Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: Why God Won't Go Away

Why God Won't Go Away
By:  Alister McGrath
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2010

When I ordered this book I was eagerly looking forward to reading and finding out "why God won't go away."  I felt that as a believer, it was and is my responsibility to stay informed about what others believe.  Since Alister McGrath is a former atheist, I hoped he would give me facts I could use if I ever came across a situation where I had a discussion with an atheist.  Why God Won't Go Away truly was an eye opener for me, and I read with pencil in hand and underlined many parts of the book.   

Mr. McGrath divided his book into three easy to read sections, the first being "What is the New Atheism?"  I had never before heard this term, so I found this section very informative. Basically, Mr. McGrath points out that New Atheists not only refuse to believe a God exists, they also believe that anyone who believes in God is irrational, that all evil comes from belief in God/religion (they reference Sept. 11, 2001).  According to Mr. McGrath, New Atheists also go one step further and say that all who believe in some form of god or religion need to be eliminated.

The second section is "Engaging the New Atheism: Three Core Theme" whereby violence, reason and science are called into question.  Once again Mr. McGrath points out that New Atheists believe that "religion poisons everything".  In chapter 4 Mr. McGrath points out that "New Atheism seems to think it has a monopoly on truth, refusing as a matter of principle to concede the rationality of other positions, above all of religious faith".  New Atheism also believes that humans have invented God, and a "nasty" God at that.  Here's an interesting excerpt from the book: "God can be scapegoated for everything that's wrong with society, and that allows some people to feel better about themselves.  But if there's no God, the spotlight of blame shifts relentlessly onto us."  In other words, from my understanding, New Atheists state that all evil comes from God; but since they believe that there is no God, where does the evil come from?

Section three concerns "Where Does the New Atheism Go from Here?"  According to Mr. McGrath, interest in New Atheism is waning.  They have been unable to prove that there is no God.  Also pointed out is that mainstream atheists are embarrassed by the accusations and manner in which New Atheism presents itself.  Also, Mr. McGrath points out that "one of the reasons Christianity makes such a powerful appeal to humanity is its ability to make sense of our experience."  Even Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennet (two of the "four horsemen" of New Atheism) agree that human beings are preconditioned to believe in God! 

A final excerpt:  "Christian beliefs, like those of the New Atheism or any other worldview, ultimately lie beyond final rational proof.  But they're clearly of no small importance in understanding the current worldwide resurgence of interest in faith and its implications for more aggressive forms of secularism...There's something about human nature that makes us want to reach out beyond rational and empirical limits, questing for meaning and significance." 

Once again, this was an easy to read, enlightening book, which I found very interesting.  I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know what the other side thinks.  Also note that there is an extensive reading list, a bibliography and a section of works cited. 

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.


  1. Ha, we posted our reviews on the same day!

    I thought I'd have some profound experience reading this book; and, I did, but not what or how I expected. Looking back now, I don't really know what I was expecting--maybe further evidence in my Christian beliefs? I enjoyed it, nonetheless. McGrath's delivery was like that of an old friend teaching me things that I was too blind to see.

    There were some parts where the words bit at me, but this was overall a good read.

  2. I was glad to be able to get this book. I thought I might have missed it. I agree withyou, it was very good, but definitely not what I had expected either. I enjoyed reading YOUR review. :-)