The God Conflict: Faith in the Face of New Atheism

Tuesday 7 October 2014
Jennifer Nowell, Kairos Catholic Journal
By Peter Feldmeier, Liguori, PB, $28.95

THE God Conflict leaves the reader with two central arguments: first, you will not find God if you do not allow yourself to look for him; and second, the New Atheist attacks on religion are not as rational and scientific as they claim to be.

Feldmeier is clearly concerned that religious people often concede that faith and reason are antithetical, which makes it impossible for them to argue effectively against atheists. In this book he looks at the ways the New Atheists (by whom he means Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and their disciples) dismiss religion and God, and reveals the problems with some of their most popular arguments.

Feldmeier provides a short chapter covering the hysterical tone of some New Atheist critiques of religion (obviously indicating a lack of serious scholarship) and the predominance of ‘straw man’ arguments, which give the writer a chance to ridicule the target’s supposed weak spots. His potted history of atheism is quite useful, showing that after very early examples of materialism such as Democritus (460-370 BC), there is no real evidence of atheistic thought until the Enlightenment. As seems obligatory in books defending God against atheist attacks, he offers a brief summary of the Galileo affair, showing that the Church had no problem with science in itself. He also points out that many modern scientists of note have been Catholic priests.



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