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1 Burnside Philosophy- Atheism and Humanism

This title in other editions

The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World

by

The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"In The Twilight of Atheism, Alister McGrath, who was once himself an unbeliever, spells out this story, with much enjoyable anecdote, and with considerable sympathy for the pioneers — poets and novelists, as well as philosophers and scientists — who saw themselves as liberators of the human imagination. He warns, though, that their work has to be understood in context." John Habgood, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this bold and provocative new book, the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming more secular and demonstrates why atheism cannot provide the moral and intellectual guidance essential for coping with the complexities of modern life.

Atheism is one of the most important movements in modern Western culture. For the last two hundred years, it seemed to be on the verge of eliminating religion as an outmoded and dangerous superstition. Recent years, however, have witnessed the decline of disbelief and a rise in religious devotion throughout the world. In The Twilight of Atheism, the distinguished historian and theologian Alister McGrath examines what went wrong with the atheist dream and explains why religion and faith are destined to play a central role in the twenty-first century.

A former atheist who is now one of Christianity's foremost scholars, McGrath traces the history of atheism from its emergence in eighteenth-century Europe as a revolutionary worldview that offered liberation from the rigidity of traditional religion and the oppression of tyrannical monarchs, to its golden age in the first half of the twentieth century. Blending thoughtful, authoritative historical analysis with incisive portraits of such leading and influential atheists as Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins, McGrath exposes the flaws at the heart of atheism, and argues that the renewal of faith is a natural, inevitable, and necessary response to its failures.

The Twilight of Atheism will unsettle believers and nonbelievers alike. A powerful rebuttal of the philosophy that, for better and for worse, has exerted tremendous influence on Western history, it carries major implications for the future of both religion and unbelief in our society.

Review:

"Oxford University's McGrath has distinguished himself not just as an historical theologian, but as a generous and witty writer who brings life to topics that would turn to dust in others' hands. Here he explores the history of atheism in Western culture, observing that atheism seems to be succumbing to the very fate irrelevance and dissolution that atheists once predicted would overtake traditional religion. How did atheism ('a principled and informed decision to reject belief in God') become so rare by the turn of the 21st century? McGrath leaves no stone unturned, nor any important source unconsulted, in tracing atheism's rise and fall. Beyond the usual suspects of Marx, Freud and Darwin, McGrath surveys literature (George Eliot, Algernon Swinburne), science (Jacques Monod, Richard Dawkins) and philosophy (Ludwig Feuerbach, Michel Foucault), managing to make such intellectual heavy lifting look effortless. As a lapsed atheist himself, McGrath is a sympathetic interpreter, but he also relentlessly documents what he contends are the philosophical inconsistency and moral failures of atheism, especially when it has acquired political power. Yet believers will find no warrant here for complacency, as McGrath shows how religion's 'failures of imagination' and complicity with oppression often fostered the very environment in which atheism could thrive. Indeed, he warns, 'Believers need to realize that, strange as it may seem, it is they who will have the greatest impact on atheism's future.' Readable and memorable, this is intellectual history at its best." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[L]ay readers may find McGrath's arguments compelling; those expecting a scholarly discussion will probably not be convinced." Library Journal

Synopsis:

In this bold and provocative new book, the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming more secular and demonstrates why atheism cannot provide the moral and intellectual guidance essential for coping with the complexities of modern life.

Atheism is one of the most important movements in modern Western culture. For the last two hundred years, it seemed to be on the verge of eliminating religion as an outmoded and dangerous superstition. Recent years, however, have witnessed the decline of disbelief and a rise in religious devotion throughout the world. In THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM, the distinguished historian and theologian Alister McGrath examines what went wrong with the atheist dream and explains why religion and faith are destined to play a central role in the twenty-first century.

A former atheist who is now one of Christianity's foremost scholars, McGrath traces the history of atheism from its emergence in eighteenth-century Europe as a revolutionary worldview that offered liberation from the rigidity of traditional religion and the oppression of tyrannical monarchs, to its golden age in the first half of the twentieth century. Blending thoughtful, authoritative historical analysis with incisive portraits of such leading and influential atheists as Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins, McGrath exposes the flaws at the heart of atheism, and argues that the renewal of faith is a natural, inevitable, and necessary response to its failures.

THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM will unsettle believers and nonbelievers alike. A powerful rebuttal of the philosophy that, for better and for worse, has exertedtremendous influence on Western history, it carries major implications for the future of both religion and unbelief in our society.

About the Author

ALISTER McGRATH is a professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University and Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He is author of numerous books, including In the Beginning, The Reenchantment of Nature, and The Journey; a consulting editor of Christianity Today; and the general editor of The NIV Thematic Study Bible. He lives in Oxford, England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385500616
Author:
Mcgrath, Alister
Publisher:
Random House
Author:
McGrath, Alister E.
Author:
McGrath, Alister
Location:
New York
Subject:
History
Subject:
Atheism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
ER2000-1
Publication Date:
June 2004
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
306
Dimensions:
9.58x6.08x1.07 in. 1.27 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » Atheism and Humanism
Religion » Western Religions » Apologetics

The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World Used Hardcover
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$13.95 In Stock
Product details 306 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385500616 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Oxford University's McGrath has distinguished himself not just as an historical theologian, but as a generous and witty writer who brings life to topics that would turn to dust in others' hands. Here he explores the history of atheism in Western culture, observing that atheism seems to be succumbing to the very fate irrelevance and dissolution that atheists once predicted would overtake traditional religion. How did atheism ('a principled and informed decision to reject belief in God') become so rare by the turn of the 21st century? McGrath leaves no stone unturned, nor any important source unconsulted, in tracing atheism's rise and fall. Beyond the usual suspects of Marx, Freud and Darwin, McGrath surveys literature (George Eliot, Algernon Swinburne), science (Jacques Monod, Richard Dawkins) and philosophy (Ludwig Feuerbach, Michel Foucault), managing to make such intellectual heavy lifting look effortless. As a lapsed atheist himself, McGrath is a sympathetic interpreter, but he also relentlessly documents what he contends are the philosophical inconsistency and moral failures of atheism, especially when it has acquired political power. Yet believers will find no warrant here for complacency, as McGrath shows how religion's 'failures of imagination' and complicity with oppression often fostered the very environment in which atheism could thrive. Indeed, he warns, 'Believers need to realize that, strange as it may seem, it is they who will have the greatest impact on atheism's future.' Readable and memorable, this is intellectual history at its best." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "In The Twilight of Atheism, Alister McGrath, who was once himself an unbeliever, spells out this story, with much enjoyable anecdote, and with considerable sympathy for the pioneers — poets and novelists, as well as philosophers and scientists — who saw themselves as liberators of the human imagination. He warns, though, that their work has to be understood in context." (read the entire Times Literary Supplement)
"Review" by , "[L]ay readers may find McGrath's arguments compelling; those expecting a scholarly discussion will probably not be convinced."
"Synopsis" by , In this bold and provocative new book, the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming more secular and demonstrates why atheism cannot provide the moral and intellectual guidance essential for coping with the complexities of modern life.

Atheism is one of the most important movements in modern Western culture. For the last two hundred years, it seemed to be on the verge of eliminating religion as an outmoded and dangerous superstition. Recent years, however, have witnessed the decline of disbelief and a rise in religious devotion throughout the world. In THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM, the distinguished historian and theologian Alister McGrath examines what went wrong with the atheist dream and explains why religion and faith are destined to play a central role in the twenty-first century.

A former atheist who is now one of Christianity's foremost scholars, McGrath traces the history of atheism from its emergence in eighteenth-century Europe as a revolutionary worldview that offered liberation from the rigidity of traditional religion and the oppression of tyrannical monarchs, to its golden age in the first half of the twentieth century. Blending thoughtful, authoritative historical analysis with incisive portraits of such leading and influential atheists as Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins, McGrath exposes the flaws at the heart of atheism, and argues that the renewal of faith is a natural, inevitable, and necessary response to its failures.

THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM will unsettle believers and nonbelievers alike. A powerful rebuttal of the philosophy that, for better and for worse, has exertedtremendous influence on Western history, it carries major implications for the future of both religion and unbelief in our society.

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