the New Atheism with the full measure of conviction. We are reminded that the church has faced a constellation of theological challenges throughout its history. Then, as now, the task is to articulate, communicate, and defend the Christian faith with intellectual integrity and evangelistic urgency. We should not assume that this task will be easy, and we must also refuse to withdraw from public debate and private conversation in light of this challenge."
Chances are that you will encounter vocal advocates of the New Atheism, or those influenced by its arguments. Atheism Remix is a helpful tool in preparing for the challenge.