21.7.10

Christian Apologetics Week Book review #5: Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart



David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies. Yale University Press, 2009. 272 pgs. 

Recent years have seen a flurry of books slamming Christianity coming from the pens of such eminent court jesters as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennet, and others.  Such books as "The God Delusion" can be seen prominently displayed at Chapters and Barns & Noble.  In the face of such "Tireless Tractarians" Hart offers this book as a polemical riposte, and he does so with a style and grace stunning in both content and quality. 

First and foremost, Hart is a pleasure to read.  He writes long, nearly poetic, sentences, using precise vocabulary and hard hitting polemics.  He pulls no punches, saying of the new atheist tribe: "atheism which consists of vacuous arguments afloat on oceans of historical ignorance, made turbulent by storms of strident self-righteousness, is as contemptible as any other form of dreary fundamentalism." 

In his introductory section, Hart lays out the problem, criticizing today's atheists for having significantly declined in quality compared to such great minds as David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche.  He also examines some of the cultural sources of new atheism. 

In his second section, Hart explores "the mythology of the secular age" in depth, refuting some key assumptions of said mythology. My personal favorite was his chapter on the rise of science, in which he convincingly demonstrates how it was the Christian revolution which allowed for science to be developed.  

Hart is not content to merely slam his opponents, however, and goes on in his third section to paint a Christian picture of reality.  This section, more than any other in the book, was beautiful.   Personally, it called forth a strong desire in my heart, renewing my commitment to Jesus and His vision of the kingdom. 

Overall, an amazing book.  One criticism comes to mind, however, is that having lambasted modern atheists for intellectual laziness, he does not go on to deal with any of the more intelligent atheists who are present, and writing, today. 

Conclusions: 5 of 5 stars, recommended.  I don't care if you are involved in this argument or not, this book is worth reading for both Hart's critique of modern world-view and the picture of Christian calling and reality Hart offers.  




This post is part of Christian Apologetics Week.  You can find the introduction with links to all the posts here.

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