Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal

Overview

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...

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Foreword Richard Harries xi

Preface Reza Aslan xiii

1 Introduction: What is the New Atheism? Amarnath Amarasingam 1

I Religion and the New Atheism

2 Judaism and Atheism: The Challenge of Secular Humanism Robert L. Platzner 11

3 Beating 'God' to Death: Radical Theology and the New Atheism Jeffrey W. Robbins Christopher D. Rodkey 25

4 Religion as Phantasmagoria: Islam in The End of Faith Rory Dickson 37

II Science and the New Atheism

5 What Has Atheism Ever Done for Science? Steve Fuller 57

6 Cognitive Science and the New Atheism William Sims Bainbridge 79

III Sociology and the New Atheism

7 One-Dimensional Rage: The Social Epistemology of the New Atheism and Fundamentalism William A. Stahl 97

8 The New Atheism and Sociology: Why Here? Why Now? What Next? Stephen Bullivant 109

9 The New Atheism and the Secularization Thesis Michael Ian Borer 125

10 The New Atheism and the Empowerment of American Freethinkers Richard Cimino Christopher Smith 139

IV Philosophy, Ethics and the New Atheism

11 Ethics, Out-Group Altruism, and the New Atheism Gregory R. Peterson 159

12 Disparate Destinations, Parallel Paths: An Analysis of Contemporary Atheist and Christian Parenting Literature Jeff Nall 179

13 Is God a Hypothesis? The New Atheism, Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, and Philosophical Confusion Ryan C. Falcioni 203

Afterword Mark Vernon 225

About the Authors 233

References 237

Index 251

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