In February of last year Al Mohler delivered 4 lectures on the New Atheism movement. Later that year those lectures became the basis for a book called Atheism Remix.
This past month I immersed myself in the spit and vinegar arguments of the chiefs of the New Atheists, the four horsemen: Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, and the Devil’s Chaplain himself, Richard Dawkins (all self-referential titles). I watched them online (YouTube, Vimeo) in interviews, lectures, debates (with Craig, Lennox, Wilson, and McGrath), I’ve been reading their books…all this to say that, in spite of the apparent weaknesses of their arguments, these guys have a huge following and are growing in influence and shaping the way the average person thinks about religion and life.
I just finished reading Mohler’s book (based on these lectures) and I have to say this is probably the best book available to give anyone fresh to this phenomenon a clear picture of what is happening on both sides of the spectrum.
In The End Game of Secularism Mohler looks at this growing phenomenon and explains why we cannot overlook what is happening in western culture. 9/11 changed our worldview, and one of the fallouts is the New Atheism. Mohler also looks at how the intelligentsia has changed from theism, to deism, and now to atheism. We live in a world where it is unthinkable to be an intellectual and believe in God at the same time, particularly the God of Scripture.
In The Assault on Theism Mohler gives us pictures of the prime militant movers of the New Atheism, the four horsemen listed above, and he provides for us a summary of their main arguments and contributions to this battle.
In The Defense of Theism Mohler looks at the main defenders of theism who have directly engaged the New Atheists: Alister McGrath and Alvin Plantinga. I would have liked to have seen Mohler include some other defenders such as John Lennox and David Robertson, but they may have only begun the battle when Al was preparing his messages. I would like to see an updated version of Atheism Remix soon.
Mohler points out a troubling feature to many of the defenders of theism, and that is their embrace of evolutionary theory. Both McGrath and Plantinga have made this mistake, which even Richard Dawkins and Chris Hitchens have recognized as being problematic and inconsistent with Scripture.
In The Future of Christianity Mohler looks at other voices in the debate such as Tina Beattie and John F. Haught who believe the debate has been too focused on an attack of Christianity as perceived through a conservative theological lens, which, in their view, is outmoded. While many of the arguments of the liberals against the New Atheists are insightful, they hold a position of confusion for the New Atheists. Just as Carl Sagan was confused by Paul Tillich’s theology, the New Atheists see the liberal position as a contradictory non-issue that only makes it harder for them to get to the heart of what they don’t like about Christianity.
Don’t be caught off guard. You should at least be familiar with what is happening in the New Atheism because if you are engaged in evangelism you will see these issues raised. The question is, will you be prepared for a defense. Welcome to the world, post 9/11. You are on the chopping block.
Listen to the lectures. Get the book.