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Comment: Publisher: Yale Univ Pr
Date of Publication: 2009
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Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies Hardcover – 17 Apr 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (17 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300111908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300111903
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 15.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,246,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"...another blistering assault on the crass ignorance of the New Atheists when it comes to matters religious and theological."
-- John Saxbee, Church Times, 19th June 2009

About the Author

David Bentley Hart is visiting professor, Theology Department, Providence College, and author of several books, including In the 'Aftermath: Provocations and Laments' and 'The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth'.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some of the reviewers on Amazon seem not to have noticed that this book is not a defence of Christian beliefs, nor an attack on atheism as such. It is instead a defence of Christianity against claims made about its allegedly harmful historical impact and character by many today, including the 'new atheists'. It argues that Christianity gave to the world revolutionary ideas of charity and justice: they have been so successful that we hardly notice how radical they were, though most of us accept them. It argues that the Church, for all its many failures, has been, in general, a positive influence on the world. It cites many cases where the story behind the myth shows the Church to have acted better (or, at least, less poorly) than legend holds - the Galileo case for example. It sets out the argument with verve and wit even if, at times, it appears to be indulging its polemical style a little too much. It made me realise how accustomed even knowledgeable - even Christian - people have become to making assumptions about the past that do not reflect well on the Church. Those who do not like the book might do better to stop attacking it for what it is not, and demonstrate its historical errors if they can.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an in-depth exploration of the bad history, as well as the misconceptions and ignorance about what it is people believe, that is so often used to attack religion. Written by well known American University lecturer, philosopher, and theologian, Professor David Hart, Atheist Delusions tackles such contentious moments in history as Galileo's trial and the witch hunts, explaining history and faith without resorting to popular misinformation or rhetoric, his history strong, verifiable, even-handed, and matter-of-fact, his arguments giving plenty of room for you to make up your own mind, something totally lacking from the populist rants of New Atheism's most virulent supporters, who tend to assume, if not demand, that you agree with their every view, regardless of how extreme or defamatory.

Professor Hart does not take not the opposite stance of defender railing against atheism itself, but instead attacks idealistic fanaticism on both sides, confessing that there are many denominations of Christianity that he vehemently dislikes, as well as many outspoken atheists he admires, warning against the angry and destructive creed of aggressive 'New Atheism', as well as challenging those who attack Christianity and other faiths without any idea of what they are about and the bad logic that they often use.

Though I wish it this book could have been a little stronger, and maybe a little less wordy in the introduction, this is a very good book for anyone who has already experienced much of the debate and despairs of the simplistic and pedantic nature of many current arguments, and is a timely warning not to take history's headlines at face value.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great read. The first half is excellent for pointing out the strawman in many of the classic anti-clerical arguments you hear parroted endlessly these days by lazy atheists who couldn't be bothered to familiarize themselves with the actual facts of the thing they criticize. A good example would be the incorrect belief that Christians burned down the precious library in Alexandria in 390 AD because they were 'against learning' and 'science'. Hart does a good job of demolishing these many strawman arguments. The second half of the book deals with the legacy of Christianity today that underpins much of our civilization, and the impact rejecting our Christian heritage may have on our way of life in the long run. The assumption that a post-Christian world will necessarily be a 'better one' (whatever 'better' means) is seriously challenged in this book, on solid grounds.
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Format: Paperback
This book does not set out to "disprove Dawkins" as you might have thought from the title (and some reviewers seem to have thought).
It is a careful review of certain parts of the history of Christianity aimed entirely at correcting areas of ignorance and misunderstanding about Christianity that are very popular or common today. The writer points out that one of his reasons for writing is that these misconceptions and misunderstandings are often seized upon -or indeed invented by- the "new atheists" as reasons to discredit Christianity, often in the most strident terms.

Thus if you thought that the ancient Greek and Roman world was bustling with scientific vigour and enquiry until the Christian church stifled it- read the facts and you will find you are very much mistaken. If you thought that the "wars of religion" in the 1600s arose as the result of violence between Christian persuasions- read this to find out why you are wrong and see how they were in fact, secular in origin.

The writer in no way actually makes a case out for or against Christianity per se, and he clearly states that it is not his intention to do so. He is good at pointing out the limitations of inference that one can draw from the factual material he cites which makes a refreshing change from some writers in this area. The book is easy enough to read and helps clear up a lot of lazy thinking about the last 2000 years.

If you are a Christian it will probably give you a better knowledge of the past of your own church unless you are well read already.

If you are not a believer read it anyway for the sake of integrity, so that you at least know the historical truth behind Christianity, not the rubbish that people like Hitchens churn out.
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