Harvest House, 236 Pages, Paper, $12.99
A new rash of writings, movies, and other vehicles promoting atheism are reminiscent of the “God-is-dead” movement several decades ago. Names such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchins are becoming familiar to Christians as authors who are attacking Christianity with a vengeance. David Marshall, on the other hand, is founder and director of an institute that studies Christianity and world cultures, and he has, in this book, attempted to answer these critics.
For the most part Marshall does a good job of refuting the lies and distortions of “new atheists.” He debunks such atheistic charges as the Bible being a bad book, Christianity being anti-Semitic, American Christians being a violent lot rather than a blessing to society, and faith being blind and ignorant. But he also seems to compromise sometimes; for example, almost defending Charles Darwin and certain views of the creationism-evolution controversy such as the old earth view versus the Biblical young earth position of creationism. (“Darwin Was a Great Scientist” is one of the subheads in a chapter on evolution.) It’s as though Marshall feels he has to concede certain fundamentalist/evangelical convictions to appease and maybe win over atheists in what he considers more important areas. He also praises Mother Teresa who, despite her humanitarian work, represented a gospel of works rather than faith alone and who, as recently reported in the news, had serious doubts about her eternal destiny.
One hopes that books such as The Truth behind the New Atheism will continue to be written. Perhaps even better, more clearly Biblically and theologically oriented material could come our way to shed effective light on the current onslaught of atheism.