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The Christian faith vs. the New Atheism as a framework for meaning
on April 19, 2011
This book is based on material originally presented in a number of lectures given by Alister McGrath in 2009 and 2010. Some of the material in this book appeared previously in chapters 7 and 11 of McGrath's book "The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind".
McGrath describes this short and very readable book as an exploration of "the deep human desire . . . to make sense of things." He examines the need for clues to a deeper level of meaning, the nature of faith, the scientific method, the flaws in the arguments of the New Atheists, the limits of science, and the human desire for more than science can provide. The book also includes brief discussions of the beginning of the universe, the anthropic cosmological principle, fine tuning at the biological level, the implications of developments in the anthropic principle, design/convergence in evolution, and how Christianity makes sense of history, culture, and faith. McGrath points out that the conclusion that we are here by accident is not demanded by evolutionary biology itself, but by adding an aggressive and dogmatic atheism to biology.
While recognizing that there is more to Christianity than trying to make sense of things, McGrath (a former atheist) argues that Christianity involves believing that certain things are true and that Christianity provides a framework which makes more sense of the world than does atheism. Throughout the book McGrath supports his points with excellent illustrations and a relevant selection of quotations from philosophers and others. The book includes 11 pages of Notes and an 8-page Index.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a brief and well written description of the impact of science on Christianity and a critique of the New Atheism.