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World–renowned scientist Richard Dawkins writes in The God Delusion: ‘If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.’ The volume has received wide coverage, fuelled much passionate debate and caused not a little confusion.
Alister McGrath is ideally placed to evaluate Dawkins’ ideas. Once an atheist himself, he gained a doctorate in molecular biophysics before going on to become a leading Christian theologian. He wonders how two people, who have reflected at length on substantially the same world, could possibly have come to such different conclusions about God. McGrath subjects Dawkins’ critique of faith to rigorous scrutiny. His exhilarating, meticulously argued response deals with questions such as:
• Is faith intellectual nonsense?
• Are science and religion locked in a battle to the death?
• Can the roots of Christianity be explained away scientifically?
• Is Christianity simply a force for evil?
This book will be warmly received by those looking for a reliable assessment of The God Delusion and the many questions it raises – including, above all, the relevance of faith and the quest for meaning.
Alister McGrath has set out with a limited agenda - to produce a quick response to an influential book and demonstrate that it is not as unassailable as its proponents would have us believe. McGrath never claims that he is doing a point by point rebuttal and in fact explicitly says the opposite. In this limited task it seems to me McGrath succeeds admirably. He does not in any sense "prove" that Dawkins essential thesis (the non-existence of God) is wrong. But he demonstrates clearly that Dawkins philosophy is limited, his reading of the evidence selective and his insistence on the retention of every idea he has ever come up with (including the laughable "memes") arrogant. Unlike Dawkins (who, contrary to what some secular reviews of The Dawkins Delusion say reads much more like a cheap tele-evangelist than McGrath), this book is not an attempt to change somebody's world view by blunt force trauma. Rather it is a plea to get people to think for themselves rather than being bludgeoned into submission by the philosophically limited rhetoric of a fervent atheist.
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