The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World
This bold and provocative book on what went wrong with the Atheists’ dream is now available in paperback.
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/spiritual devotion throughout the world. In this highly readable book, 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 Christianity 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, Marx 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 failures.
“Gripping...impressive intellectual range”
The New York Times
The Glasgow Herald
“Alister McGrath invariably combines enormous scholarship with an accessible and engaging style.”
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
“This is indeed a thought-provoking book”
BBC History Magazine
“A sympathetic and interesting guide to the intellectual and social landscape of the past 200 years or so.”
“Readable and memorable, this is intellectual history at its best”
“Provocative and timely”
John Gray, The Independent