The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World Hardcover – 4 Nov 2004
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A sympathetic and interesting guide to the intellectural and social landscape of the past 200 years or so. -- Church Times
Alister McGrath invariably combines enormous scholarship with an accessible and engaging style. -- Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Gripping...impressive intellectual range -- The New York Times
Highly readable -- TLS
This is indeed a thought-provoking book -- BBC History Magazine
This bold and provocative book on what went wrong with the Atheists' dream is now available in paperback --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The Soviet Union tried power to eradicate religion, but it did not work. This is a lesson from history, but it failed, which is evident to us all. Some have argued that he deals with hard atheism, but why should McGrath soft peddle on this issue? I was particularly intrigued by the biography of Madalyn Murray O'Hair (1919-1995) who was responsible for removing prayer and the bible from state schools in the USA, she was a hard line atheist, but her arguments were not very good, much the same as the New Atheists. If people object that McGrath is dealing with hard atheism, then I suggest that this is nothing when compared with the vitriol of the New Atheism.Read more ›
So, in conclusion, its interesting, well worth a read, but the last few chapters should have been better.
The book is really a study of atheism as a social phenomenon, considering those factors that have tended to favour atheistic outlooks and those that have not. The message I came away with was that the rise of atheism had much more to do with the prevailing social environment than with evidence for or against the existance of God.
The author seemed very sympathetic to atheists as a whole, with the exception of irrational extremists, like 'Dawkinsian' fundamentalists. It is interesting that the language of extremists, whether religious or atheistic, tends to be similarly intolerant and aggressive.
I did not agree with all that the author wrote, but it was always informative, and proved an enjoyable read.
Rest assured this book is not aimed at converting 'non-believers' but at dispelling the controversial notion that "religion is the world's greatest evil." McGrath achieves this by tracing the history of atheism and highlighting the flaws, not of atheism as a whole, but of the secularist movements that have tried to impose atheism. Contrary to the beliefs of some, by no means does McGrath imply that the fall of the Berlin wall was a result of atheism, although he does draw attention to the failures of oppressive systems that have enforced their doctrine upon the unwilling. McGrath explains that, like religious movements, secular-atheist movements have been marred by a history of atrocities. As such atheism can be considered no less evil than monotheism.
Clearly 'The Twilight of Atheism' is written from a Christian perspective, but McGrath does not attempt to con the reader into thinking otherwise. McGrath is sympathetic to atheists who "just ask to be left alone, getting on with their lives peacefully and Godlessly". He does however take exception to the "militant, awkward, and angrier" forms of atheism. Just as religion has oppressive factions, so does atheism. Both are unacceptable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Covers a wide historical period and well researched and huge reference list. Makes assumptions about understanding ofdefinitions and terms. Read morePublished on 4 Jun. 2014 by chrys short
I thought this book was very stimulating and provided a balanced contribution to understanding the development of atheism as a cultural world-view. Read morePublished on 6 May 2012 by HamzahF
Another good book from McGrath among his many on this subject. Well researched and written, yet accessible and readable by anyone. Read morePublished on 12 Sept. 2011 by Jack Bosworth
The Twilight of Atheism: The rise and fall of disbelief in the modern world, by Alister McGrath, Rider (Random House), 2004, 320 ff. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2009 by Dr. H. A. Jones
As a global overview of the course of atheism as a dominant worldview this book succeeds well. The cluster of assumptions that, in the author's assessment, underlie modern atheism... Read morePublished on 23 Feb. 2009 by Dr. J. Garvey
This book begins with a potted history of the rise of atheism, then falls into a load of atheophobic nonsense. Read morePublished on 18 Nov. 2008 by Tufty
This is a splendid book. Drawing effortlessly on McGrath's erudition, it presents, with compelling style, the history of modern intellectual development. Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2008 by Dr. G. Pryce
McGrath takes the prize for expecting his readers to simply take his word for things. He repeatedly asserts that atheism is declining worldwide. Is he right? No way to tell. Read morePublished on 18 April 2008 by C. Bathgate