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There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
by Antony Flew
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable contribution, 27 Oct 2011
I am really only reviewing to counter the other disgraceful accusations on these pages that Flew was not the author of this book. As Flew, shortly after publishing this book, appeared on platform defending these views and wrote articles and conducted interviews explaining them, there can be no doubt that Flew moved to a deist view before he died.

This book is thoughtful and takes the reader through Flew's intellectual journey. Particularly interesting is his reassessment of some of his old arguments for atheism in the light of his new belief.


Does God Exist?: The Debate Between Theists and Atheists
Does God Exist?: The Debate Between Theists and Atheists
by J. P. Moreland
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.24

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the God debate - Dawkins take note!, 21 Aug 2007
This is quite simply essential reading for anyone interested in the debate about God's existence. Indeed if certain recent contributors to the God debate had bothered to read it their books would have been immeasurably enhanced.

This book is worth buying simply for Peter Kreeft's masterful introduction to the debate. He comprehensively and fairly outlines the issues at hand, the approaches of the contributors, and the importance of the question. He also conclusively demonstrates that belief in God and non-belief in God are BOTH rational hypotheses which require defending - neither side has a monopoly on "rationality" (or irrationality for that matter).

Secondly this is worth reading for Neilson's bold and original argument that the whole notion of God is simply incoherent (like the notion of a married bachelor) - if successful this would at a stroke render God's existence impossible and be the killer blow to theistic belief. Unfortunately for Neilson his argument never gets off the ground and he receives somewhat of a mauling not only from Moreland (who mounts a robust and well defended - if fairly classical - argument for God's existence) and his theist counterparts, but also from the other the atheist contributors.

Thirdly, this should be read for the essays of Dallas Willard and Antony Flew who give by far the best contributions for the theist and atheist side respectively (Neilson actually interacts more Willard than Moreland in the closing remarks). Flew's contribution is of particular note in the light of his recent conversion to theism (he would now describe himself as a Deist) and makes for interesting historical reading.

Finally, this book is so wonderfully refreshing because of the manner in which the debate is conducted. Moreland and Neilson treat each other with an immense amount of respect and respond to each other with grace, each respecting the other's intellectual integrity and rational abilities. This is surely how the debate should proceed - we can disagree without being disagreeable. If all future contributions to the God debate could be conducted in a similar spirit we would all be better off, and better informed.


The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
by Francis Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear, accessible and humble - how refreshing!, 14 Aug 2007
How refreshing to read a book by a scientist about faith in God which is totally free of the hyperbole, intemperance and aggression of other recent publications! Collins frames his proposals with humility and his criticisms with care and respect - if only all contributions to the God debate could be written in a similarly gracious manner (whether by theist or atheist) we'd all be better off - and more light than heat would be generated.

This book is extremely valuable for two important reasons.

First, Collins is an extremely eminent scientist. As director of the Human Genome Project, Collins is possibly one the most respected scientists in the world and he is also committed believer in God. His scientific integrity is beyond question - indeed his harshest words are directed towards creationists who abandon any pursuit of science and he is strongly critical of Intelligent Design - and yet he sees no contradiction between his scientific discoveries and his belief in God.

Second, Collins used to be an adamant atheist. This is no "dyed-in-the-wool faith-head" (to use a memorable but misleading description) - Collins was brought up by free-thinking, non-believing, liberal parents and only later in his adult life arrived at his Christian faith after a painstakingly rational search which thoroughly examined the evidence.

Consequently this book slays two great myths currently doing the rounds. Collins demolishes the notion that science and faith are contradictory or in conflict - not only do a huge number of scientists have a theistic faith, the vast majority of those who don't see no contradiction between being a believer and being a scientist. The myth of a great battle between science and faith is simply a dragon conjured up by fundamentalists on both sides of the atheist/theist debate to stoke the fires of antipathy. Secondly, Collins demonstrates that there is nothing irrational about faith. Faith, by its very nature, goes beyond reason, but it is no way contrary to reason. In describing his own faith-journey (from agnosticism to atheism to theism to Christianity) Collins shows how a reasonable, rational and open-minded search for truth can easily lead to Christianity.

