At the Guardian‘s Comment is Free blog, Madeleine Bunting offers a stocktaking of the “God debate” since the publication of Dawkins’s The God Delusion. She focuses mostly on publications by British writers, including Terry Eagleton and Karen Armstrong. With a sense for paradox that would make Chesterton proud, Bunting concludes that, in a kind of dialectical inversion, the New Atheists’ attempt to make religion unacceptable had the effect of spurring more interest in it. On our side of the Atlantic, we can also point to Presbyterian minister and church-planter Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, also a bestselling intervention in the God debate, as a paradoxical and certainly unintended outcome of the New Atheist onslaught.
One shelf of my bookcase is now groaning under the weight of its contents. It’s the God slot, and in the years since the publication of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion in 2006 and Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great in 2007, there has been an addition every few weeks from enraged philosophers, theologians, historians and journalists, all trying to convince readers of the shoddiness of the New Atheists. Peter Hitchens’s Rage Against God was the latest arrival last week.
So with Easter done and the Catholic church embroiled in one of the most shaming and tumultuous periods of its history, it seems an appropriate moment to reckon on the progress of New Atheism, and take stock of this curious and – in the early 2000s entirely unpredictable – publishing phenomenon. What have all these books, these tons of paper and felled forests achieved?
Read the full article here.