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Why God Won't Go Away - Engaging with the New Atheism Paperback – 18 Feb 2011

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Why God Won't Go Away - Engaging with the New Atheism + The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine + God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing; 1st Edition edition (18 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281063877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281063871
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 0.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Why God Won't Go Away simply demolishes New Atheism in all departments and in every respect . . . There's no way back for it from this. And to think that mild-mannered Alister McGrath delivered the fatal blow. Priceless. --Steve Morris, The Church of England Newspaper

Armed with McGrath, the message is clear - it's time for Christians to embrace science and philosophy without fear, and defend Christianity from the misleading rhetoric of the militant atheists. --Christianity

About the Author

Alister McGrath is Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education, Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College, London and a prolific author. His three most recent books for SPCK are Mere Theology (April 2010), Heresy (Nov 2009), and Christianity's Dangerous Idea (2007).

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Doctorludo on 29 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Much more accessible than The Dawkins Delusion, written with clarity, brevity and academic rigour, this book is, as the subtitle states, an engagement with "new atheism". McGrath has, in parts, sacrificed detail for the sake of readibility, but generally strikes the balance well. In particular, he takes apart some of the false assumptions and academic/logical errors that can be found in the works of Dennett, Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens.

As others have pointed out, this is not a proof for the existence of God - the subtitle is a better description of the text. It is, however, clear, gracious, well written and well researched. Whilst he does take an occasional swipe at his opponents, the general tone is one of courtesy.

This book has been needed for a long time.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By rossuk TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book looks at the books/arguments by the four horsemen of the New Atheism (Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens). The book is only slightly longer than "The Dawkins Delusion?", so it is a summary/refutation of their arguments and he writes with great clarity as he condenses the various arguments. He tries to engage with the New Atheism, rather than throw stones. He understands the New Atheism well, as he has debated them and inhabited their websites and discussion boards. Those who liked "The Dawkins Delusion" will also like this book; those who hated it will also hate this book, especially as he shines the light of truth and exposes their arguments as the sham they actually are. I only gave it four stars as it could be a bit longer, but as with most of McGrath's books it is highly readable. It is a case of quality over quantity.

Chap 1: The New Atheism: how it started. He looks at the four horsemen of the New Atheism and their books/arguments, which was fascinating.

Chap 2: Looks at what's `New' about the New Atheism, which is characterised "by its anti-theism - an intense anger against religion which is held to poison everything". It ignores any good done by theists as well as any bad done by atheists. Hitchens even slammed Mother Teresa, which is an excellent way of alienating your audience, which is one of the features of the New Atheism, it just polarises the issue, making rational dialogue impossible.

Chap 3: Looks at when religion goes wrong: violence. Of particular interest to me was his description of the Soviet Union as the first officially atheist state, which included the propaganda of atheism (p 50).
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Meadows on 1 Jun. 2011
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It has to be noted, the book is quite short, so it cannot cover all the ground that may be considered necessary as a response to New Atheism. Instead, what we have is a book that pulls at some of the loose threads in modern atheistic writing and thinking, going someway (but not all the way) to unravelling the most popular arguments against God and religion. The book is one-sided, but then again so are the books which McGrath critiques. He doesn't really get onto the reasons "why God won't go away" until the last 5 pages of the book. So while the main title may be misleading, the sub-title of engaging with the New Atheism better denotes what the book does. McGrath takes on some of the challenges that are levelled at religious belief and practice. His key tactic is to undermine the basis on which the argument is made, often by holding up a mirror to atheism itself and hoping, like a lumberjack, that once its base has been hacked away somewhat, that the argument will fall under its own weight.

In his overview of each of the 4 main figureheads of New Atheism, McGrath does give credit where it is due and is not at all dismissive of the critiques of religion given. His analysis is both concise and insightful, showing up areas of lax thinking on the part of those concerned.

Personally, I found the critiques insightful, powerful and effective. However, I can easily imagine that not all readers would concur with me on this front. To that end, I think this book deserves a serious and considered response.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julian Wilde on 10 Mar. 2014
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I'm a God sceptic simply because I see no evidence of His existence in this world. But I enjoy an intelligent debate. I think the author's main weakness is perceiving "the new atheism" as a movement, thereby implying that suspension of disbelief in God has a limited shelf life. No matter how well Dawkins and the fiercely incisive Hitchens may argue the case, it seems that people are perfectly willing to acquiesce to their religious hard wiring rather than employ reasoning and logic to the religious domain. But to confine myself to this book, it's well worth reading and made me want to peruse similar works. I think Why God Won't Go Away joins The God Delusion and God Is Not Great as leaders in this field of study.
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