Frankly the new atheist are boring me, but I still picked up this book to read because Lennox says things in profound and astute ways. He has not disappointed. This book points out charitably the foundational failures of the new atheists arguments, or better still, it points out the “preaching” of the new atheists have no grounding in reality, because their approach makes everything meaningless to start with.
Sadly too many secularists are taking their unsupported opinion as gospel and Lennox brings this out.
What I really enjoyed about the book was how Lennox employs a very careful analysis of the objections of the New Atheists.. It’s something that many Christians would do well to emulate. We need to think carefully about the assumptions and implications of what the New Atheists are arguing.
On pages 46-47 Lennox looks at the consistency of the new atheists reliance upon Freud and shows it just won’t do the work they assume it will. Effectively Lennox does an internal critique of the New Atheists arguments. Speaking in the context of ‘Is Faith a delusion’ pg 45f Lennox points out that although Dawkins rejects faith, it is merely his definition off faith that he rejects. Indeed the Oxford English Dictionary points out a delusion is ‘a fixed false belief held in the face of contradictory evidence.’ What is crucial here is the falsity of the belief. That’s why the objection you may as well believe in the flying spaghetti monster or leprechauns doesn’t unsettle us. Years ago Edwin Orr pointed out the nonsense of such objections. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is conceptual nonsense having no substance in the real world, It is as bad as arguing for a square circle since pieces of spaghetti do not a monster make and certainly they don’t have the physical constitution giving spaghetti the ability to “fly”.
Likewise today Alister Mcgrath substantiates that
it is only a delusion when such things don’t exist
pg46. So if God does not exist then faith in God is a delusion, however just as true is that if God does exist then atheism is a delusion. This is where Lennox is at his most stimulating.
Consider then how Lennox applies this to the oft quoted support of Freud by the New Atheists. He states that the objection that belief in God is a delusion, a crutch to cope with the real world and its uncertainties, can be turned on its head and asked of the unbeliever. “Is not atheism a delusion, a solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.”
What we find will happen when we ask this of the unbeliever, is that she may possibly return to what matters, the evidence for God, the centrality of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
From his analysis we see that the argument of Freud helps no one unless you offer grounds for believing or not believing in God.