#FREE EPUB á The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World ð eBook or E-pub free

Read this with my reading partner his choice but I am glad to have read it Feelinformed about the history of atheism how it evolved, grew and why now in decline IF you do not have a dynamic personal relationship with God, then of course your religion does not do much for you Glad to have an intimate relationship with God through Christ, knowing in my depth that i am loved. This is an informative book about the earlier times os nonbelief and atheism Unfortunately, McGrath seems to have misjudged the meaning of atheism in current western societies, claiming it experienced its highlights during the sixties and has been on its way back since then This is were his personal beliefs seem to get in the way of a balanced analysis of modern atheism. #FREE EPUB ð The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World º 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 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 centuryA 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 failuresE 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 Allister McGrath is a well respected Oxford Theologian and as such his material deserves to be taken seriously Twilight of Atheism is a book that chronicles the history of atheism with the ultimate goal of proving its demise McGrath compares atheism to Queen Victoria s Diamond Jubilee in June 1897, in that it was the pinnacle for the British Empire, and the only direction thereafter was down Twilight is not a rant against atheism, neither is it particularly apologetic in its tone When readin Allister McGrath is a well respected Oxford Theologian and as such his material deserves to be taken seriously Twilight of Atheism is a book that chronicles the history of atheism with the ultimate goal of proving its demise McGrath compares atheism to Queen Victoria s Diamond Jubilee in June 1897, in that it was the pinnacle for the British Empire, and the only direction thereafter was down Twilight is not a rant against atheism, neither is it particularly apologetic in its tone When reading through the book, the author is firm but respectful of those that hold the opposing view one obvious way that he does this is in the title that seems to be a play on Nietzsche s Twilight of the Idols Overall Twilight of Athesim was an excellent book to read McGrath is an engaging writer who demystified atheism by placing it in its context like any other movement, and gave credence to those of us who uphold a theistic view of the world The Twilight of Atheism by Alister McGrath certainly does live up to its title In this book, McGrath comprehensively outlines the relatively short history of atheism in order to show how and why atheism is on a decline However, that seems to be the extent of McGrath s thesis, which, at best, can be interpreted as an advocacy for agnosticism even though it isn t Not quite This is because McGrath, in this particular book, doesn t seem interested in explicating atheism s scientific or moral The Twilight of Atheism by Alister McGrath certainly does live up to its title In this book, McGrath comprehensively outlines the relatively short history of atheism in order to show how and why atheism is on a decline However, that seems to be the extent of McGrath s thesis, which, at best, can be interpreted as an advocacy for agnosticism even though it isn t Not quite This is because McGrath, in this particular book, doesn t seem interested in explicating atheism s scientific or moral failings neither does he seem interested in arguing religion as the superior alternative an aspect that surprised me the most while reading this book In fact, as far as intellect goes, McGrath finds that both atheism and theism are outside its boundaries, claiming that there is simply no logically watertight means of arguing from observation of the world to the existence or nonexistence of God And, true to this statement, McGrath doesn t try to do anything of the sort Instead, the strongest empirical evidence he offers for his thesis on the decline of atheism seems to be strictly historical political, cultural, sociological The other surprising thing about this book is that it does not argue atheism as objectively invalid it simply relates how a godless vision for the world lost the appeal it had in the late 18th century, and why there is a resurgence of religion in the Western populace, and throughout the world I was honestly disappointed that McGrath didn t try to specifically explain the scientific failings of atheism The idea that atheism is backed up by science McGrath grandly states as a false caricature, a myth that no one takes seriously any, an outmoded way of thinking of late This didn t seem very realistic to me, since the majority of arguments I hear against the Bible are science based In any case, McGrath unfortunately doesn t dive in at all to why atheism is not backed up by science, merely stating that it isn t I suppose it doesn t really matter, after all, in the grand scheme of his thesis, which is primarily that atheism is losing its appeal, losing its grasp on the imagination of western culture As far as this goes, the book was incredibly interesting, which is why I gave it a stars I cannot, after all, rate a book based on what I wanted it to say before I even turned the first page But I can rate it on how well it expressed the idea it was trying to express in the first place In this case, this book did not argue for or against atheism or religion The closest McGrath comes to this, is in his historical outlook, which concludes that religion has outlasted atheism through the test of time However, McGrath does argue that certain atheistic movements are morally inept, and socially destructive, such as the Victorian optimism of Algernon Charles Swinburne, who celebrated mankind s divinity much like this present day New Age movement There are many today fwho affirm a belief in humanity in preference to a belief in God Yet this humanity has been responsible for a series of moral, social, and political catastrophes, some