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The Truth Behind the New Atheism: Responding to the Emerging Challenges to God and Christianity Paperback – September 1, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Spectacularly argued, spectacularly written, and even more spectacularly timely. This little book could rescue the faith of thousands of evangelical high school and college students. For the older and keener thinkers among evangelicals today this is at least as relevant as it is to younger students who are balancing on the fence between belief and unbelief."
--Ralph Winter, founder, US Center for World Missions


"David Marshall's new book engages Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, the principal apologists for the 'new atheism,' with sufficient verve, intelligence and wit that no careful reader should finish the book with faith in those prophets unshaken. The great strength of Marshall's book is that, unlike his opponents, he doesn't resort to caricature or misrepresentation: Dennett's and Dawkins's arguments are given a full and fair showing, and their strengths acknowledged, which makes all the more impressive the fact that only tumbled fragments of their atheistic edifice remain by the time Marshall is done."
--Dr. Paul Griffiths, warren chair of Catholic thought at Duke Divinity School

About the Author

David Marshall is the founder and director of the Kuai Mu Institute for Christianity and World Cultures, and the author of four books, including The Truth About Jesus and the "Lost Gospels," as well as Why the Jesus Seminar Can't Find Jesus and Grandma Marshall Could. David and his family live near Seattle, Washington.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736922121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736922128
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,316,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard W. Field on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marshall takes on the so-called new atheists in this book, with particular scrutiny afforded to Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion." In fact, the book reads as a point by point rejoinder to Dawkins, though not chapter by chapter. Marshall is a good writer in command of the many relevant issues involved. Perhaps he is weakest when discussing evolutionary science, but he clearly is somewhat informed even here.

The book defends Christianity against the plethora of charges leveled at Christianity by Dawkins and others. In the first chapter, he defends the view that Christianity, although not science, is not therefore a wholly irrational world view. His defense on this point is a reasonable counter to the notion suggested by Dawkins that if an idea has no scientific support it directly defies reason.

Other charges that Marshall counters are the alleged immorality of the Bible, that historically and in the present religion is the basis of much if not most of the evil perpetrated on other human beings, that bringing up children in a religion is tantamount to brainwashing (this, certainly, was the weakest part of Dawkins' book), and others.

As an atheist I find, although of course there are many points on which I would disagree, Marshall's even handed discussion and avoidance of vituperatory rhetoric to be refreshing in a atheist/theist debate that so easily raises the hackles of disputants on both sides. My personal beliefs might be quite out of line with Marshall's, but he is one voice in the debate that is reasonable and approachable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David Marshall's "New Atheism" is a very good book on a challenging topic. As you can see from the reviews, it will get under people's skin. I encourage the potential reader to limit yourself to reading only the reviews written by people who actually READ his book. The average review score is low because of some people who automatically give 1-star reviews to every apologetics book on Amazon (without bothering to read the book).

What's good
1. Marshall gives a good overview of the main names among the new atheists, and exposes the fallacies in their arguments. Many of the arguments set forth by the New Atheists are emotional, but lack logical cogency. So many of them are based on false assumptions, which Marshall points out. Many of them fail what I call "the mirror test" - they are self-defeating, and David also exposes that well.
2. He writes clearly (most of the time - see below)
3. He walks the walk Marshall is not just an armchair quarterback. He has spent a number of years as a missionary in Asia.

Criticism
My only critique is that when David writes, every once in a while he switches from "plain talk" to "waxing eloquently." He will have a sentence or even a paragraph where he gets a bit too poetic and wordy. I find it a bit off-putting when he does that, because it doesn't always flow with the rest of his writing.

Overall
Having said that, aside from the occasional poetic turns, I like his content and his writing style. My wife and I both read the book and we both highly recommend it.

One interesting note: I understand that Marshall was one of the first, if not the first, to coin the phrase "the New Atheists" regarding the Dawkins/Hitchens/Krauss/Harris etc. crew.
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Format: Paperback
Let me state at the outset, unambiguously, that I am an atheist. There is nothing that David Marshall can write that will convince me that supernatural, magical beings are responsible for the world, or that deities can visit he earth, perform magical acts, raise people from the dead (much less themselves), and so on...

There isn't much point in attempting to deconstruct Marshall's obnoxious attempts to convince otherwise. Others have done a better job than I could possibly muster. For example, read Marshall's review of "The Christian Delusion" and the responses from John W. Loftus and H. Avalos.

So, why bother to write a review of a book that I find obnoxious that is a reflection of a small mind? Because I find books like "The Truth Behind The New Atheism" to be dangerous. The world we live in can not tolerate ignoramuses who teach nonsense that flies in the face of reality. David Marshall is not an original thinker who has anything new to say with respect to Christianity or philosophy, and neither is he an historian, regardless of his self congratulating claims.

"The Truth Behind The New Atheism" is filled with a long list of famous people and ideas that are serially deconstructed by employing logical fallacy, innuendo, ridicule, patronage, and coded statements. I cannot find a single statement of any real substance, and certainly not any that are backed by a logical argument requiring any thought. Instead, I find smoke and mirrors and mostly appeals to a reader's prejudice and bigotry. Allow me the following quote to explain my use of the word bigotry:

“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of an eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
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