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Archive for June 7th, 2011

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This is a review that’s long overdue.

For those who have been reading much of the New Atheist’s work or have been keeping abreast with Christian apologetics (defense of the faith), this work will offer nothing new. However, this work by Southern Seminary President Al Mohler is a good introduction to what the New Atheists are about. Mohler argues that what makes New Atheism different than atheists of old is that they generally have a sense of celebration when it comes to God’s nonexistence whereas old school atheists typically experienced a sense of loss (54). Mohler also felt that the New is more against Christianity specifically than more against an abstract philosophical concept of God such as the atheists before them (55-57) . This is disputed, I think what’s new is not really with the new atheists (one can think of Dan Barker, George Smith, Robert Ignersoll, etc) but the cultural acceptance of this current wave of atheists. In other words, new atheism speaks more of our culture than the atheists themselves, and if there is any differences between the old and the new it’s a matter of degrees rather than clear cut separation between the new and the old. As with other works by Mohler, I know he is a very capable bright man, and an intellectual giant but his written works tend to address a popular general reading audience. The book is not a refutation of New Atheism per se and more of a survey of the movement’s strategy, and readers will enjoy the background information of the “Four Horsemen.” Mohler is well-read (just look at his book review on his website) and the book reflects his knowledge of ongoing interaction in print, such as his summary of the new Atheist’s work, and the responses by Alvin Plantinga and Alister McGrath. The last chapter also focuses on the liberal and mainline response of those who are outside the pale of Evangelical orthodoxy, and his observation of their response and inadequacies since they deny Evangelical doctrines such as the propositional nature of the Word of God and the truth of the Gospel. Overall, as an introduction I think it was a good book.

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