World-renowned scientist Richard Dawkins writes in The God Delusion: “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.” The volume has received wide coverage, fueled much passionate debate, and spread confusion and distrust.
Alister McGrath, along with his wife, Joanna, are ideal to evaluate Dawkins’s ideas. Once an atheist himself, Alister gained a doctorate in molecular biophysics before going on to become a leading Christian theologian. He wonders how two people, who have reflected at length on substantially the same world, could possibly have come to such different conclusions about God. The McGraths subject Dawkins’s critique of faith to rigorous scrutiny. This exhilarating, meticulously argued response deals with questions such as:
This book will be warmly received by those looking for a reliable assessment of The God Delusion and the many questions it raises—including, above all, the relevance of faith and the quest for meaning.
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2008 Christian Bookseller’s Covention Book of the Year Award winner
McGrath identifies Dawkins’ flawed arguments with surgical precision. McGrath spotlights Dawkins’ embarrassing biblical ignorance and exposes his religion-as-virus-of-the-mind theory as sociological naïvete. This intelligent yet accessible book is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject or for those with friends sucked under by the new current of atheist literature.
—New Man, November/December 2007
Combining scholarship with a popular style, the McGraths examine Dawkins’ arguments and find them wanting. They show the inadequacy of his argument on the major points, contending that Dawkins’ critique of religion is based on hearsay and anecdotal evidence rather than on hard research, and that he employs rhetoric rather than rationality.
—Library Journal, August 2007
One could hardly think of a better apologist for theism than Alister McGrath. This atheist-turned-Christian, also of Oxford, is a professor of historical theology. But as a student of molecular biophysics, he possesses the dual credibility in science and religion that Dawkins lacks. Like watching one schoolboy do another’s work, McGrath’s true gift is pointing out what Dawkins is obliged to show in order to make his case.
—Christianity Today, November 2007
The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and the McGraths show why.
—Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University
Richard Dawkins’ utopian vision of a world without religion is here deftly punctured by the McGraths’ informed discourse. His fellow Oxonians clearly demonstrate the gaps, inconsistencies, and surprising lack of depth in Dawkins’ arguments.
—Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and author of God’s Universe
With rigorous logic and exquisite fairness, the McGraths have exposed Dawkins’ very superficial understanding of the history of religion and theology. Because he is so ‘out of his depth’ in these areas, Dawkins uses his fundamentalistic scientism and atheism to constantly misjudge the possibilities for dialogue between religion and science. Thank God for scholars like the McGraths who are committed to finding truth in both.
—Timothy Johnson, author, Finding God in the Questions
Addressing the conclusions of The God Delusion point by point with the devastating insight of a molecular biologist turned theologian, Alister McGrath dismantles the argument that science should lead to atheism, and demonstrates instead that Dawkins has abandoned his much-cherished rationality to embrace an embittered manifesto of dogmatic atheist fundamentalism.
—Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project
Alister E. McGrath is an historian, biochemist, and Christian theologian born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A longtime professor at Oxford University, he now holds the chair in theology, ministry, and education at the University of London. He is the author of several books on theology and history, including Christianity’s Dangerous Idea, In the Beginning, and The Twilight of Atheism. He lives in Oxford, England, and lectures regularly in the United States.
Joanna Collicutt McGrath is lecturer in the psychology of religion at Heythrop College, University of London. She is coauthor (with Jeremy Duff) of Meeting Jesus: Human Responses to a Yearning God