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Book Review - Atheism Remix
July 29, 2008
As of January 1, 2008, Al Mohler was the author of one book, and it was an edited volume to which he contributed only a single chapter. By the time January 1, 2009 rolls around, Mohler will be the author of five books. The first, Culture Shift (my review), was published by Multnomah and offered biblical perspectives on cultural issues. The second, published by Crossway, is Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists. In September will come He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World (by Moody) and Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance (by Multnomah).
Like Culture Shift, Atheism Remix is a small hardcover volume geared to a general audience. Where the genesis of Culture Shift was a series of blog posts, Atheism Remix is based on the W.H. Griffith Thomas Lectures Mohler delivered at Dallas Theological Seminary early in 2008. This series, like the book that has come from it, is geared to a general audience.
The book follows a simple format. In the first chapter, Dr. Mohler introduces the new atheism by discussing the history behind this new brand of atheism—one that has gained widespread credibility and popularity. He sets it in its historic context as the endgame of secularism—a necessary consequence of philosophies that have shaped our postmodern world. In the second chapter he introduces the “Four Horsemen of the New Atheist Apocalypse”—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. He provides brief biographical information about each of them and describes that man’s unique contribution to the rise of the new atheism. Here he also offers eight characteristics that set apart the new atheism from older forms of atheism. The third chapter is given to a defense of theism by way of a biblical response to atheism. “At the worldview level,” writes Mohler, “the New Atheism presents Christian theology with the need for a sustained and credible defense of theism—and of Christian theism in particular. … Atheism is not a new challenge, but the New Atheists are perceived as presenting a new and powerful refutation of theism. Their challenge deserves and demands a cogent Christian response.” This is exactly what this chapter offers. In the final chapter Mohler, taking it as a given that the New Atheism will continue to present a challenge to twenty-first century Christianity, he suggests that Christians must frame their thinking about the future of Christianity with this reality in mind.
Dr. Mohler’s book is only one of many to respond to the challenge of the new atheism and it is a welcome contribution. A reader who wishes to acquaint himself with the leading proponents of atheism, the arguments they use, and the most effective ways of thinking biblically about those arguments, will want to read this book. It is an ideal addition to any church or public library. I benefited from Mohler’s wisdom and am convinced you will also.