Thursday, December 01, 2011

Book Review of Why God Won't Go Away by Alister McGrath

Why God Won’t Go Away
By Alister McGrath
ISBN 978-0-8499-4645-5
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Reviewed by Clint Walker

I have often heard about what both people inside and outside of the church have referred to as the “New Atheism”, and each time it has been mentioned, I have been foggy about what the term meant. For this reason I picked up Why God Won’t Go Away by Alister McGrath. What I discovered was a cogent, clearly written summary of the New Atheism, as well as some simple to understand criticisms and objections to the philosophy that informs the New Atheists.

McGrath begins this book by identifying the key leaders in the New Atheist movement. Then he distinguishes the unique characteristics of the movement, especially in relationship to more traditional forms of atheism. Then McGrath goes in depth about the identifying arguments and attitudes of the New Atheists. He ends the book by questioning the future of New Atheists, and plotting the future of thinking Christianity in light of living in a world where the “New Atheism” has a strong influence.

What I found unique about the New Atheism is the fervor of its leaders. One of the arguments of many of these men is that religion is not just wrong, but in fact religion is destructive and evil. Much of this line of argument, although being around among average people for a long time, gains new steam after the violence of 9-11 by religious Islamic fundamentalists. A traditional atheist believes that Christianity is illogical, and focuses on reason. The “New Atheist” aggressively seeks to evangelize people to be atheists because they believe that religious faith must be destroyed. They believe that religious faith is dangerous. The “New Atheists” tend to attempt to be logical, but in fact much of the “new atheism” is polemical, and calls their disciples to aggressively fight against the wretched religious folks.

This book is kind-hearted and grace-filled. It is also a book full of strong Christian conviction regarding the truth about God’s existence and the gospel of Jesus. I would recommend it to anyone struggling with issues about whether there is a God. I would also especially commend this book to believers who are struggling with doubt.

(this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

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