inspired by a belief in God, others by a belief that God must be eliminated, by all means, and at all costs The common denominator here is humanity, not divinity Again, this is an attack only on a specific movement of atheism, which perceived humanity as divine The purpose of this highlight was part of McGrath s amazing overarching argument that atheism is seen as a liberator only when its antithesis religion is seen as an oppressor thus, McGrath concludes, atheism is at its strongest when the religious institution in society becomes corrupted, gains power, and inevitably begins to abuse that power It is in these dark times when atheism becomes most appealing McGrath explains, IT is not of the essence of atheism to be a liberator, nor of religion to be an oppressor These roles are determined by the contingencies of history This is the epitome of this book s thesis, laying the groundwork for why atheism began as it did, and why it is on decline the contingencies of history Atheism sprouted vibrantly during the French Revolution, McGrath points out in the very beginning of the book This was a time when the church was corrupt, abusing their power, becoming the main authority, integrating into the government Many Christians saw this as the opportunity for reform, but atheistic advocates perceived this as the need to do away with religion in order to establish peace and equality for all However, the Atheist Empire experiment, under the name of Marxism, became Nazism and Stalinism, which failed drastically, serving as a disturbing legacy for atheism a body count in the tens of millions casualties far exceeding any war in the history of man This serves to show how atheism is just as prone to corruption as religion, and either can be seen as a liberator, depending on the historical and cultural situation During the French Revolution, atheism was a perceived liberator During Stalin s time, atheism was seen as an oppressor of man This cultural fluctuation is precisely why atheism is dying out Christianity in the West can adapt to the culture, and atheism cannot, as it is by nature a fixed theory Atheism is only as strong as religion is weak, and since Christianity shows no signs of diminishing, atheism cannot show signs of near future revival, and in fact is in decline This is, in a nutshell, what McGrath argues in the Twilight of Atheism Although I would much like to tell you all the captivating aspects of this book, the best thing I can do besides the arduous task of writing them all down , is to advise you to read it The perspective of the author, especially as a fellow Protestant Christian, will no doubt be very enlightening to any reader McGrath traces the rise of atheism as a major cultural force in the West in the first half of this book Atheism rose to prominence in part through the French Revolution and its significant critique of the failings of the French Church, the intellectual ideas of Feuerbach, Marx and Freud who all critique belief in God as a flaw in humanity, and the rise of natural science specifically evolution Also contributing was the failure of religious imagination atheism was simplyinteresting and McGrath traces the rise of atheism as a major cultural force in the West in the first half of this book Atheism rose to prominence in part through the French Revolution and its significant critique of the failings of the French Church, the intellectual ideas of Feuerbach, Marx and Freud who all critique belief in God as a flaw in humanity, and the rise of natural science specifically evolution Also contributing was the failure of religious imagination atheism was simplyinteresting and invigorating to people This led to the dream of a godless culture, which some yearned for but others wereuncertain about.The second part of the book examines the resurgence of religion McGrath gives many reasons for this One is the emergence of Pentecostalism, a form of Christianity that is seemingly immune to some previous atheist attacks Here McGrath advances the thesis that atheism rose in part as a culturally conditioned critique of Protestantism While aspects of Protestantism set the stage for the atheist critique, as Christianity changes and evolves, such critiques no longer hold water Also, when the godless cultures that many atheists previously yearned for did arrive, such as in communist Russia, they proved to be just as oppressive, intolerant and violent as the worst that any religious culture ever was The decline of modernity and the rise of postmodernism played a part in the critique of atheism too Finally, atheism failed to capture the imagination of people.McGrath brings even handedness and sanity to a debate often dominated by loud rhetorical flourish He argues that the truth of God s existence cannot be proven nor disproven, it lies outside the realm of proof and certainty Just as the arguments for God by the likes of Aquinas and Augustine presupposed God and then explained reality with God in mind, so Freud and Marx presupposed no God and went on to explain reality from an atheist perspective McGrath is no arrogant theist saying all signs point to God, but he does show that rejection of God is not the default for any person with a brain.This book came out prior to the onslaught of attacks on religion by the new atheists With so many bestsellers, perhaps some see McGrath s thesis of atheism in its twilight as proven false Yet McGrath is somewhat prophetic as the newer atheists come across, even to many other atheists, as fundamentalists who as culture turns against them feel the need to draw hard battle lines, yell the loudest and win the argument by sheer force of rhetoric It gets attention in the media, but on closer examination lacks depth of substance Religion is composed of our core beliefs Just like every house must begin with a foundation, these core beliefs, hence religion, are not optional everyone has them Atheism, which means no gods 1 , is a particularly curious religion because it is defined by what it is not In this sense, it is parasitic drawing its strength from its host 2 Because the line of argumentation in atheism is much longer