The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World

The Twilight of Atheism The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World In this bold and provocative new book the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming secular and demonstrates why athe

  • Title: The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World
  • Author: Alister E. McGrath
  • ISBN: 9780385500623
  • Page: 306
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this bold and provocative new book, the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming secular and demonstrates why atheism cannot provide the moral and intellectual guidance essential for coping with the complexities of modern life Atheism is one of the most important movements in modernIn this bold and provocative new book, the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming secular and demonstrates why atheism cannot provide the moral and intellectual guidance essential for coping with the complexities of modern life Atheism is one of the most important movements in modern Western culture For the last two hundred years, it seemed to be on the verge of eliminating religion as an outmoded and dangerous superstition Recent years, however, have witnessed the decline of disbelief and a rise in religious devotion throughout the world In THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM, the distinguished historian and theologian Alister McGrath examines what went wrong with the atheist dream and explains why religion and faith are destined to play a central role in the twenty first century.A former atheist who is now one of Christianity s foremost scholars, McGrath traces the history of atheism from its emergence in eighteenth century Europe as a revolutionary worldview that offered liberation from the rigidity of traditional religion and the oppression of tyrannical monarchs, to its golden age in the first half of the twentieth century Blending thoughtful, authoritative historical analysis with incisive portraits of such leading and influential atheists as Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins, McGrath exposes the flaws at the heart of atheism, and argues that the renewal of faith is a natural, inevitable, and necessary response to its failuresE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM will unsettle believers and nonbelievers alike A powerful rebuttal of the philosophy that, for better and for worse, has exerted tremendous influence on Western history, it carries major implications for the future of both religion and unbelief in our society.

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    • The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World >> Alister E. McGrath
      306 Alister E. McGrath
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      Published :2019-02-14T16:20:27+00:00

    About " Alister E. McGrath "

  • Alister E. McGrath

    Alister Edgar McGrath is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King s College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, and was principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, until 2005 He is an Anglican priest and is ordained within the Church of England.Aside from being a faculty member at Oxford, McGrath has also taught at Cambridge University and is a Teaching Fellow at Regent College McGrath holds three doctorates from the University of Oxford, a DPhil in Molecular Biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity in Theology and a Doctor of Letters in Intellectual History.McGrath is noted for his work in historical theology, systematic theology, and the relationship between science and religion, as well as his writings on apologetics He is also known for his opposition to New Atheism and antireligionism and his advocacy of theological critical realism Among his best known books are The Twilight of Atheism, The Dawkins Delusion Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine, Dawkins God Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life, and A Scientific Theology He is also the author of a number of popular textbooks on theology.


  • Very detailed. A bit dry. Still excellent scholarship.This topic is considered from the perspective of a highly educated upper-class British intellectual, and while there's some mention of France, Germany, and American movements, there always seems to be a British point of view present. The language is quite elevated at times, and there's lots of scrutinization and even reporting of dry facts. McGrath's dry humor leaks into the prose as well, a welcome addition to the detached academic tone. Yet [...]

  • In the Twilight of Atheism, Alister McGrath gives readers a historical overview of atheism that includes its strengths and its flaws. His analysis is both insightful and honest without disrespect to the many great minds that believe in a godless universe. McGrath, as a Reformation scholar, even suggests, by drawing together a number of scholarly studies on the origins and development of Protestantism, that there is a significant link between the Reformation and the emergence of atheism.He remind [...]

  • As a person of faith, I acknowledge my bias but I nevertheless found this to be overall quite fair-minded and even generous in several places concerning its portrayal of atheism. It was a relief to read an intellectual engagement that truly appeared to understand the 'other side' rather than a more typical evangelical 'pop culture' approach that simply says 'Atheist bad, Christian good, everyone else mistaken'. McGrath seemed to be saying 'Come on, atheists, you can do better than this. You've g [...]

  • Allister McGrath is a well respected Oxford Theologian and as such his material deserves to be taken seriously. Twilight of Atheism is a book that chronicles the history of atheism with the ultimate goal of proving its demise. McGrath compares atheism to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in June 1897, in that it was the pinnacle for the British Empire, and the only direction thereafter was down. Twilight is not a rant against atheism, neither is it particularly apologetic in its tone. When readin [...]

  • This is an informative book about the earlier times os nonbelief and atheism. Unfortunately, McGrath seems to have misjudged the meaning of atheism in current western societies, claiming it experienced its highlights during the sixties and has been on its way back since then. This is were his personal beliefs seem to get in the way of a balanced analysis of modern atheism.

