Christian apologetics response to the New Atheist movement

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Christian apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith through logic/evidence based arguments.

In June 2012, the UK based Dorset Humanists wrote:

There’s been a forceful backlash against the ‘new atheism’ of writers like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, inspiring a new wave of Christian apologists. This group includes: Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology at King’s College London, Keith Ward, former Professor of Divinity at Oxford, and John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.

Many atheists make the mistake of assuming religion is wholly irrational, relying on faith alone but, in a series of interviews recorded for DVD, the apologetics heavyweights from the list above demonstrate their ability to challenge us with reasoned arguments.[1]

The Christian apologetics organizations Ratio Christi and Trinity Graduate School of Apologetics and Theology formed after the launch of the New Atheism movement and before the decline of the New Atheism movement.

New atheists and debates against Christian apologist William Lane Craig

Letter to Richard Dawkins from Oxford atheist and academic Daniel Came

In a letter to the agnostic and evolutionist Richard Dawkins which was subsequently quoted by The Daily Telegraph, Oxford University atheist and professor Daniel Came wrote concerning Dawkins' refusal to debate the Christian apologist William Lane Craig:

"The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[2]

One of the frequent criticisms of the New Atheism movement is that it avoids the strongest arguments of its opponents.[3] See also: Atheism and cowardice and Richard Dawkins and debate

Christopher Hitchens' debate against William Lane Craig

Christopher Hitchens debated William Lane Craig at Biola University in 2009 in a videotaped debate.[4] The atheist Luke Muehlhauser wrote concerning the debate: "The debate went exactly as I expected. Craig was flawless and unstoppable. Hitchens was rambling and incoherent, with the occasional rhetorical jab. Frankly, Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child."[5]

Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig debate

See: Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig debate

New Atheism and creation apologetics

Evangelical Christianity, New Atheism and creationism

Michael Ruse argues that New Atheism may have helped fuel evangelical Christian resistance to evolutionism.[6]

Ruse wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education in an article entitled Are the New Atheists Responsible for the Creationist Menace?:

What was the consequence? In Wright’s opinion:
If the only thing this Darwinian assault did was amp up resistance to teaching evolution in public schools, the damage, though regrettable, would be limited. My fear is that the damage is broader – that fundamentalist Christians, upon being maligned by know-it-all Darwinians, are starting to see secular scientists more broadly as the enemy; Darwinians, climate scientists, and stem-cell researchers start to seem like a single, menacing blur.

Wright backs up his hypothesis by noting that more and more people seem to be moving from a middle-range compromise, where evolution occurred but God guided its path, to outright biblical literalism. Wright suggests that people feel that, thanks to the New Atheists, they must choose between science and religion, no third way, and that they choose religion.

Naturally enough the New Atheists don’t much like this hypothesis...

To conclude. I don’t think that Robert Wright is precisely right in what he argues. But I do think he has got a point.[7]

See also:

Muslim creationism and New Atheism

See also: Atheism vs. Islam

In 2006/2007, the series of Islamic creationists books called the Atlas of Creation were first launched.

Tens of thousands of copies of the book have been sent, on an unsolicited basis to schools and to prominent researchers and research institutes throughout Europe and the United States. The books caused a furor in Europe and the Committee on Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued a report.

Creationism and Europe

See also: European desecularization in the 21st century

Both Muslims and evangelical Christians are seeing significant growth in Europe (see: European desecularization in the 21st century).

Johns Hopkins University Press reported in 2014: "Over the past forty years, creationism has spread swiftly among European Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, even as anti-creationists sought to smother its flames."[8]

See also