Why God Won't Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty?

Paperback | May 16, 2011

byAlister E. McGrath

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"A robust defense of the God of the Bible...This is a book for serious thinkers who wish to make God real in a world that has forgotten its Creator and Maker." -- Joni Eareckson Tada

In a decade embroiled in fanaticism and fear, a renewed interest in the age-old debate over the question of God has reignited, giving rise to a new group of media-savvy contenders dubbed the "New Atheists." As expressed in the works of best-selling authors like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the New Atheists have found a foothold in today's cynical society, and have ramped up their efforts to debunk the existence of God.

Renowned historian, theologian, and scholar Alister McGrath is on the frontlines of this conversation,  publicly debating many of these prominent skeptics. In this thoughtful and accessible volume, McGrath gives a spirited rebuttal to the claims of the New Atheists, critiquing the New Atheism on its own merits and exploring the fundamental questions:

  • Who are the New Atheists, and what do they believe?

  • Is religion delusional and evil?

  • Are human beings fundamentally good?

  • How do reason and science prove or disprove faith?

  • Is the best hope for humanity a "New Enlightenment"?

Why God Won't Go Away explores how the movement's ideas are defined and propagated, helping us understand the agendas and anxieties of this global movement and its appeal to society as a whole. Why God Won't Go Away explores what is "new" about New Atheism, critiques the movement on its core themes of violence, reason, and science, and asks, where does the New Atheism go from here?

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From the Publisher

"A robust defense of the God of the Bible...This is a book for serious thinkers who wish to make God real in a world that has forgotten its Creator and Maker." -- Joni Eareckson Tada In a decade embroiled in fanaticism and fear, a renewed interest in the age-old debate over the question of God has reignited, giving rise to a new gro...

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 Dangerou...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 0.6 inPublished:May 16, 2011Publisher:Thomas NelsonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:084994645X

ISBN - 13:9780849946455

Customer Reviews of Why God Won't Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty?

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book! Well thought out reasoning on the topic! Why God Won’t Go Away was a good book, and took me some time to get through because of how much of a thinker it was. As a Christian, and someone that shares my faith with others I have had some encounters with atheists where they just ridiculed and name-called and the tone that all of their discussions came through was in anger… at me for believing in God… In religion in general. In this book Alister McGrath writes about what he calls the New Atheism. You have probably heard of some of their “big guns”: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the like. I have tried to read some of the writings of these authors, and each time I picked up a book they were so filled with sweeping judgements about all religions as a whole, and using the negative things done in the name of religion to say that ALL religion is evil that I had to shake my head at their lack of understanding. Why God Won’t Go Away is divided into three parts. Part one is about defining what he means by the New Atheism, and how it is contrasted from moderate atheism. Part two addresses three core themes of the New Atheist proponents. McGrath addresses the claim that ALL religion leads to violence. He addresses issues in reasoning and I think quite soundly shows the limits of science and what science can prove. Part three examines the New Atheist movement in where it is today, and then shows some of the ways that it is falling off in momentum. McGrath closes off the book with a story about a young man that approached him after a speaking engagement seeking an autograph. The young man shared about how he had been lead to Christ because of reading a Dawkins book. He felt that the book was so unfair and one-sided that he was compelled to find out the other side of the issue. In looking at the other side, he had now become a Christian. Why God Won’t Go Away is an excellent book. You will come away seeing some of the weaknesses in the claims and omissions of the New Atheists. I was provided a complimentary copy from Book Sneeze for review.
Date published: 2011-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Forceful Argument against Atheist Illogic 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.
Date published: 2011-07-19