  • Sinänsä paljon hyvää faktaa mutta kaikki kirjailijan käyttämät viittaukset jäävät puoliksi kuin sumun peittoon + huono suomennos? koska onhan 'His Dark Materials' käännetty suomeksikin (en tajunnut miten viimeisen osan otsikko on taivaallinen tasavalta?) Sinänsä mielenkiintoista historiaa mutta mielenkiintoista miten kirjailija kirjoittaa ateismista samalla myöntäen olevansa teisti.

  • McGrath traces the rise of atheism as a major cultural force in the West in the first half of this book. Atheism rose to prominence in part through the French Revolution and its significant critique of the failings of the French Church, the intellectual ideas of Feuerbach, Marx and Freud who all critique belief in God as a flaw in humanity, and the rise of natural science (specifically evolution). Also contributing was the failure of religious imagination; atheism was simply more interesting and [...]

  • Religion is composed of our core beliefs. Just like every house must begin with a foundation, these core beliefs, hence religion, are not optional—everyone has them. Atheism, which means no gods[1], is a particularly curious religion because it is defined by what it is not. In this sense, it is parasitic drawing its strength from its host [2]. Because the line of argumentation in atheism is much longer than for traditional religions, atheism requires more intellectual energy to maintain. Never [...]

  • Read this with my reading partner - his choice - but I am glad to have read it. Feel more informed about the history of atheism - how it evolved, grew and why now in decline. IF you do not have a dynamic personal relationship with God, then of course your religion does not do much for you! Glad to have an intimate relationship with God through Christ, knowing in my depth that i am loved.

  • Alister McGrath’s The Twilight of Atheism can be broken up into two distinct parts. The first and lengthier of the two could aptly be entitled ‘The History of Western Atheism’, while the second, something along the lines of ‘Speculations about the Future of Atheism’. Divided along these lines, the first section of the book stands out as a terrific run-through of atheism’s recent intellectual and political history, while the second section leaves much to be desired.Alister McGrath, Pr [...]

  • Pretty uneven --I enjoyed reading it, and learned a lot, but I don't think McGrath is successful it tracing a coherent history of atheism in the first place, and he seems to give 20th century atheist and secular movements and culture very little consideration -- focusing on Madelyn Murray and the American Atheists to the near-exclusion of either other organized atheist and secular movements or the large body of Americans and Europeans who identify as non-believers but are not involved in atheist [...]

  • I was led to this book due to the sensible and sensitive thinking of the author in the Dawkin's Delusion. I was a bit disappointed to find the persistence of that romantic argument against the enlightenment and its thinkers that they paved the way to totalitarianism and that their worldview was bankrupt, ready to be replaced. Unfortunately, by the quirks of postmodernism.

  • nwhytevejournal/1430527mlYet another book on religion where I basically agree with the author but found the book itself really unsatisfactory. Basically, McGrath seemed to me to be asking the wrong question. His argument identifies 'atheism' as a collective identity more than is really warranted by his own evidence; towards the end he seems to almost criticize atheists for not being as well organised as the Church, which sort of misses the point. More widely, he never makes it clear whose atheis [...]

  • I have read several essays and have heard lectures by McGrath over the past couple of years. His credentials are formidable and his philosophical reasoning is articulate and sound. He is an Anglican scholar and professor of Historical Theology at Oxford Universityers.ox/~mcgrath/McGrath is aware of historical/cultural milieu. He writes of the salient junctures in Western intellectual history that brought modern atheism into a credible worldview. His orientation is from a British standpoint, but [...]

  • With numerous books which explore religion from a sociological standpoint, trying to explain believer's faith through economic, social, or other causes, it is good to see atheism receiving a similar treatment. Alister McGrath, a former atheist turned Christian theologian, explores the history of atheism, building a case for its rising popularity and success in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as its subsequent(?) decline. He credits three individuals: Feurerbach, Marx, and Freud f [...]

  • Not knowing what this book would be about, I was a bit hesitant to jump right in to reading it. But it was recommended by a trusted friend, who proved to be right on how much I’d be able to relate to the content of the book.Twilight of Atheism traces the timeline and geography of atheism that has encompassed different parts of the world. His style of writing makes what could be a boring subject into a riveting one. My mind soaked up his arguments and explanations like a sponge. The history con [...]