than for traditional religions, atheism requiresintellectual energy to maintain Neverth Religion is composed of our core beliefs Just like every house must begin with a foundation, these core beliefs, hence religion, are not optional everyone has them Atheism, which means no gods 1 , is a particularly curious religion because it is defined by what it is not In this sense, it is parasitic drawing its strength from its host 2 Because the line of argumentation in atheism is much longer than for traditional religions, atheism requiresintellectual energy to maintain Nevertheless, atheism is popular because it makes fewer practical demands of its followers than traditional religions 3 For that reason new flavors of atheism keep popping up like ticks on a dog.Alister McGrath begins his book, Twilight of Atheism, with a citation from Winston Churchill The empires of the future will be empires of the mind Atheism is one of these empires which he defines as rejection of any divinities, supernatural powers, or transcendent realities limiting the development and achievements of humanity xi 4.McGrath states his purpose in writing as To tell something of the story of the rise and fall of a great empire of the mind and what can be learned from it What brought it into existence What gave it such credibility and attractiveness for so long And why does it seem to have lost so much of its potency in recent years vii.McGrath has in view, not every form of atheism, but rather official state atheism that began its ascent with the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and crashed with the Berlin Wall in 1989 McGrath goes on to write 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 uninhabilitability of such a place 1 Dr Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford and, most recently, the new Gresham Professor of Divinity 5 The Twilight of Atheism is an expansion of a speech given at Oxford Union in February 2002 xiii He writes in 11 chapters divided into two parts The High Noon of Atheism chapters 2 6 and Twilight chapters 7 11 The chapters are The Dawn of the Golden Age of Atheism,The French Revolution,The Intellectual Foundations Feuerbach, Marx, and Freud,Warfare The Natural Sciences and the Advancement of Atheism,A Failure of the Religious Imagination The Victorian Crisis of Faith,The Death of God The Dream of a Godless Culture,The Unexpected Resurgence of Religion,Disconnection from the Sacred Protestantism and Atheism,Postmodernity Atheism and Radical Cultural Change,The Atheist s Revolt Madalyn Murray O Hair and Others, andEnd of Empire The Fading Appeal of Atheism v vii.These chapters are preceded by an introduction and followed by a list of references and an index.Like another other religion, atheism has its priests McGrath writes Intellectuals became a secular priesthood, unfettered by the dogmas of the religious past, addressing a growing audience who were becoming increasingly impatient with the moral failures and cultural unsophistication of their clergy At some point, perhaps one that can never be determined with historical accuracy, Western society came to believe that it should look elsewhere than to its clergy for guidance Instead, they turned to the intellectuals, who were able to portray their clerical opponents as lazy fools who could do nothan unthinkingly repeat the slogans and nostrums of an increasingly distant past 49 Ouch My guess is that the Scopes Trial in 1925 6 was probably a tipping point for American characterization of clergy as unsophisticated.The idea in my mind that atheism was a real religion was planted by McGrath s discussion here McGrath writes the philosophical argument about the existence of God has ground to a halt The matter lies beyond rational proof, and is ultimately a matter of faith, in the sense of judgments made in the absence of sufficient evidenceThe belief that there is no God is just as much a matter of faith as the belief that there is a God 179 180 In other words, atheism is a religion The reason why we care about this characterization is that religions dressed up as something other than what they really are has important implications for other atheistic religions that followed and transformed postmodern culture For example, a non religion, religion can be taught in public schools while a formal religion cannot be taught Unmasking the priests of an informal religion is a critical point in responding to their claims.Alister McGrath s book, Twilight of Atheism, is an erudite but accessible and fascinating read It is refreshing to see such clear and logical writing This is the first of a three part review which will be posted on T2Pneuma.net beginning on May 18 and running through May 25, 2015 In part 2 I will focus on McGrath s High Noon of atheism in terms of 3 key personalities Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche Then, in part 3, I will turn to McGrath s view of the Twilight of Atheism 1 2 McGrath writes Voltaire s insight is of fundamental importance to our study of the emergence of atheism His argument is simple the attractiveness of atheism is directly dependent upon the corruption of Christian institutions Reform those institutions and the plausibility of atheism is dramatically reduced 27 3 This is unlike Christianity, for example, which requires that believers model their lives after Christ Following a review of the sadistic and salacious work of the Marquis de Sade 1740 1814 , McGrath notes that Atheism made sexual experimentation legitimate and interesting 35 In other words, rather than making demands of its followers, atheism offers them a kinky sort of freedom 4 Limiting is the key word here because a brief survey of any television guide will leave one in awe of the number of supernatural illusions referenced However, like other pagan gods before them, zombies, ghosts, witches, wizards, werewolves, and vampires make no particular demands on those that believe in them and model their lives after them Instead, they offer the illusion of eternal life and supernatural power without accountability 5 6 Interesting to read a history of atheism and the reasons