Most of us believe in God, but the number of atheists in the United States has been growing rapidly during the last ten years or so. One of the reasons that there are more atheists than there used to be is that leading atheists have written influential books promoting their beliefs.
Two of the most influential books written by atheists include The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Good Without God by Greg Epstein. Although I don’t enjoy reading books written by atheists, I read both of these books several years ago. I’m glad that I read those books because I was able to find some surprising common ground in them between atheism and theism. In my upcoming book The Life Changer, I write about some of this common ground.
Hoping to find more common ground between atheism and theism, I recently read Christopher Hitchens’ book God is Not Great (New York: Twelve, 2009). Unfortunately, instead of finding more common ground in Hitchens’ book, I mainly encountered the author’s arrogant attitude and his ineffective arguments.
Even though I really didn’t like God is not Great, it does feature a few strengths. First of all, it does correctly point out some of the legitimate concerns that readers should have about Islam, the Roman Catholic church, and Mormonism. Secondly, Hitchens’ book correctly points out that the manuscript evidence for one story in the Bible (i.e., the story of the woman caught in adultery found in John 8) isn’t very good. Popular modern Bible versions such as the NIV, ESV, and NASB clearly indicate that this story wasn’t included in the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament. This fact is known by all conservative biblical scholars, who also know that the manuscript evidence for the New Testament as a whole is very good.
While God is not Great does have a few commendable features, it has many more weaknesses than strengths. First of all, Hitchens falsely claims that religious faith is ultimately grounded on wishful thinking (p. 4). Secondly, Hitchens mistakenly asserts that religious faith is in conflict with scientific evidence (pp. 47-48). He falsely argues that belief in God is irrational because the evidence for evolution is “overwhelming” (p. 85). The so-called evidence that humans evolved from an apelike ancestor is really not convincing at all. Thirdly, Hitchens incorrectly maintains that religious faith promotes intolerance, sexism, and child abuse (pp. 56, 217). Fourthly, Hitchens mistakenly contends that the four Gospels of the New Testament contain contradictions and historical errors (pp. 111-115). The Gospels are actually based on eyewitness testimony and report the same main details of the stories that they contain. Finally, Hitchens errs in arguing that religion is outdated because of scientific findings that seem to support atheism (p. 282).
The truth is that belief in God’s existence is based on sound arguments and solid reasoning. My book The Life Changer describes three convincing arguments for God’s existence. One of these arguments is so powerful that even atheists such as Richard Dawkins have admitted that it is powerful. In contrast to theism, atheism is much more based on wishful thinking than on good evidence. My book has quotes in which some atheists and agnostics have even admitted that atheism is based more on wishful thinking than on real evidence.
While some religions do seem to promote intolerance and sexism, the Christian faith fosters love and respect for all people, including women and children. The New Testament Gospels show so much respect for women that all four of them describe a group of women as being the first people to see the risen Jesus after his resurrection.
In the fourth chapter of The Life Changer, I seek to make it clear why we should still believe in God. The evidence for God’s existence remains persuasive, and the evidence for evolution remains unconvincing. The vast majority of the most important scientists in human history have been Christians because the evidence for God and for the Bible have compelled them to believe in God and in Jesus. My book contains a list of these very important scientists who have believed in God and also believed in Jesus. Please read it when you get the chance!
Posted on May 19, 2022