Personally, I loved this book. It's got such great points, and the author certainly doesn't beat around the bush. He gets straight to the point. When I first received the book, I was a bit taken aback by the small amount of pages- only around 165. But I soon realized that this is all the author really needed.
The author takes us through the 4 main people or, as they call themselves, "horsemen". He gives us an in-depth look at "New Atheism" and the foundations of it, and also how it differs from Atheism. What I really loved about this book was the fact that the author used personal experiences, as well as research he had done, to write this book. I really hope you're able to pick up this book and enjoy it as much as I did!
My purpose in reading Why God Won't Go Away by Alister McGrath was to be better informed about atheism, particularly what is called new atheism. As a Christian I believe it is important, no Biblical, for us to defend our faith (I Peter 3:15). I know a few atheist personally so I had even more interest in this book.
I believe that the title isn't what the major point of the book is. McGrath doesn't get to why God won't go away until the last chapter. The rest of the book deals with what the new atheism is, particularly from the teachings of the so-called "Four Horsemen" of the movement - Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens. McGrath doesn't give much other space to any others in the movement.
Even though he doesn't get to the purpose of the book until the end, I didn't mind. The information the new atheist movement makes the book worth the read. If you have ever had conversations with people who disagree with you on the subject of religion you know that they can get heated and at times mean. McGrath never does. He presents their view and counters it respectively, never writing in a superior or condescending tone.
Throughout the book McGrath addresses objections that new atheists have with Christian beliefs and clearly shows their objections as incomplete, hypocritical or false. One example that sticks out is the objection that atheists have with God because of all of the violence that has been done throughout human history in the name of God yet atheists conveniently ignore the atheism of Stalin and his murderous reign. This is only one of the multiple arguments that atheists use against God that McGrath applies to atheism itself to invalidate their argument.
I learned much about the new atheist movement from this book. He McGrath writes in a clear way that is accessible to most readers. If you have been curious about atheism, this book would be of much help.
Disclaimer - I received this resource free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Sneeze book review blogger program. All that was required of me is that I review it, positively or negatively, on my site.
I found Alister McGrath to be refreshing and engaging as he took on the "New Atheist" in this book.
Of course there is nothing "new under the sun", but McGrath explains who the current high-stakes players are in this movement and what their tactics entail (namely ridicule and dismissal, but with militant zeal). The end result, of course, is that conversation is shut down, not engaged in rationally.
In contrast, McGrath entertains many questions asked by "new atheists" and gives reasonable responses. In reading this book (and I also recommend watching a discussion/debate or two between Alister McGrath and Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchins - such debates can be found online), one cannot help but see the difference between McGrath's sensible (even humble) handling of a challenging subject and the defensive and insulting manner in which the "new atheist" handles it.
A truly reasonable person should be able to rise above defensive and insulting posturing, not succumb to it as a main tactic in winning an argument. Insult and dismissal are not the tactics of those who honestly desire to have reasonable and rational discussion. Regardless of what side of the divide you may be on, I suggest giving Alister McGrath a read. The contrast in style between McGrath and the "new atheist" is stark indeed.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Atheism is certainly nothing new. In fact, many first century Christians were accused of being atheists because they stopped believing in the pantheistic system of many gods of their culture. The beginning of atheism being the main stream thought in Western Culture began as a philosophic outpouring of the industrial age. The so-called Modern man was too rational and too logical to be bogged down with the superstitious subjects of faith and religion. This full blown cultural shift was brought to bear populously by the Scopes "Monkey" trial and seen its culmination culturally in the á»®ber logical Mr. Spock on TV's Star Trek.
But a cultural shift only lasts so long before it begins to be overrun by the next philosophical upheaval. Modernity was rapidly replaced by post-modernism and the "end of reason" crowd soon told us that "what's good for you is good for you, and what's good for me is good for me." Along with this came a renewed interest in all things spiritual. Not necessarily the religion of your grandparents, but absolutely not the stagnant, cold, unbelieving rationality of your parents either. Gen X began to seek after a new spirituality that was zen and created fung shui.
Coming out of this new postmodern, all things go, mentality, the clerics of atheism began a new atheistic movement, dubbed unoriginally as "New Atheism." Targeting not just the illogicality of religion, but taking a much nastier turn than the live and let live of old, new atheism pompously touts itself as the only kid on the block. Men such as Richard Dawkins (the scientist, not to be confused with Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes), Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris do battle with the likes of Ravi Zacharias and Alister McGrath, and William Lane Craig, three of the brightest minds in Christian Apologetics.
McGrath's Book, Why God Won't Go Away, answers these critics from New Atheism and delivers a resounding blow to an anti-religion fad that is on its way to the junk piles of philosophies. The book would be suitable for someone that is above average in the knowledge of apologetics, but it is really designed for the individual with an even higher understanding than that. Not recommended as casual reading or for the causal theologian_unless you're suffering from insomnia. But for the pastor or serious Bible student, this would come as highly recommended.