Sep 21, 2011

Why God Won't Go Away - Book Review

The "New Atheism" characterized by the writings of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens has put the debate about God in a new arena during the last decade.  Men such as Dawkins have taken the dialogue to a much more aggressive level by comparing Christianity with radical Islam.  Into this mix, theologian and preacher Alister McGrath launches the book, "Why God Won't Go Away".  McGrath is a former athiest who now holds the chair of theology at King's College in London.  He occasionally holds debates with Hitchens, Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett about atheism and the existence of God.  If you have ever had the privilege of hearing McGrath speak, you are struck by both his incredible intellect as well as his ability to make complicated truths more easily understandable.

Overall, I was impressed with McGrath's book.  I have not read much of Dawkins or Hitchens.  In my current ministry context, I am not actively dialoging with people who have been influenced by the new athiests.  However, I have been watching these issues gaining more attention in the media.  Dawkins and Hitchens books have been phenominal best-sellers.  They take the attack on belief in God to a whole new level.  They are extremely intellectual and their ideas are progressing rapidly in the academic world.  McGrath's background and careful analysis of the issues make him a great ally for the Christian side of the debate.  This book is a great introduction to the personalities, history, and overview of some of the issues that the New Atheism brings to the table.  McGrath does and excellent job of pointing out some of the flaws in the arguements of the New Atheists without being offensive or demeaning.  He also does an excellent job showing that a belief in faith and deity does not mean that someone has to commit intellectual suicide with regard to reason and science.  This book packs a lot into a smaller, easy-to-read format.  Do not pick up this book thinking that it will provide a comprehensive answer that will equip you to win a debate with an atheist.  However, for the pastor and normal church member who wants to see what New Atheism is and how to deal with it, this book is a great start.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”