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The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail: The Misguided Quest to Destroy Your Faith Paperback – January 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Garrison has long wielded wit against the buffoonery of the Religious Right in her articles for the Christian humor magazine the Wittenburg Door and at the blog God's Politics. Now she turns her satirical glance against the New Atheists, among whom she sees a similar obscurantist self-seeking at work. The result is an uneven book. It is occasionally witty, as when she compares Sam Harris to Anne Coulter, or Daniel Dennett to the pot-smoking professor in Animal House. At times she scores what could be devastating points against the New Atheists: if imposing religion on the young really is child abuse, why do these young people not show the medical symptoms of abuse victims? Garrison is also adept at pointing to places where radical Christianity is transforming society. But these successes are often lost amid informal writing, sentences like Simply put, I need to pay attention here because when my gut starts acting up, something ain't right, and paragraphs that end with single words like Kewl and phrases such as  'Nuff said. Finally, Garrison's turn to her own story—a minister father, dead too young of alcoholism—is touching at times, but it sits awkwardly beside the casual witticisms. (Jan.)
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About the Author

Becky Garrison is a Contributing Editor for Sojourners. Her books include The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail, Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church, and Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church. Her additional writing credits include work for The Wittenburg Door, Geez, Killing the Buddha, and Religion Dispatches, as well as various other odd and sundry publications.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084991972X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849919725
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,074,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

On the same day that Princess Di was brought into this world tiara in hand, this Yankee gal with an accent befitting a Southern debutante was born breech first. Ever since my upside down birth, I have always viewed life from a unique perspective. "Becky, only you see it that way" is a frequent comment made by friends and relatives alike. I began writing for The Wittenburg Door in 1994 and contribute to a range of outlets including Washington Post's On Faith column, The Guardian's Belief section, Killing the Buddha, Geez, The Revealer, American Atheist magazine, Believe Out Loud, and The Religious Left.

The first video highlighted on my Amazon author site came from the documentary The Ordinary Radicals (; the second and third videos are from (props to Travis Reed); and the fourth is from the documentary Nailin' it to the Church (

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By K.H. on February 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Becky Garrisons blogs on and her writings for the Wittenburg Door. She is a talented satirist and she does in this book make a point or two. Unfortunately, she often gets sidetracked and her book suffers greatly for it. Because she is so committed with sounding "witty," "satirical," and "open-minded" she goes on short red-herrings that should have been devoted to stronger, more tightly constructed arguments.

I'm sure her sarcasm is natural, but it reads as if it is forced - it just happens too often. She is so bent on appearing fair minded by showing the sins of Christianity that she spends too many moments taking quick pot-shots at Ann Coulter, Jerry Fallwell, John Spong and even President Bush. Her message would be more constructive and logical to make the connection that Christ and his teachings must logically be based on the teaching itself (or better yet, Christ himself), not the aberrational sayings and actions of some of its members. She does take some time to write about the good things Christians have done (the logical conclusions of following Christ), but I am not so sure it adds up to the writings where she attacks the failings of many who claim Christ. By her own arguments, Dawkins may just have a case after all.

Overall, the book fails because it spends too much time on side issues of the debate (centering prayer for one) and not enough going after the heart of the debate - logical and theological reasons to believe and why it is not delusional. I hope she writes more, but I hope she stays more focused on the task at hand.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LindaT VINE VOICE on July 9, 2010
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There has been a lot going on about how "bad" religion is in general (and Christianity in particular) and Becky Garrison's book provides a refreshing rebuttal. Ms. Garrison is a satirist and yes, she can come across as a smart-aleck; she admits it herself. But through the whole book you can see a caring person who really does take the Christian message seriously.

Ms. Garrison does not just take the atheists to task -- in fact, in Appendix B in this book she has a cordial, friendly interview with Hemant Mehta, who calls himself the "friendly atheist." Both of them show the same exasperation with a the pushy attitude displayed by many Christiands AND atheists. As in her book RED AND BLUE GOD, BLACK AND BLUE CHURCH, she also takes other Christians to task for providing fodder for the "new atheists" by the way they act. In other words, she tells Christians to shape up and start practicing what they preach. And she's not afraid to share some of her own shortcomings, too.

She presents some good, solid arguments for believing the Christian faith, and she takes the "new atheists" to task for constantly picking on the "lunatic fringe" people who call themselves Christians, and who actually irritate their fellow Christians! I'll leave it to you, the reader to decide whether or not you agree with her, but through the book you will read excellent thoughts concerning the credibility of Christianity.

A nice extra about the book -- you learn a lot about the Bible itself! In fact, she gives an explanation of the much-misunderstood admonition of Jesus to "turn the other cheek." She gives it in a cultural setting that will show how assertive that command actually is! That one page alone was worth the price of the whole book. But I'll leave it to you to read it!

It's a worthwhile book to read.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By on July 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
Prominent atheists like Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins (known as the "New Atheists") have made quite a stir in recent years by attacking Christianity head-on, in part through a number of bestselling books.

Becky Garrison makes quite a stir in the Christian world through her work as senior contributing editor for The Wittenberg Door ("Pretty Much the World's Only Religious Satire Magazine"). Most often, the targets of her biting satire are poufy-haired televangelists, Religious Right fundies, and even the occasional milquetoast, mainline liberal. Considering the way she lavishes her wit and sarcasm on the faithful, you can just imagine what she has in store for an assortment of atheists when they begin treading on her turf.

Only you don't have to imagine that at all, since Garrison takes aim at said assortment in THE NEW ATHEIST CRUSADERS. And she does so with her usual gusto. Using their own words against them, Garrison skewers their arguments, pokes fun at their ignorance and exposes their distortions. And you can tell she has a lot of fun doing all that. But she also wisely points her finger where it often belongs --- leveled straight at Christians who give atheists too much fodder and pointing right back at herself when she behaves badly.

"When confronted with aggressive atheists," she writes, "some Christians assume the mantle of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz chanting, 'I do believe, I do believe, I do believe.'" Garrison goes on to describe the atheists' stepped-up efforts to dismantle the Christian faith. "As long as people continue to buy into the anti-God game, this junk is gonna come down the pike. Time to put an end to this. So, I guess I gotta put on my satirical shorts, get into the ring, and put up my dukes.
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