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Why God Won't Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty? Paperback – May 16, 2011
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About the Author
Alister E. McGrath is a historian, biochemist, and Christian theologian born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McGrath, a longtime professor at Oxford University, now holds the Chair in theology, ministry, and education at the University of London. He is the author of several books on theology and history, including Christianity’s Dangerous Idea; In the Beginning, and The Twilight of Atheism. He lives in Oxford, England and lectures regularly in the United States.
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All in all, this book shows that the New Atheism isn't new at all- it's actually very old. Most of the arguments are recycled from earlier atheists and not presented particularly well. McGrath writes clearly and concisely. He manages to craft an excellent refutation of the New Atheism in only 147 pages. However, it is here that the book loses out. While the brevity is admirable, the fact remains that McGrath only superficially examines the New Atheism. Another 100 pages in which he discusses the four major works (End of Faith, God Delusion, Breaking the Spell, and God is not Great) would have been welcome. While this is a good book, the brevity prevents it from being even better.
McGrath also delves into the weirder, darker aspects of the New Atheism. In particular he lifts up to the light the reliance upon the pseudo-science of memetics by writers like Dawkins. He also pushes into the light the bizarre moral world of Sam Harris, which can be summed up as: "Religion makes people torture and kill people. Therefore, we must torture and kill religious folks in order to stop it." He also makes a sly reference to how Harris, and a few others of his ilk, who seem to be as interested in using science as an apologetic for their idiosyncratic form of Buddhism.
In all, McGrath has written, in a few short but dense pages, both an apologia of Christianity and a critique of the "New Atheists." This slim volume's indictment of the moral, philosophical, scientific, and logical failings of this peculiar movement is telling. It is also telling that the chief reaction to it have been almost textbook examples of the polemics that Mcgrath outlines in the book.
The book isn't very complicated, but that in no way takes away from what you can learn from it! I think McGrath is very fair with his analysis and avoids immature jabs against its supporters. I was particularly happy with the attention paid to the online atheist community. This shows me that McGrath is with the times!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in current religious movements. This is a powerful aid to any Christian. Even agnostics (more so those who are on the fence) will definitely find this an interesting read.
Most recent customer reviews
A book that challenges current perceptions that the New Atheism of Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and others must be...Read more
In his book, Why God Won't Go Away, Alister McGrath acquaints his reader with "new atheism", a term apparently coined in 2006.Read more