The recent rise of the New Atheism has aroused great general interest, thrown up questions of fundamental importance, and started a fascinating conversation. Why God Won’t Go Away invites us to join in.
The volume opens with a survey of the main ideas of the New Atheism, as expressed in the works of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. We then examine the core views of the movement closely, making due reference to its ‘virtual community’ of websites and blogs. Subjects explored include:
- whether religion is delusional and evil
- the belief that human beings are fundamentally good
- whether we should have faith only in what can be proved through reason and science
- the idea that the best hope for humanity is a ‘New Enlightenment’
The result is a lively and highly thought-provoking volume that poses a number of interesting questions.
Why is religion experiencing a resurgence in the twenty-first century, when we are meant to have grown out of such a primitive fixation?
Has the New Atheism’s fascination with rationality led to a fatal underestimation of the longing of the human heart to adore?
And if, as Christopher Hitchens writes in exasperation, religion is ‘ineradicable’, doesn’t this tiresome fact suggest that dismissing belief in God as irrational and unscientific might just be a waste of time?
Alister McGrath is Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education, and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at Kings College London. He is a prolific author noted for his ability to explore and express complex ideas in simple terms. His three most recent books for SPCK are Mere Christianity, Heresy and, with Joanna Collicutt McGrath, the international bestseller, The Dawkins Delusion?