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Against Atheism: Why Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris are Fundamentally Wrong Hardcover – 22 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (22 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405189649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405189644
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.2 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,315,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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It is a thoughtful, eirenic and wide–ranging contribution This is a serious and sophisticated addition to the burgeoning New Atheism literature, and a very good advert for its author s avowed classical Catholicism in its Anglican form (p.8).   (Modern Believing, 1 July 2012)

"Markham encourages people of faith to listen to the challenging critiques of atheists and to engage them for much of value can be learned′, shared, and clarified in a respectful exchange of ideas (p. 134). Religious and non–religious people wanting to learn more about atheism, a religious response to atheism, and the connections between science and religion should read this book." (Religion & Theology, 2012)

"Unlike other responses to the new atheism, Markham challenges these authors on their own ground by questioning their understanding of belief and of atheism itself.  The result is a transforming introduction to Christianity that will appeal to anyone interested in this debate." (Studies in Spirituality, 2010)"Accessible and patient ... .Markham does not evade tough questions." (The Tablet, April 2010)

"Markham′s comparison of Nietzsche to the New Atheists is particularly insightful .This book will be enjoyed by academically minded believers looking to bolster their arguments against atheism." (Library Journal, April 2010)

"Stands out from the crowd by questioning the theological, ethical, and spiritual content underpinning books by Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris. By challenging the very foundations of their position, [Markham] exposes the weaknesses in their arguments." (Sourcews, November 2009)

"Ian Markham ... offers a moral argument for faith. Markham accuses the so–called New Atheists Dawkins et al. of not facing up to the conse­quences of their atheism. Markham argues the case very well." (Church Times, April 2010)


"A brilliant defence of the reasonableness of Christian belief, against its modern detractors. Written beautifully and clearly, this is modern Christian thought at its best."  Keith Ward, University of Oxford, UK

I find this book  to be absolutely superb! It s a lucid, respectful, comprehensive, and compelling case for the rationality and veracity of Christian faith.  I love the irenic spirit of Markham s engagement in stark contrast to his interlocutors.
Sam Lloyd, Dean of Washington National Cathedral

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By mad_humanist on 24 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book from the local library and started reading expecting to at least be challenged. It started off quite well. He gave what I believe to be a respectful and fair summary of the main atheist arguments. He described the view points of an atheist, Fred, and a Christian, Natalie. He gave a summary of Christianity as he saw it, and I thought with anticipation it could be really interesting and stimulating to read a fresh defence of that position. I found myself writing summaries of his arguments. To the author's credit the book is fairly readable and it is always quite clear what he means (perhaps too clear). I do find myself feeling I have a much better understanding of the way such a person thinks, and the futility of being angry with them, but also the tenacity (and even perhaps dishonesty and viciousness) with which they will cling to discredited beliefs. Here are a shortened version of my notes:

* Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins are fundamentalists because they are sure that God does not exist. [Markham has clearly not read the relevant passages of Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins.]
* Materialism and reductionism are absurd [ - which seems to contradict his general acceptance of science at least with the ease with which he dismisses them.]
* Spiritual experience is widespread. Marx, Freud and Durkheim have failed to explain it adequately. "Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris .... are not cultivating the capacity to communicate with the divine." [Strange then that he does not go into Harris' views on meditation in more detail or discuss evidence for and against naturalistic explanations of spiritual experience.]
* Nietzsche is the best account of logic, rationality and ethics that an atheist can hope to justify.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Snoosnoo on 17 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With the length of Dawkins' God Delusion I expected a substantial reply but this book goes on to describe what he thinks is the Atheist all atheists are attempting to be. And unfortunately some arguments are simply based on what the bible says along the lines of, we know there was a flood the bible says so (this is not an example from the book). A good start point though for people getting into this debate, as I was
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tenkaren on 1 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
Awful book!
Doesn't defend anything, only discusses some points here and there without going anywhere!
Uses one chapter to defend Islam!
A big disappointment!
If you want an amateur writing his thoughts without any sound argument, Markham is you're guy.
If you want the real thing, go to William Lane Graig or Timothy Keller or Norman Geisler.
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28 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Markku Ojanen on 20 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
The earlier reviewer may not have read this well-reasoned and balanced book. This may be the best or one of the best critiques of atheism. In my opinion it presents atheism very truthfully and acknowledges the problems of both religious and atheistic world-views. Markham is also very open to different religions, though clearly states his own belief. It seems to me that the fundamentalist atheists want to fight until the very end. What it is I do not know. They want their opponents to be similar than they are. Not an inch must be given in! I recommend this book warmly.
Markku Ojanen, professor of psychology, Finland
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30 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Peter Davies TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It is powerful and polite challenge to atheism as a belief system.

The book is well produced, well written and fully referenced. It is easy and straightforward to read. The author makes his arguments briefly and well. He acknowledges the strengths of his opponent's positions, and so accepts the challenge to respond to them with proper argument. His main opponents in mind are Dawkins. Hitchens and Harris.

I think the author succeeds in achieving the aim expressed in the subtitle of showing "Why Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris are fundamentally wrong." I suspect my atheist friends will disagree with my assessment, and that's fair enough. Markham is a considered and considerate author, and keen to encourage conversation, not polarities.

To summarise the content for readers Markham makes his case against atheism on six main grounds, namely:-
1. We have a spiritual sense- this doesn't come from nowhere.
2. His analysis of the problem that our knowledge is always local and rooted, but that we have beliefs (hopefully held tentatively and humbly) that go far beyond our locality. (Think about Kant in Konigsberg...and how far round the world his thoughts have gone!)
3. Science is now one of the best reasons for faith
4. His answer to the problem of suffering. (a version of the "free will" defence)
5. The problem of Islamophobia- and how we can better understand Islam and its followers- and why Muslims and Christians need to listen more to each other's ideas.
6. The implications of Nietzsche's thought about how far reaching and damaging the consequences of the death of God are- he thinks Dawkins et al have failed to fully understand the seriousness of the death of God both for morality and science.
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