  • The title in Dutch from the book of Alister McGrath can bring the reader on the wrong idea that atheism has taken his final downfall. The English title is much better: The twilight of atheism: the rise and fall of disbelief in the modern world . It is not giving this idea.Alister McGrath gives in this book a very interesting and good overview from were atheism came from and why its is not so more from our time. The culture background is very good seen by him and he shows were atheism is wrong in [...]

  • Judging from recent best-seller lists, this book (published in 2004) might seem to have been premature in its farewell to atheism.Or not."The Twilight of Atheism" is more about history than arguments, and the history is fascinating. McGrath sees the golden age of atheism as beginning with the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and ending with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.McGrath's bottom line, as I understand it, is that atheism isn't doing very well these days because it's not compatible with [...]

  • Good piece of intellectual history that surveys the rise and fall of atheism in the modern world. McGrath reviews the spread of atheism in the West from the storming of the Bastille in 1789 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Lots of interesting biographical insights into various figures as well as numerous useful quotations. I thought his best angle was how atheism sold itself as the key to liberation during the French Revolution of the late 18th century and the Russian Revolution of the ea [...]

  • Alister McGrath is a well researched academic of Theology and Science. He also brings an interesting, and I think, balanced perspective to the topic of atheism, as a former atheist himself. The first half of "The Twilight of Atheism" is an outstanding illustration of the historical rise of atheism, easily worthy of five stars. The second half is a bit more dry in presentation and not as fluid. The twenty six pages of notes and citations at the end display how much thought went into this work. Th [...]

  • An interesting book.I was expecting something more theological.This book started with a history of atheism. It then moved on to look at what lead to it's rise and fall. It included some personal observations, though not to the extent that it undermined any credibility of the book itself. There was some analysis of the things that drive it and the things that undermine it.It certainly pulls on the authors personal opinions and experiences to a certain extent, but it would be difficult to write on [...]

  • Oxford professor Alister McGrath's book is more a history of Atheism than anything. Himself a former atheist, McGrath writes of atheism as a historian, examining its rise and (apparent) decline as a result of various cultural forces. Although he is himself a Christian, McGrath writes of atheism with something close to fondness, and it is obvious that he values and appreciates where atheists are coming from and what they are trying to do. I found this book to be enough of a challenge to keep it i [...]

  • I've seen mixed reviews of this book. I thought it was spectacular. You may disagree with McGrath's overall analysis that Atheism has been tried at wide-scale levels and found wanting. It is now in serious decline. Even if you disagree with where he ends up, I think it is hard to criticize his research and incredible knowledge of the subject. He is highly sympathetic (as a former leader in atheism) and is able to show the true foundations of the movement in men such as Ludwig Feuerbach. The book [...]

  • McGrath's understanding of the modern era's historical and sociological context that helped to create a culture where atheism could be embraced, then his outlining of its impending demise in a post-modern world was articulate and compelling. (I promise that McGrath is much more articulate than that sentence was!)

  • I learned much about the intellectual foundations of atheism. The book is neither a 'devastating critique' of atheism nor does it offer agreement with atheism (obviously).It's not exactly flawless Christian apologetics, as McGrath does not anticipate some obvious atheistic counter-arguments to his critiques.Good book though; I learned a lot, and McGrath's writing is highly readable.

  • Though published in 2004, this book reads as if it came out in 1990. A second edition would be helpful, since it feels as if it has missed the recent upsurge in people abandoning traditional faiths. Good history, interesting take on atheism as a faith, but almost too populist in some of its interpretations. McGrath is a good writer, but I felt I needed more penetrating commentary.

  • I consider McGrath's work to be fair and balanced account of Atheism's rise and decline in modernity. The book was published in 2004, so it doesn't take into account the recent work of Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens. A sad read, showing how the church often provided fertile soil in which atheism flourished.

  • Usually I won't count a book if I was forced to read it for school, but this book was so good I couldn't deny that I read it for pleasure instead of picking out quotes. The thesis is easy to follow, the history passionate and the language entertaining. My thesis was on atheism, secularization and religion and my paper was a much better one for having read this book.

  • It is interesting to follow McGrath on his historical journey through the advancement of atheistic thought. In the end he does an adequate job of concluding that atheism is on the decline and will probably cease to be the driving force in world thought. Great book.

  • For someone who enjoys history, theology, and the debate about the existence of God this is a pleasant read. While I am unsure if I agree with his conclusion, I believe that he gives a fair assessment of atheism as a whole and it's history.

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