In this bold and provocative new book, the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming more secular and demonstrates why atheism cannot provide the moral and intellectual guidance essential for coping with the complexities of modern life.
Atheism is one of the most important movements in modern Western culture. For the last two hundred years, it seemed to be on the verge of eliminating religion as an outmoded and dangerous superstition. Recent years, however, have witnessed the decline of disbelief and a rise in religious devotion throughout the world. In THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM, the distinguished historian and theologian Alister McGrath examines what went wrong with the atheist dream and explains why religion and faith are destined to play a central role in the twenty-first century.
A former atheist who is now one of Christianity’s foremost scholars, McGrath traces the history of atheism from its emergence in eighteenth-century Europe as a revolutionary worldview that offered liberation from the rigidity of traditional religion and the oppression of tyrannical monarchs, to its golden age in the first half of the twentieth century. Blending thoughtful, authoritative historical analysis with incisive portraits of such leading and influential atheists as Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins, McGrath exposes the flaws at the heart of atheism, and argues that the renewal of faith is a natural, inevitable, and necessary response to its failures.
THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM will unsettle believers and nonbelievers alike. A powerful rebuttal of the philosophy that, for better and for worse, has exerted tremendous influence on Western history, it carries major implications for the future of both religion and unbelief in our society.
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|Title of eBook: The Twilight of Atheism|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group|
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The Twilight of Atheism
The Dawn of the Golden Age of Atheism
The remarkable rise and subsequent decline of atheism is framed by two pivotal events, separated by precisely two hundred years: the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and that of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Two brutal physical structures, each of which served as a symbol of a worldview, were destroyed, to popular acclaim. These dramatic events crystallized massive changes in perceptions in Western culture. They frame a fascinating period in Western history, in which atheism ceased to be the slightly weird outlook of those on the fringes of polite society in the West and became instead its dominant cultural voice. The fall of the Bastille became a symbol of the viability and creativity of a godless world, just as the fall of the Berlin Wall later symbolized a growing recognition of the uninhabitability of such a place. They mark neither the beginning nor the end of atheism, simply providing the historian with convenient boundary posts for a discussion of its growth, flowering, and gradual decay.
The Bastille was a grim medieval fortress in the east of Paris, which served as a state prison for the kings of France. In the popular mind it was associated with the violence, oppression, and torture employed by the French monarchy in the final years of the ancien regime. Its thick walls and high towers projected the power, permanence, and security of the old system. The Bastille was a tangible assertion of the futility of any attempt to alter things. Like the laws of the Medes and Persians, the social structure of France was set in stone and could not be changed. The events of July 1789 destroyed that myth of unchangeability. More th