Published on October 30, 2014 by Fred Zaspel

unknown, 2008 | 112 pages

A New Day for Atheism

It marked a new day for Atheism in Western society when it no longer took a defensive but rather an offensive, even triumphalistic posture and began to enjoy a very comfortable cultural respectability. The “new atheists” are confident, aggressive – “evangelistic” would ironically seem to be the word – and determined to demonstrate that the “organized ignorance” of theism – especially Christian theism – lacks any rational or evidential justification and that all reason dictates the demise of religion. Their spokesmen claim the intellectual high ground, and their challenge is very much public and aimed at the masses. The noise they have made, the attention they have garnered, and the influence they have enjoyed are way out of proportion to their numbers. They may be a small minority, but their unprecedented popularity and their wide acceptance among the cultural and intellectual elite unmistakably mark a cultural shift of major proportions.

Even if you haven’t read their books you have heard their names – Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon), Sam Harris (The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation), Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) – the self-proclaimed “Four Horsemen of the New Atheist Apocalypse.” For these new atheists, belief in God is not just out of date; it is dangerous – dangerous to the individual and dangerous to society. It should not be encouraged, and in fact it should not be politely tolerated. It is an evil whose shackles modern society must throw off. Ever since Charles Darwin we have known far too much to need God – he is dead, and it is time grownups accept it and move cheerfully on.

Mohler’s Survey-Analysis

If the church is to speak to culture at all, the New Atheism simply cannot be ignored, and it is the purpose of Al Mohler’s Atheism Remix to bring us up to date and inform us for the discussion. It is not a formal response to the New Atheism – although Mohler does offer insightful evaluative comments throughout – but a survey-analysis of its leading features and spokesmen.

Mohler also manages to survey some of the more prominent responses to the New Atheism – Alister McGrath (The Dawkins Delusion: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine), Alvin Plantinga (“The Dawkins Confusion”), Tina Beattie (The New Atheists: The Twilight of Reason and the War on Religion), and John F. Haught (God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens). And although he notes appreciation at many points of their arguments, he also insists that important concessions they have made leave their arguments weak and unpersuasive. The New Atheists themselves recognize that “the only God that matters” is the God of the Bible, and so only a robustly informed biblical theism will do in response. And so Mohler further insists that the issue is not one of mere metaphysics – Does God Exist? The issue is one of epistemology – Has God spoken? Not just the existence of God but the truth of divine revelation is the bottom line in this debate – “in the end, the self-authenticating character of divine revelation is the only ground upon which a distinctively Christian theism can be established” (p.85).

In Brief

Mohler’s survey-analysis of the New Atheism is well-informed in terms of the New Atheism itself as well as the broader secularization and history of religion theories that surround it. The scope and depth of his work is immediately impressive, and as such it serves as probably the finest, most succinct introductory survey and assessment available – easily accessible and an invaluable resource for those of us who do not read so widely or so deeply. Certainly “must” reading for today’s informed pastor.

And In Summary

We appreciate our readers’ feedback, and in response to this we will provide a summary of Atheism Remix for our members – coming soon!
Fred G. Zaspel


Buy the books

Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts The New Atheists

unknown, 2008 | 112 pages

Share This

Share this with your friends!