The Twilight of Atheism
The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World
By Alister Mcgrath
(WaterBrook Press, Paperback, 9780385500623, 320pp.)
Publication Date: February 21, 2006
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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.
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.
Praise for Alister McGrath’s In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture
“Engrossing . . . McGrath’s elegantly clear account is worthy of his great subject.”
—Los Angeles Times
“An absorbing narrative chronicling three centuries of cultural, religious, and political history . . . McGrath’s engrossing book is a necessary read for anyone interested in understanding why [the King James] Bible stands apart from any other translation.”
“An engaging chronicle . . . This is a tale ripe for the telling.”
“McGrath’s book condenses a library of research materials, impenetrable to anyone but a theologian and historian, to present a straightforward, stirring, mercifully unsubtle account of a cultural icon we take for granted.”
—The Times (London)