Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why God Won't Go Away

By Alister McGrath. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 191 pages.

Christian theologian Alister McGrath spends as much time highlighting New Atheism's weaknesses as he does examining how the human hunger for God does not seem to be dissipating. The anti-theists' anger seems strange, given their supposed adherence to rationalism. If they are so rational, why do they work themselves up so much over religion?

New Atheists have become known more for their anger and disrespect than for their elegant arguments. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitches tend to use rhetoric, based largely on their anger and hatred of organized religion, more than logic in trying to undermine a basis in belief.

Yet McGrath argues that this has actually helped religion, as it proves that even atheists promoting a "rational" worldview have trouble with their emotions and with reasoned argument. McGrath argues quite convincingly that this reflects a fear that they are losing the war, and that people are not giving up church in droves.

These writers also "cherry pick" bad episodes in Christian history, and minimize atheist guilt in the crimes of Stalin and Hitler. "Those weren't real atheists," Hitchens and the others argue, without admitting that Christians can claim that crusaders weren't "real Christians."

This inconsistency is the real irrational component in our culture wars. McGrath also discusses the rational elements of faith, and how belief can nourish reason.

Christians will feel they have won the battle after reading Why God Won't Go Away.

1 comment:

  1. Are these atheists "angry" in the same way that blacks are "uppity" and Jews are "pernicious"?