This book is a personal and at times blistering critique of the ‘ignorant screeds’ of the New Atheist meme machine: the ‘sneer pressure’ from the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Stephen Fry.
Since their loud tirades against religion became popular following the publication of The God Delusion in 2006, there have been many Christian responses to these ideas. They vary in their quality and accessibility.
This is one of the better books for the lay reader that I have read. Though its short length means it is not very thorough, I suspect this makes it more enticing to many. Perhaps it is so engaging because the author is an RE teacher who helps to run the Saints and Sceptics website, an Internet apologetics resource.
Some of the analogies are not watertight, and it is better at its criticism of New Atheism than in presenting arguments in favour of Christianity. However, there is a strong blend of philosophy, theology and science. Those who are keen on apologetics will be familiar with most of the points made, but they are made well and concisely. I’m not sure I’d describe it as a ‘survival guide’, but it does throw a few punches.
This may not be a book for hardened New Atheists because it is too brief to explore all the branches that would come out of such typically meandering debates. It might be a better resource for those who are only mildly persuaded by Dawkins et al, and need to have their trust in such icons questioned. For Christians, it’s a book that helps penetrate the attacks of the modern atheist and equips us to think through what we believe and why
HEATHER TOMLINSON is a freelance journalist