Atheistic attacks on Christianity
A pristine second-hand copy of What’s So Great About Christianity? by Dinesh D’Souza became available to me recently. D’Souza tackles the current onslaught of atheistic attacks on Christianity by addressing the primary arguments within the framework of traditional Christianity or the kind of Christianity that takes the Bible to be the revealed word of God, the primary source of revelation.
The first two chapters are, for the most part, a sociological survey of the current success of Christianity as the world’s fastest growing religion. Vibrant Christianity, it seems, is an emerging force particularly in South America, Asia and Africa.
The third and forth chapters contain quite an informed characterization of the atheistic challenge to religion and Christianity in particular. D’Souza quotes a number of prominent figures to highlight their overtly negative views. Had I not read The End of Faith and listened to a portion of The God Delusion audiobook, I might have taken quite a dim view of Dawkins and Harris, considering them to be taking mere elitist positions in relation to science.
However, I now know that while their attacks on religion are strong, both men remain positive and mystically-oriented rather than negative and materialistic. Understandably, given that D’Souza has already confirmed himself to be firmly a believer in the supernatural, he is going to be on the defense to what amounts as a strong attack on his position. His task in this book is to prove that Christianity is not the evil that it has been characterized to be by prominent atheists. As such, these chapters feature quotes to highlight some of the strongest attacks made to date.
I highly doubt that there is one large philosophical structure called ‘atheism’. Atheists can vary from the materialistic to mystical, and as such have entirely different views on life. The very best of atheists would put religion in centre square of our education systems, if only to align the mythical stories with scientific rationalism. In other words, to explain religion in as natural terms as possible. Atheists generally get characterised as being in denial; rather, they are simply those who choose a perspective that is more in line with reality as it is perceived.
As a Christian, I perceived atheists as deluded – how could they deny the obvious? How could you not see from the complexity of nature the signs of a Creator? Now I understand that God is not a necessary explanation, and gladly D’Souza does not imply delusion on the part of atheists (unlike most Christian authors). Even editor of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer, recommends the book to atheists as a well-reasoned work (even though he disagreed with most of the conclusions).