A friend who teaches philosophy emailed me this week and asked whether I’d be interested in collaborating on a book-length, point-by-point response to The God Delusion. He thinks (as I do) that Dawkins’ case against theism is philosophically inept, but he wondered whether a response would be worthwhile because (i) The God Delusion is a New York Times bestseller and (ii) one of his colleagues had expressed concern over several reports of people “losing their faith” after reading the book.
In reply, I told him that while it would be a fun project, in terms of impact it probably wouldn’t add anything to the numerous critical reviews and other responses already available. In any case, these reports of people being ‘deconverted’ by The God Delusion arguably tell us more about those people than about the impact of this one book. Call me cynical, but my suspicion is that most of these were deconversions waiting to happen. Dawkins’ book was merely the final rhetorical shove over the precipice.
I suppose what surprises me most about these Dawkins-destroyed-my-faith stories is that in this day and age it takes practically no effort — at most, a few minutes with a good search engine — to turn up several scholarly responses to The God Delusion (reviews, articles, books, etc.) that should at least give a rational person significant pause before ordering his certificate of debaptism. However, I was also surprised to discover (after a few minutes with a good search engine) that no one has yet gathered links to these responses together in one place.
This post is designed to fill that gap. Consider it a one-stop shop for all your Dawkins-defusing needs. If you know of any (respectable) responses not listed below, please let me know and I’ll considering adding them.
Note: I haven’t read all of the items listed below and I don’t endorse everything written in those I have read. The list is provided only as a jumping-off point for those who want to critically consider the other side of the argument. It isn’t intended to be exhaustive; I’ve only included items that I have reason to believe are worth consulting.
Book-Length Responses to The God Delusion
- Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine, June 2007.
- David Robertson, The Dawkins Letters: Challenging Atheist Myths, June 2007.
- Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker, Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins’ Case Against God, May 2008.
- Keith Ward, Why There Almost Certainly Is a God: Doubting Dawkins, April 2009.
Book-Length Responses to the “New Atheism”
- David Berlinksi, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, April 2008.
- Edward Feser, The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism, October 2008.
- Eric Reitan, Is God A Delusion?: A Reply to Religion’s Cultured Despisers, December 2008.
- David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, April 2009.
- Paul Copan and William Lane Craig (eds), Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors, August 2009.
Other Relevant Books
- John Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, September 2007.
- Terry Eagleton, ‘Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching’, 19 October 2006.
- Jim Holt, ‘Beyond Belief’, The New York Times, 22 October 2006.
- H. Allen Orr, ‘A Mission to Convert’, The New York Review of Books, 11 January 2007.
- Alvin Plantinga, ‘The Dawkins Confusion’, Books & Culture, April/May 2007. [PDF version]
- Michael Ruse, ‘The God Delusion’, ISIS, December 2007.
- Paul Copan, ‘Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?’, Philosophia Christi 10:1 (2008).
- William Lane Craig, ‘Five Arguments for God’ (interacts with Dawkins’ [mis]treatment of theistic arguments in The God Delusion)
- William Lane Craig, ‘Q&A: What do you think of Richard Dawkins’ argument for atheism in The God Delusion?’
- Antony Flew, ‘Flew Speaks Out: Professor Antony Flew reviews The God Delusion‘
- Richard Swinburne, ‘Response to Richard Dawkins’s Criticisms in The God Delusion’
- Peter Williams, ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Richard Dawkins’ Failed Rebuttal of Natural Theology’
- ‘The Dawkins Delusion’, Triablogue, 20 October 2006.
- ‘Thomas Nagel Critiques Dawkins: The Design-Cannot-Possibly-Be-True Argument’, Intelligent Design the Future, 23 October 2006.
- ‘Ruse on Dawkins’ Delusion’, Uncommon Descent, 19 February 2008.