why atheism could not completely eradicate religion The book is however biased towards Christianity, despite the author s opinion that Protestantism helped atheism grow There are only a cursory glance at other religions and no mention of how other religions helped in keeping atheism from taking over the Western world except for the mention of immigrants Despite this bias I ve enjoyed reading the book In the Twilight of Atheism, Alister McGrath gives readers a historical overview of atheism that includes its strengths and its flaws His analysis is both insightful and honest without disrespect to the many great minds that believe in a godless universe McGrath, as a Reformation scholar, even suggests, by drawing together a number of scholarly studies on the origins and development of Protestantism, that there is a significant link between the Reformation and the emergence of atheism.He remind In the Twilight of Atheism, Alister McGrath gives readers a historical overview of atheism that includes its strengths and its flaws His analysis is both insightful and honest without disrespect to the many great minds that believe in a godless universe McGrath, as a Reformation scholar, even suggests, by drawing together a number of scholarly studies on the origins and development of Protestantism, that there is a significant link between the Reformation and the emergence of atheism.He reminds atheists, who seem to forget, that The belief that there is no God is just as much a matter of faith as the belief there is a God If faith is defined as belief lying beyond proof, both Christianity and atheism are faiths While this suggestion may seem astonishing to some atheists, it is not only philosophically correct but also illuminating in shedding light on the changed fortunes of atheism in recent years For those who think one cannot be a legitimate scientist and still have a belief in God, McGrath cites a major survey of the religious beliefs of scientists carried out at the beginning and end of the 20th Century The original survey taken in 1916 showed that 40 percent of scientists had some form of personal religious beliefs while 40 percent had none and 20 percent were agnostic In 1996 the survey was repeated and the amazing results were exactly the same One noted scientist, Albert Einstein, denied being an atheist.Walter Isaacson in his biography of Albert Einstein writes this about the great scientist beliefs, Throughout his life, he Einstein was consistent in deflecting the charge that he was an atheist There are people who say there is no God, he told a friend But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views Isaacson also writes of an interview Einstein gave to George Sylvester Viereck shortly after his fiftieth birthday Viereck asked Einstein if he believed in God and Einstein said, I m not an atheist The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages The child knows someone must have written these books It does not know how It does not understand the languages in which they are written The child suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn t know what it is That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the most intelligent human being toward God We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws The reality is that there are no definitive answers on either side of the debate, so it comes down to a person making a choice as to what they believe My problem is with the name calling that has recently been evident in the atheist camp This new tactic takes the position that if you can t prove something empirically then you need to verbally bludgeon the opposition by name calling such as simple minded, stupid, imbecilic, and other deprecatory rhetoric This has become one of Richard Dawkins weapons against theistic belief.George Orwell in his novel Down and Out in Paris and London describes the character of Bozo in this way, He was an embittered atheist the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him This seems to describe Dawkins s recent diatribes against religionMcGrath, at the end of the book, takes areasonable stand He says this about the attitude believers need to have, Atheism stands in permanent judgment over arrogant, complacent , and superficial Christian churches and leaders It needs to be heard In the closing pages of this work, its concerns will be taken seriously and to heart The debate, I m sure, will continue with no definitive answers ever achieved, so perhaps it iscivil to have each side simply respect the others beliefs and let the condescending name calling finally end As a person of faith, I acknowledge my bias but I nevertheless found this to be overall quite fair minded and even generous in several places concerning its portrayal of atheism It was a relief to read an intellectual engagement that truly appeared to understand the other side rather than atypical evangelical pop culture approach that simply says Atheist bad, Christian good, everyone else mistaken McGrath seemed to be saying Come on, atheists, you can do better than this You ve g As a person of faith, I acknowledge my bias but I nevertheless found this to be overall quite fair minded and even generous in several places concerning its portrayal of atheism It was a relief to read an intellectual engagement that truly appeared to understand the other side rather than atypical evangelical pop culture approach that simply says Atheist bad, Christian good, everyone else mistaken McGrath seemed to be saying Come on, atheists, you can do better than this You ve got something good to offer the world, including Christians read the last chapter especially As for the twilight concept, I don t think he was wise to use the word in the title or the concept in the structure of his book He acknowledges in the last chapter that atheism, like theism and religion in general, will continue to be a cultural reality in the West for the foreseeable future The sun is not setting on either one.Still, it was a fair, informative, respectful, and intellectually engaging without being intellectually intimidating read and I do highly recommend it