Usually the Baptist Bulletin offers book reviews to suggest helpful material to our readers, but here our intent is different—to make readers aware of the recent profusion of books promoting atheism. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say books attacking religion, specifically Bible-believing Christianity. Such a backlash in society hasn’t appeared since the “God-is-dead” movement of the 1960s, though since time began the world has endured innumerable people and movements that rival those on today’s scene. Scoffers will come, we’re told in Scripture. Here are a few of the newer books whose purpose is to deny God’s existence.
The End of Faith by Sam Harris reveals the fear extraordinaire that atheist authors and their followers have of “right-wing religion and politics.” Harris reveals his own basic problem when he writes, “Most of the people in this world believe that the Creator of the universe has written a book. We have the misfortune of having many such books on hand, each making an exclusive claim as to its infallibility.” While the Holy Bible is the only authoritative basis for faith and practice, Harris would exclude even that Book. Therefore, Harris has rejected the one source that could enlighten and free him. But Harris doesn’t see any need to be enlightened or freed. He writes a book himself, and apparently we’re to presume that he thinks his book should be considered authoritative. Harris, by the way, regularly appears on television and radio programs to talk about the dangers he thinks religion poses to modern society.
When The End of Faith came out several years ago, many Christians responded. Some believers unfortunately “lose their sanctification,” or respond in an un-Christlike manner, when their faith is blatantly attacked; on the other hand, the Scriptures do sanction a righteous indignation over sin and error. Harris notices only the former excesses, and he has written a follow-up book, Letter to a Christian Nation. In this work, Harris goes after those “who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love” but who, in his thinking, “are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism.” Harris again reveals his utter lack of the perspective needed for a proper understanding of the Scriptures. Only the Holy Spirit can impart such a perspective, and only an individual who has experienced the new birth has the Holy Spirit indwelling him or her and enabling the understanding of truth. It is useless to argue with a person who says there is no God, since the Bible calls such an individual a fool.
The God Delusion was written by an Oxford University professor, Richard Dawkins. With this book comes a rehash of the same old arguments against God that are presented in similar books: Why is the world so unfair? Why do people suffer? Why are there inconsistencies and even misdeeds among people of faith? Much of the attacking is indeed directed at God’s people, who are described as deranged followers, oppressors, unreasoned, and intolerable. Believers in Christ, with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, know the answers to the world’s often-asked “whys.” The natural man, who is without the Holy Spirit, cannot understand.
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens is an account of Hitchens’ “dangerous encounters with religion” and describes his intellectual journey toward a secular view of life based on science and reason, in which the heavens are replaced by the Hubble telescope’s awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix. “God did not make us,” he writes. “We made God.” Religion, he explains, “is a distortion of our origins, our nature, and the cosmos. We damage our children—and endanger our world—by indoctrinating them.” Hitchens apparently is the righteous one. How do we know? The New Yorker says so: He is “an intellectual willing to show his teeth in the cause for righteousness.”
We’re confronted with the same decision we’ve had to make so many times: In whom do we place our trust? For those anchored in the Word of God, it is not a hard decision.