- Music to Your Ears
- Poison or Cure? Religious Belief in the Modern World - Ethics & Public Policy Center
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- The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World by Alister E. McGrath.
- The Twilight Of Atheism.
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The key word is interesting —Updike, like most people, needs a belief-structure to be not only true and coherent, but beautiful and interesting. Atheism is losing ground at precisely this point. The question of whether Christianity can reclaim its imaginative appeal in the West deserves an article of its own. I do have two misgivings about this book. The first is the risk of triumphalism that any book about the demise of your opponent must necessarily court.
McGrath is more likely than most authors to pull this off—he is normally generous to his opponents, and this book is no exception. However, particularly in the area of epistemology, I sometimes wonder whether our celebration of the demise of enlightenment positivism has been too boisterous and our critical reflections on its replacements too muted.
Music to Your Ears
Surely there is an a priori unlikelihood that the postmodern epistemological alternatives to the enlightenment are wholly friendly to Christian theology. Secondly, one gets the impression at a few points in The Twilight of Atheism that the traditional doctrine of hell has been responsible for some of the contempt with which Christian belief has been held for the last years or so.
The most moving and impressive example is that of Darwin who, according to McGrath, lost his faith not because of his scientific work but because of the death of his daughter, after which the traditional teachings on hell were beyond contemplation. Now, it would be a cold person that could not sympathize with this.
And it would be a cold Christian that has never squirmed over this doctrine.
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Is there any doctrine we would be happier to dispense with? However, I do wonder whether it is fair or accurate to blame so much on this doctrine. When McGrath argues that the doctrine of hell made evangelical claims unacceptable to so many, particularly in the nineteenth century, is that argument valid?
But if it is true, then surely we are obliged to proclaim it faithfully, regardless of the consequences. Buy this book.
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Poison or Cure? Religious Belief in the Modern World - Ethics & Public Policy Center
The Most Anticipated Books of Fall PW Picks: Books of the Week. McGrath spends a lot of time describing the rise of the popularist pentecostal church as an example of how Christianity has changed and adapted to the modern world thereby rendering atheism obsolete. I have a number of problems with this part of the book in particular: Firstly, while it may be true that the Christian church has become more moderate than in ages past surely this does not affect the truth or falsity of its beliefs.
Surely people who think on these issues will find religion as unconvincing or as convincing as they might have at any time in history.