Although this faith-journey is perhaps too briefly outlined to properly cover the philosophical themes he brings up it provides useful context to the heart of the book where Collins shows how faith and science can sit quite happily side-by-side - indeed he shows how this was always the belief of people like Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Einstein.

Collins communicates his enthusiasm for science in an infectious, accessible manner, and I found myself (as a non-scientist) captivated by the amazing world of genes and DNA. As a scientist, Collins' can marvel at the wonders of the order of the cosmos beyond and the intricacies of the double-helix within whilst at the same time, as a believer, seeing the hand of a divine designer in both.


God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion
God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion
by Christopher Hitchens
Edition: Hardcover

33 of 97 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Book is Not Great, 8 Aug 2007
Welcome to the latest entertaining tirade against God, but this one is almost comically contradictory.

Christopher Hitchens boldly declares: "Our belief is NOT a belief!" Not only is this possibly the most self-contradictory statement since "I can't write English", he then goes on to rattle off a list of atheist beliefs. The best being the dogmatic assertion that "We do NOT hold our views dogmatically!"

Now anyone familiar with Hitchens will know that every view Hitchens holds he holds dogmatically (his jousts with George Galloway are particularly entertaining!), and once again his assertion is undermined as throughout the book as we discover just how dogmatic and acerbic Hitchens "non-dogmatic" views really are.

There is little original here - the same old "religion causes wars"/ "faith is irrational" arguments are mounted - and again assertion is substituted form argument and there is a complete lack of any serious engagement with leading contemporary theistic thinking (it's a little like reading a book on physics which ignores Einstein onwards). Unthinking atheists and theists will once again delight and despair in equal measure, but thinking atheists and theists will once again feel that a great disservice has been done to an important subject.


The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
by Francis Collins
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, readable and humble - very refreshing., 8 Aug 2007
How refreshing to read a book by a scientist about faith in God which is totally free of the hyperbole, intemperance and aggression of other recent publications! Collins frames his proposals with humility and his criticisms with care and respect - if only all contributions to the God debate could be written in a similarly gracious manner (whether by theist or atheist) we'd all be better off and better off - and more light than heat would be generated.

This book is extremely valuable for two important reasons.

First, Collins is an extremely eminent scientist. As director of the Human Genome Project, Collins is possibly one the most respected scientists in the world and he is also committed believer in God. His scientific integrity is beyond question - indeed his harshest words are directed towards creationists who abandon any pursuit of science and he is strongly critical of Intelligent Design - and yet he sees no contradiction between his scientific discoveries and his belief in God.

Second, Collins used to be an adamant atheist. This is no "dyed-in-the-wool faith-head" (to use a memorable but misleading description) - Collins was brought up by free-thinking, non-believing, liberal parents and only later in his adult life arrived at his Christian faith after a painstakingly rational search which thoroughly examined the evidence.

Consequently this book slays two great myths currently doing the rounds. Collins demolishes the notion that science and faith are contradictory or in conflict - not only do a huge number of scientists have a theistic faith, the vast majority of those who don't see no contradiction between being a believer and being a scientist. The myth of a great battle between science and faith is simply a dragon conjured up by fundamentalists on both sides of the atheist/theist debate to stoke the fires of antipathy. Secondly, Collins demonstrates that there is nothing irrational about faith. Faith, by its very nature, goes beyond reason, but it is no way contrary to reason. In describing his own faith-journey (from agnosticism to atheism to theism to Christianity) Collins shows how a reasonable, rational and open-minded search for truth can easily lead to Christianity.

Although this faith-journey is perhaps too briefly outlined to properly cover the philosophical themes he brings up it provides useful context to the heart of the book where Collins shows how faith and science can sit quite happily side-by-side - indeed he shows how this was always the belief of people like Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Einstein.

Collins communicates his enthusiasm for science in an infectious, accessible manner, and I found myself (as a non-scientist) captivated by the amazing world of genes and DNA. As a scientist, Collins' can marvel at the wonders of the order of the cosmos beyond and the intricacies of the double-helix within whilst at the same time, as a believer, seeing the hand of a divine designer in both.


