What’s So Great About Christianity? Part 1

If you’ve been paying attention to the cultural discussion in the past few years, you are aware that there is a new and more militant atheism afoot in both America and the UK. The beginning of this “new” atheism and its godless world view is traced back to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion which was followed by Sam Harris’ The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, and then came Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great. More than a few Christians have written responses and entered into the debate. If this is a topic that you find interesting, you might want to read Alister McGrath’s Dawkins’ God or Dawkins’ Delusion. McGrath is particularly worth reading not only because he was a committed atheist before becoming a Christian, but also because he has a PhD in molecular biophysics and is therefore able to go toe-to-toe with Dawkins on his own home turf–science.

Dinesh D’Souza, a scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, joined the discussion with his most recent book, What’s So Great About Christianity. D’Souza is the author of several books on cultural and political issues and also served in the White House as a domestic policy analyst. I thought that it would be interesting to work though the book together and see if we can learn how as Christians we might respond to some of the intellectual challenges of our day.

For now, here are a few of the recommendations off of the book jacket that I found the most interesting. Note that neither of the last two men would consider themselves Christians. In fact Michael Shermer is himself a well-known atheist. I hope that reading these will encourage some of you to buy the book and read along with me. There are several copies available at Barnes & Noble in the Columbia Mall. I will write more in the next day or so.

“Responding to the current epidemic of atheist manifestos, Dinesh D’Souza applies just the right balm for the troubled soul. Assembling arguments from history, philosophy, theology, and science–yes, science!–he builds a modern and compelling case for faith in a loving God. If you’re seeking the truth about God, the universe, and the meaning of life, this is a great place to look.”

Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Institute
“The great merit of this book is that it concedes nothing. Rather than engaging in the usual defective ploys, D’Souza meets every anti-God argument head on and defeats it on its own terms. He subjects atheism and scientific materialism to sustained rigorous interrogation and shows that their claims are empty and incoherent. Infinitely more sophisticated than the rants produced by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, What’s So Great About Christianity leaves those atheist books in the dust.”

Stanley Fish, author of How Milton Works

“As an unbeliever I passionately disagree with Dinesh D’Souza on some of his positions. But he is a first-rate scholar whom I feel absolutely compelled to read. His thorough research and elegant prose have elevated him into the top ranks of those who champion liberty and individual responsibility. Now he adds Christianity to his formula for the good society, and although non-Christians and non-theists may disagree with some of this arguments, we ignore him at our peril. D’Souza’s book takes the debate to a new level. Read it.”

Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine

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