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The Decade of Atheism?

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt concluded 2009 by broadcasting a debate about God between polemicists Michael Shermer and Gregory Koukl, thereby bidding adieu to what he called “The Decade of the New Atheists”. It was indeed a remarkable cultural phenomenon how four atheologians in particular rose to prominence by selling scads of books: Sam Harris with The End of Faith  (2004), Christopher Hitchens with god is not Great (2007), Daniel Dennet with Breaking the Spell (2006), and, of course, Richard Dawkins with The God Delusion (2006). But just as noteworthy, perhaps, is the cavalcade of able critics who rose to these challenges to Christian theism. As with the cottage industry of criticism that accompanied Dan Brown’s and then Ron Howard’s The Davinci Code, these broadsides served as provocation for countless apologists. Of course, none of them were remotely as successful as their atheistic rivals in terms of sales. One wonders whether they will slip into oblivion just as Hume survives in philosophy readers, while most of his contemporaneous critics do not. Whatever happens, the swift and mostly scholarly response to this one decade’s worth of the perennial barrage on Christian theism leaves it an open question whether, in the final analysis, it was the atheists or their counterparts who owned the aughts. Consider the following list an opportunity to judge this contest of ideas for yourself.

Books Responding to the New Atheists

 

There were, of course, many other significant contributions to the God and religion debate in the last decade. This list represents only those works explicity responsive to the New Atheist challenge. Our book stacks include a wealth of volumes of a less occasional nature, many of which are likely to have more enduring influence. No doubt, the many volumes here vary in quality and I’ve read only a fraction. Bolded items are volumes I can vouch for as worthy of consideration. It turns out that Richard Dawkins’ compatriots maintain their own list of critical works, referring to these critics as “fleas” — affectionately, no doubt.

Articles

As I remember and rediscover them, I’ll be adding a list of online articles as well. Critics here include both theists and non-theists.