Monday, July 4, 2011

Review: Why God Won’t Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running On Empty? by Alister McGrath

Alister McGrath has put words to my questions about what he calls the “New Atheism.” McGrath sees New Atheism as a form of anti-theism, “…an intense anger against religion, which is held to poison everything.” (16). Ah, now we are on the same page with McGrath.

Throughout this book he examines the work of the leading proponents of the New Atheism and one by one is able to show the inconsistencies of their arguments. The best thing is even though some of the points he makes have to do with the proper formation of logical arguments he writes so that those of us who are not schooled in that area can still understand him. That is why I like this book so much. It is clear and yet leaves very little unsaid. It isn’t long either and can be read in an afternoon, and McGrath has engaged several of the New Atheism leaders in conversation. One other tidbit about McGrath, he holds an advanced degree in one of the hard sciences. He is not just taking shots from some scholarly vantage point.

The little nit I have with this book is some of the asides he makes are not in keeping with his reputation and give the other guys something to complain about. Yes, the New Atheism does the same thing and some of its followers are downright rude, but for McGrath to engage in some of his more erudite asides isn’t necessary for this work. Have to say some of them were right on target, though. In my opinion.

So, if you had that feeling that something wasn’t quite right when you read Dawkins or Hitchens or the others, but could not quite get a handle on what that was, this book is for you.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through Booksneeze in exchange for this review.

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