I don’t know why it’s easier to write a scathing review than it is to write a positive one (see, even the words I use to describe the reviews: ‘scathing’ versus ‘positive’. Which is more interesting?). I think that’s is part of the reason I’d waited so long before reviewing Why God Won’t Go Away by Alister McGrath. Making jokes is easier than just saying something straight. But I can’t make any jokes about McGrath’s latest book, so here it goes:

Why God Won’t Go Away is an insightful look at ‘New Athiesm’ the brand of virulently combative beliefs advanced by thinkers like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. McGrath skillfully explains both the for and against sides of the argument, managing to come off as sympathetic and understanding to both schools of thought while still holding true to his own principles.

The book is something of a lightweight at less than 200 pages, but don’t be fooled by its length. This is a book for those who want to think and reason and understand, not for those looking for an easy beach read. McGrath’s writing is clearly directed at the layman, and he does an excellent job of clearly explaining concepts and beliefs so that can be digested by those lacking a Ph.D in Philosophy. At the same time, I don’t walk away feeling like he’s watered anything down.

Perhaps my only criticism is that McGrath’s book isn’t as deep as it could be. Admittedly, if it were, it would doubtless shrink its audience, as the book is designed to reach a broad spectrum. Still, Why God Won’t Go Away makes me want to read more on the subject.

See, I couldn’t get any jokes in there. Oh well. Go read the book anyway.

Namarie from the Tale-Weaver.

In accordance with Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, I am disclosing that I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My opinions are my own, and I am not required to write a positive review.

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6 responses »

  1. Nathan says:

    Scathing is great word 🙂 After such a positive review I guess I have to check out the book

  2. Well, you’re more than welcome to borrow it 🙂

  3. David says:

    I think the reason it’s easier to be negative than positive is due to the fact that human nature is imperfect and sinful. We weren’t created to destroy things, we were created to subcreate (as Tolkien would say) and glorify God. That’s also why in so many stories the evil characters are more interesting than the good ones — it’s not because evil is more interesting than goodness, but because we humans have difficulty comprehending the greatness of pure goodness. It’s also why I so admire authors (like Tolkien, Lewis, George MacDonald, etc.) who can make goodness so interesting and appealing. They’re getting closer to truth.

  4. Ah yes, I see your point, although it seems that our innate drive to create–or subcreate–would lead us to positivity rather than negativity, as positivity is a creative force while negativity is a destructive force.

    • David says:

      Exactly; our tendency towards negativity is a result of the Fall, of our sin nature. That’s what I meant; sorry, I didn’t make the distinction clear enough when I put the statement about us being initially created to be creative and positive right before the statement about why evil characters are often more interesting. Mea culpa!

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