Dawkins Walk into any Border’s Bookstore and you’ll see Richard Dawkin’s latest book The God Delusion somewhere amongst the Top 10 non-fiction books. Dawkins is one of the world’s leading and most outspoken atheists. He believes that religion and the belief in God are the source of most of the world’s evil and that we’d all be better off without it. In this book he emphatically states – "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down."

Mature Christians can benefit from reading such books – simply to be aware of those who differ from how we think and also to be equipped to talk with people around us who may be reading this kind of material.

There are some good Christian responses to Dawkins book, none better that Alistair McGrath’s book The Dawkins Delusion? It is short and concise but it pulls apart most of Dawkins emotional arguments in a gracious manner. McGrath (a former atheist himself), like Dawkins, has been a professor at Oxford University for many years. The best quote is on the cover of McGrath’s book and it is from Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He says of McGrath’s book – "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and McGrath shows why."

It’s unfortunate that Borders doesn’t have McGrath’s book right alongside Dawkins – so people can read both perspectives. You will most likely only find McGrath’s book in a Christian bookshop (although I did find my copy in a small bookshop in Paris while there on holidays recently!).

For a number of other good articles in response to Dawkins’ book see:

For more information on Alistair McGrath, check out his web site.

10 thoughts on “The God Delusion?

  1. Hi, Mark! This is my first time reading your blog and all I can say is thank you for making this – especially this post!
    I’m a university student taking Behavioural Studies. In one of my courses this book was mentioned, of course by an atheist lecturer, regarding it to be the somewhat public stance today, of how theories such as religions can be broken down and “de-mystified”.
    In doing the assignment I have a major dilemma: to stand up emotionally, or to give in and discuss the idea of atheism in positive light for good marks…
    Now I can have a strong argument from another academician’s point of view. God bless you!
    Grateful,
    Gaby

  2. Glad this was helpful, Gaby.
    One good example is that Dawkins says that most of the human evil in the world has been done by religious people (e.g. The Crusades and militant Muslim terrorism). McGrath reminds us that the worst genocides in the 20th century were caused by Stalin and Hitler – both devout atheists! … and something Dawkins mentions nothing about.
    This is but one example of the unfair bias of Dawkins thinking and writing.
    All the best!

  3. Interesting… I found some reviews of Richard Dawkin’s stance at this apologetics website (e.g., creationontheweb.com/content/view/4900 and creationontheweb.com/content/view/4783/).
    I guess it’s typical of the anti-Christian bias so prevalent in this culture. Open any of my uni textbooks and you don’t have to read far before coming across all kinds of anti-Christian propaganda. The latest one I’ve been reading was all about how women are foolish to choose marriage & raising children – here I was thinking, well, I guess that’s me then. A happy fool! 🙂
    thanks for the interesting blog!

  4. A good article, Mark. I had thumbed quickly through Dawkins book a month ago and came across sentences stating things like the major religions including Christianity treating women terribly. A few comments like that and I realized it was a generalistic and emotional appeal of mixed truth and lie he was making and wondered who would write the suitable response.
    Thanks for letting us know! I will also stop by Borders and ask them to order in “The Dawkins Delusion”.

  5. I always feel sorry for atheists…who do they thank when they see a beautiful sunset or hold their newborn baby? There must be times when, in their heart of hearts, they wonder if they are the ones who have got it all wrong!

  6. Hi Mark,
    It was sometime ago that I caught his 2 part documentary on SBS. It was clever TV for the most part and he came across as an intellectual asking questions in a sincere manner and getting biased and narrow-minded responses from religious figures he interviewed. Was sad to note, one of the people he interviewed was Ted Haggart representing the Christian evangelical community and his responses, in particular, were portrayed in a poor light. Of course, we all know about his well publicised ‘downfall’ that’s happened since.
    In his latter teen years, a pastor labelled my brother a ‘doubting Thomas’ for asking what I thought were honest, intellectual questions that he had. That sort of response and no doubt other factors also, put him off from his childhood faith, right up to the present time. (He’s more New Age now in his thinking and some way off the ‘narrow way’ but we’re praying for him.) From a personal viewpoint, it’s just made me a bit wary that we don’t give glib answers to genuine questions posed by some sincere seekers and engage people intellectually when we can. Hence my particular appreciation of people like LT Jeyachandran, Ravi Zacharias, J John and the like, and what the message they bring to the church to help us engage the world.

  7. Yes, Mark – I think we should not be afraid of questions or even doubts. Jesus helped Thomas through his doubts and we need to do the same. We too will have doubts at time, and these can be part of strengthening our faith in God – believing even when we don’t know all the answers. Mark Conner

  8. Is it possible that McGrath distorts and misstates Dawkins?
    1) “Thomas Aquinas … Dawkins misunderstands an a posteriori demonstration of the coherence of faith and observation to be an a priori proof of faith…” p. 26
    Reference 14 – God Delusion pp. 77-79
    Dawkins clearly writes “Thomas Aquinas’ five are a posteriori arguments, relying upon inspection of the world.” p. 80 – so how can McGrath honestly claim Dawkins misunderstood that very thing?
    2) ‘… Dawkins then weakens his argument by suggesting that all religious people try to stop scientists from exploring those gaps: “one of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.”‘ pp. 29-30
    Reference 24 – God Delusion p. 126
    Dawkins clearly writes “In this respect, science finds itself in alliance with sophisticated theologians like Bonhoeffer, united against the common enemies of naive, populist theology and the gap theology of intelligent design.” p. 127 – so how can McGrath honestly claim Dawkins’ comment is about all religious people?
    3) “When Dyson commented that he was a Christian who wasn’t particularly interested in the doctrine of the Trinity, Dawkins insisted that this meant that Dyson wasn’t a Christian at all.” pp. 44-45
    Reference 19 – God Delusion p. 152
    McGrath snipped off a rather important part of Dyson’s comment. According to Dawkins, Dyson said: “I … do not care much about the doctrine of the Trinity or the historical truth of the gospels.” p. 152
    Dawkins would not be alone in being puzzled that someone who doesn’t care about the historical truth of the resurrection claimed to be a Christian. (Why has McGrath hidden that from his readers?)
    4) “… the TV series The Root of All Evil? … Dawkins sought out religious extremists who advocated violence in the name of religion, or were aggressively antiscientific in their outlook. No representative figures were included or considered.” p. 51
    Alister McGrath himself was not only considered but filmed for that TV series!
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6474278760369344626
    Dawkins has previously stated that leading UK religious figures were invited to take part:
    “We did invite the Archbishop of Canterbury – and the Chief Rabbi and the Archbishop of Westminster – to be interviewed. All declined, no doubt for good reasons.”
    “Diary – Richard Dawkins”, New Statesman, Published 30 January 2006
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200601300002

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