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Faith and Its Critics: A Conversation

David Fergusson (Oxford University Press: November 2009), 176 pages.

Heralded as the exponents of a “new atheism,” critics of religion are highly visible in today’s media, and include the household names of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris. David Fergusson explains their work in its historical perspective, drawing comparisons with earlier forms of atheism. Responding to the critics through conversations on the credibility of religious belief, Darwinism, morality, fundamentalism, and our approach to reading sacred texts, he establishes a compelling case for the practical and theoretical validity of faith in the contemporary world. An invitation to engage in a rich dialogue, Faith and Its Critics supports an informed and constructive exchange of ideas rather than a contest between two sides of the debate. Fergusson encourages faith communities to undertake patient engagement with their critics, to acknowledge the place for change and development in their self-understanding whilst resisting the reductive explanations of the new atheism. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

  • Introduction 1
  • 1 Atheism in Historical Perspective 15
  • 2 The Credibility of Religious Belief: Claims and Counter-Claims 34
  • 3 Darwinism: How Much Does It Explain? 61
  • 4 Morality, Art, and Religion: Invention or Discovery? 91
  • 5 Is Religion Bad For Our Health? Saints, Martyrs, and Terrorists 120
  • 6 Sacred Texts: How Should We Read Them? 151
  • Conclusion 178
  • Bibliography 182
  • Index 191