Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Atheism Remix

Over Thanksgiving I read a couple of smaller books, one of which was Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists, by Al Mohler. It is a very helpful book which I commend to you.

I had heard of the book but had not seen it and did not know its aim. I decided to read it over this break because it was short. It is the sort of ‘short book’ that we could use more of: one written by someone very aware of the issue and which summarizes carefully an important topic helping others to be aware of a significant topic or conversation. Mohler does not here seek to provide a thorough refutation of the New Atheists (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens), but summarizes their writings and their place in the history of ideas so that the rest of us who have not read all the relevant books and articles can be more aware of what is going on. This is very valuable for a variety of people, not least pastors whose members may be hearing about these writings. I benefitted significantly from this overview.

One thing I noticed, which Mohler pointed out, was how often these atheists (like many before them) rejected Christianity after being exposed to a pretty lousy example of Christianity. It is as if people are inoculated against Christianity by being exposed to a very weak strain of it. Once that weak strain is conquered, they are then impervious to examples of vibrant Christianity. The analogy does not hold entirely, but it reminds me again of this point: laboring for the purity and vitality of the church is not drag on evangelism but is, in itself, evangelistic. The greatest hindrance to the advance of the kingdom is an impure church; and, the greatest tool for the advance of the kingdom is a pure church.

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