Category Archives: apologetics

Why God Won’t Go Away by Alister McGrath

Adherents to new atheism say that religion is irrational, evil, violent, and should not be tolerated. Their movement is “an enthusiastic advocation of atheism and a seething criticism of both religious belief and cultural respect for religion.”

Alister McGrath’s new book, Why God Won’t Go Away, isn’t his first response to the new atheist rhetoric. Besides other writings, he has also engaged in several public debates with the group’s most prominent leaders, including Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

McGrath knows his subject. He’s read the books of the leaders (Dawkins, Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett), and he reads the blogs of their faithful followers. Having been an atheist himself, McGrath, who is now a prominent evangelical theologian, understands the reasoning of both sides and has much to contribute to the conversation.

McGrath quotes leading scientists, philosophers, more reasonable atheists, and new atheists themselves, to show that new atheism is often dogmatic, bitter, and irrational. Two examples will suffice. In a televised interview, Christopher Hitchens declared Mother Teresa “a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud,” said “millions of people are much worse off because of her life,” and that it was “a shame that there was no hell for her to go to.” Sam Harris, speaking of religion, said that “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” Who, may I ask, are the fanatics?

The New Atheist’s main arguments against religion are religious violence, reason, and science. McGrath, with skill and wit, uses their own arguments against them. This is not something that they’re prepared for, so they seem to be changing tactics. One new atheist blogger wrote: “I’m beginning to believe the best we can do is to just shout at them, ‘You’re stupid, you’re idiots, you’re morons!’”

McGrath’s is a small book, but it’s probably the only one I’ll read on the subject. Few thinkers, including scientists or more thoughtful atheists, take the rants of these angry fundamentalists seriously, and the movement as a whole does seem to be “running on empty.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Why God Won’t Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty?

Alister McGrath

Thomas Nelson: 2010

Finding Eden

“Pinpointing the exact location of the Garden of Eden is difficult, although the best theory places it near the source of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Armenian highlands. A major catastrophe, perhaps the Flood of Noah’s time, may have wiped out all traces of the other two rivers mentioned–the Pishon and the Havilah (Genesis 2:11). But modern space photography has produced evidence that two rivers, now dry beds, could have flowed through the area centuries ago.”

From Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, Third Edition

When the Saints Come Marching (to your home)

Two polite and nicely dressed young men came a-ringing yesterday afternoon. Despite the pleadings of my wife, I answered the door and stepped out on the porch with them. We had a charitable conversation, and I must say, they were bright. A Christian needs to be prepared in order to engage with a Mormon elder. Our conversation started like this:

“Have you heard of Joseph Smith,” they asked.

“Yes.”

“We would like to give you a free copy of the Book of Mormon so that you can read his very important message.”

(Wondering if it would be better for me to accept it and read it or not take it…)
“I believe the 66 books recognized by the early church are sufficient to show us the way to salvation.”

“Do you not believe that God speaks to us today?”

“Yes, through the 66 books of the Bible.”

“Joseph Smith didn’t add to the Bible, he interpreted it.”

“Why would God have left His church for 1800 years without the proper interpretation of the Bible?”

“The time wasn’t right. And there have always been times in history where there weren’t any prophets, right?”

“Why yes, and I believe that we have been in those times since the days of the Apostles.”

And we went on for several minutes. I’m a poor apologist, and I certainly didn’t do well at convincing those two. But I wish I had. Not to win an argument, but to convince them of their error for their own eternal good and present joy.

Each admitted to having read the Book of Mormon several times but the Bible only once. I realize that if I’m to convince them it will have to be through Scripture. But that will be tough.

“Where I differ with you,” one said, “is that I believe the cannon is not closed.”

Differ indeed. What do I say to that?

I respected their sincerity and zeal, though it was a zeal not according to knowledge. And I hope they come back. And if they do, I hope that by God’s grace, I do better.

I’ve found some help through Alpha and Omega Ministries. Dr. White gives a good list of verses to memorize and tells why each is important when reasoning with a member of the church the LDS.

Studies Suggest that Chimpanzees Evolved from Athiests

Recent studies have resulted in a new theory concerning the link between humans and their closest living relative, Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee.

According to scientists, DNA concurrence between chimpanzees and atheists is greater than 98%. This is ten times less than the genetic difference between mice and rats. Further, the similarities in thinking and behavior occur at an even higher rate.

These and other facts have led biologists to believe that the common chimpanzee evolved from a prehistoric population of atheists nearly 85 million years ago. Evidence also suggests a possible pattern of this evolution may occur every few hundred thousand years.

“One of the earliest signs of the degeneration from Homo Sapiens to Pan troglodytes,” according to one prominent anthropologist, “is the denial of a Creator. We believe this results from the decline of post-natal brain development. (The human brain is generally 1400 cm ³ — about twice the size of a chimpanzee brain.) This along with increased ape-like behavior among the study group of atheists indicates that we may be witnessing early stages of a divergence.”

Whether or not the atheists will completely evolve into apes in this generation is unknown. But due to the rapidity of decline, it may be something that our children witness.

“This is an exciting time for science! In the face of such evidence, it’s amazing that anyone could doubt that apes evolved from humans.”