Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal

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Amarnath Amarasingam
BRILL, 2010 - Social Science - 253 pages
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The term new atheism has been given to the recent barrage of bestselling books written by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and others. These books and their authors have had a significant media presence and have only grown in popularity over the years. This book brings together scholars from religious studies, science, sociology of religion, sociology of science, philosophy, and theology to engage the new atheism and place it in the context of broader scholarly discourses. This volume will serve to contextualize and critically examine the claims, arguments and goals of the new atheism so that readers can become more informed of some of the debates with which the new atheists inevitably and, at times unknowingly, engage. Contributors include Richard Harries, Reza Aslan, Amarnath Amarasingam, Robert Platzner, Jeffrey Robbins, Christopher Rodkey, Rory Dickson, Steve Fuller, William Sims Bainbridge, William A. Stahl, Stephen Bullivant, Michael Borer, Richard Cimino, Christopher Smith, Gregory R. Peterson, Jeff Nall, Ryan Falcioni, and Mark Vernon. This collection will prove to be most valuable to readers who wish to understand the implications and phenomenal success of the new atheism from a multidisciplinary perspective. The editor is to be congratulated for assembling such an impressive list of contributions. John F. Haught, Senior Fellow, Science & Religion, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University The new atheism, a species of secular fundamentalism, has excited a great deal of comment and controversy in recent years. "Religion and the New Atheism" raises the discourse to a new level. Randall Balmer, Episcopal Priest and author of "The Making of Evangelicalism" Amarasingam s collection of original essays dealing with various aspects of the recent work of new atheists is a most engaging read. The chapters included offer a wide array of perspectives, touching on numerous aspects and angles of New Atheism and its relationship to contemporary religion. While I most definitely did not agree with all of the contributions in the volume, and while I am generally more supportive of the new atheists than I am of their detractors, I found this volume over-all to be a compelling, engrossing, and provocative contribution. Phil Zuckerman, Associate Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College, Author of "Society Without God" Amarnath Amarasingam is a doctoral candidate in the Laurier-Waterloo PhD in Religious Studies in Ontario, Canada. He has published articles in "The Journal of Contemporary Religion," "Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs," as well as "Mental Health, Religion and Culture."
 

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Contents

What is the New Atheism?
1
I Religion and the New Atheism
9
II Science and the New Atheism
55
III Sociology and the New Atheism
95
IV Philosophy Ethics and the New Atheism
157
Afterword
225
About the Authors
233
References
237
Index
251
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About the author (2010)

Amarnath Amarasingam is a doctoral candidate in the Laurier-Waterloo PhD in Religious Studies in Ontario, Canada. He has published articles in "The Journal of Contemporary Religion," "Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs," as well as "Mental Health, Religion and Culture."