This summer has been one of profitable reading for me. Among the many books I have read are two that are particularly outstanding. Their virtue lies in the skillful, informed, and clear way they dismantle the case for unbelief made by a small cluster of writers that has come to be known as “The New Atheists.” (To paraphrase Peter Townsend, “Meet the new atheism, same as the old atheism,” except that the old atheism was far more sophisticated and understanding of the gravity of what it was rejecting. When you move from Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins, you’re not trading up).
I highly recommend God Is No Delusion: A Refutation of Richard Dawkins by Thomas Crean, O. P. (Ignatius Press, 2007) and Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart (Yale University Press, 2009). Fr. Crean does yeoman’s work by offering a largely philosophical and theological response to the new atheists, and yet it is fully accessible to non-specialists. Professor Hart takes up the task of dismantling the sophomoric historical narrative of the new atheists. Neither author suffers fools, which makes for some entertaining reading as well. Both authors have been interviewed about their books. You can listen to John J. Miller’s NRO interview of Professor Hart here. Ignatius Press has published an interview with Fr. Crean, which you can find here. Enjoy.