The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.03

33 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An embarrassment to atheism, 14 Jun 2007
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
Can I say at the outset that: yes, I did read the book and yes, I did find it entertaining. But it was entertaining in the way that a tabloid rant is entertaining - it was something I would have expected from the pen of Richard Littlejohn not Richard Dawkins, professor of Oxford University.

For much of the book I was left thinking: how did one of the most respected scientists in the world - author of the Selfish Gene and famous for his rigour and rational argument - produce such a irrate, shrill and, in places, poorly researched book?

Just a few of its pitfalls:

Dawkins fails to properly engage with - apart from to insult - any of the scientists (atheists and theists!) who fairly argue that science can not properly judge whether God exists: he simply insults them or states they can't mean what they say (ironic - I thought it was religion which was supposed to be "belief in the face of the evidence"). The chapter on the arguments for God's existence contain so many basic mistakes it would make a first-year philosophy under-grad blush. He draws a willfully misleading picture of what theists actually believe - many Christians, for example, will not recognise the God Dawkins thinks they believe in. And does Dawkins seriously believe that Sunday School is tantamount to child abuse and that being brought up Catholic is worse than being molested (yes, he really does say this!)? This totally undermines Dawkins claim to be reasoned and rational - it is he who comes across as the irrational fundamentalist!!

As a cutting polemic it's fine, but as a serious contribution to the atheist/theist debate this is laughable. This is the Victor Meldrew approach to the question of religion and it is an embarrassment to atheism.


The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine
The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine
by Alister McGrath
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

46 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good rebuttal of Dawkins, 20 April 2007
Many reviewers have missed the point of this book (and as this was outlined in the introduction it makes me wonder whether some of them actually read it). As McGrath states, this is book is not an argument for God's existence it is rather a rebuttal of the methodology and fundamental assumptions of The God Delusion.

As someone who used to be an atheist, has doctorates in both biology and theology, and was brought up in Northern Ireland (one of the places most affected by religious conflict) McGrath is perfectly placed to examine the strength of Dawkins arguments.

McGrath is superb at dissecting the flaws in Dawkins logic, the weaknesses in his methods, the gaps in his understanding of philosophy (both of religion and science), and he successfully unmasks the spurious claim of TGD that science either disproves God or makes his existence "unlikely". He also shows why many atheists themselves are embarrassed by Dawkins intemperate and aggressive tone.

However at 65 pages McGrath can do little more than highlight Dawkins errors and weaknesses, and for me there was insufficient engagement with the wider atheist arguments put forward by much better reasoned atheists than Dawkins. The other minor flaw is that this book is not as entertaining as TGD - unfortunately being generous and fair with your opponents and careful in marshalling your arguments isn't quite as gripping as cutting polemic.

This does exactly what it says on the tin - it is a good rebuttal of TGD but if you want a strong exposition for the case for theism look elsewhere.


The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.17

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An embarrassment to atheism, 9 Jan 2007
This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
Oh dear Richard ... how did it come to this? How did one of the most respected scientists in the world, famous for his rigour and rational argument, produce such a irrate, shrill, poorly researched book? Don't get me wrong - this is an entertaining page-turner and it is very well written (Dawkins has lost none of his verbal dexterity). But it's entertaining in the way a tabloid rant is entertaining - this would be OK from Richard Littlejohn but one expects so much more from Professor Richard Dawkins.

Just a few of its pitfalls:

Dawkins fails to properly engage with - apart from to insult - any of the scientists (atheists and theists!) who fairly argue that science can not properly judge whether God exists: he simply insults them or states they can't mean what they say. The chapter on the arguments for God's existence contain so many mistakes and misunderstandings it would make a first-year philosophy under-grad blush. He draws a willfully misleading picture of what theists actually believe - many Christians, for example, will not recognise the God Dawkins thinks they believe in. And does Dawkins seriously believe that Sunday School is tantamount to child abuse and that being brought up Catholic is worse than being molested? This totally undermines Dawkins claim to be reasoned and rational - it is he who comes across as the irrational fundamentalist!!

As a cutting polemic it's fine, but as a serious contribution to the atheist/theist debate this is laughable. This is the Victor Meldrew approach to question of religion and it is an embarrassment to atheism.


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