44 of 56 people found the following review helpful
A breath of fresh air,
This review is from: The New Atheists: The Twilight of Reason and the War on Religion (Paperback)
In this well-informed and intelligent response to the current God debate, Tine Beattie does not so much take sides, but rather takes a step back in order to place both camps in their historical and cultural context. (It emerges of no small significance that almost all the major players are both white and male.)
The danger that we face turns out, according to Beattie, to be neither religion nor atheism, but the idea that we can have certain access to truths for which we can claim the necessary assent of others. The new atheism (Dawkins, Hitchens and co) is presented as not the opposition to, but acounterpart of, the wave of religious fundamentalism that endangers our current world. Beattie offers convincing arguments against both religious and atheistic fundamentalism, drawing on feminist and post-colonial theory to advocate a respect for diversity and a recognition of those whose voices are not normally heard. And these are but a few (central) strands of the book, which reaches a fascinating conclusion of significance for believer and atheist alike.
As an outsider to the current God debate, Beattie emerges as more thoughtful and well-informed than most of those within the debate itself. Her research is presented clearly, and her arguments avoid sinking into the inflated rhetoric and cheap insults that characterise some of the literature she discusses. Although the subject matter is heavy, little prior knowledge is assumed, and difficult concepts are presented with admirable ease, making this book accessible to all who are willing to take the time to stop and think.