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The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,470 ratings  ·  191 reviews
The McGraths present a reliable assessment of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, famed atheist and scientist, and the many questions this book raises--including, above all, the relevance of faith and the quest for meaning.
Hardcover, 118 pages
Published July 6th 2007 by IVP Books (first published January 2007)
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Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
When I picked up this book, I thought to myself that the authors were going to have a hard time disputing 400 pages of atheist vitriol with less than 100 pages. I was wrong. The McGraths (husband and wife), both fellow Oxfordians with Dawkins, cleanly and effectively eviscerate many of Dawkins' most egregrious arguments in The God Delusion. I did my best to approach this book with an open mind (as I did with Dawkins' book) and to weigh the arguments on their own merit. This task was much easier ...more
Jun 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Jason by: Brian Clarke
Shelves: theology, non-fiction
The best thing that can be said for "The Dawkins Delusion?" is that at under 100 pages, it didn't waste too much of my time. To save you from wasting any of yours, let me summarize (and paraphrase): "Dawkins makes hateful baseless claims and ignores evidence that cuts against his position." If you're hoping for this book to say more, you'll be sorely disappointed (though perhaps appreciative of the irony).

I think perhaps I just need a break from this genre, for it has gotten to feel like a horri
Alex J. O'Connor
I'm not a 'Dawkinsian' in any sense of the word; I feel the author of this book's target is flawed in many ways in his approach to religion. However, this book is frankly appalling. It is littered with misrepresentations and misunderstandings, and also is at times exactly wrong.

For just one example, on page 58 McGrath claims that Leviticus 25 prohibits slavery. A minute's skim reading of this chapter reveals instead that it explicitly *endorses* slavery:

"Your male and female slaves are to come f
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this concurrently with The God Delusion, and must say I really appreciated McGrath's tone of patience and reasonableness, even when it was clear he strongly disagreed with Dawkins' arguements. As someone who is examining his beliefs and is fairly open to good arguments, no matter what they are, I found this slim volume helpful as a reminder, while reading Dawkins, that the passion and certainty of the author should not be substitutes for logic and evidence. For what it is intended to be, ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
A friend of mine told me a story about the first book club he went to in our little desert town. The book to be discussed was The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. It was a big meeting but only a few were there to discuss the book. The bulk of the attendees were from churches in the area and their sole purpose for attending was to shut down the discussion, an objective which they achieved. The meeting soon degenerated into chaos.

This is typical of my many years of studying various religions and philoso
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone that read The God Delusion.
Recommended to jeff by: Tony Abruscetto
I read The Dawkins Delusion not long after reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and I have to say, he "eviscerates" (Dawkins' cheesy word) Dawkins' arguments.

I had problems with The God Delusion as I noted in my review of the book and I don't hide the fact that I am a Christian. Maybe because of this I was more critical while reading Dawkins than I was with McGrath. I certainly did not make a conscious decision to do so.

McGrath completely tears down virtually all of Dawkins' arguments. I
Feb 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-in-2008
The McGraths engage in a much more civil debate than Dawkins; I'll give them that. And that IS important. However, they deliberately miss many of the points that Dawkins makes in his book. Their arguments turn into more of a defense of their particular religion (Christianity) than a rebuttal to Dawkins assertions that support a theory that there is no god. Given the brevity of the book, which amounts to little more than a rap on the knuckles for being disrespectful, the McGraths would probably h ...more
Steve Cann
Feb 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Oh dear me. I approached this book with an open mind, having recently read the excellent God Delusion, to see if the authors could provide me with a solid argument in defence of religion - and perhaps even give me a hint of proof of the existence of the supernatural deity they cling to.
No chance! This book appears to be the literary equivalent of the proverbial child who has thrown his or her toys out of the pram.

It begins (mistakenly) with repeatedly classing atheist belief as 'dogmatic' (fooli
Drew Smith
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! While reading it, be sure to remember that it is merely a response essay rather than a book presenting an argument. McGrath does a fantastic job explaining his purpose in the introduction, so be sure to read that and not just jump in chapter 1. There are only 4 chapters for a total of 100 pages, but it is very rich in context and does a brilliant job pointing out the flaws in Dawkins's argument in "The God Delusion". Even though McGrath disagrees with Dawkins, even showing where he t ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A succinct and fair-minded critique of Richard Dawkins' misrepresentation of religion, religious people and belief in God. ...more
Apr 30, 2009 rated it liked it
McGrath is a real smart guy and his criticisms made me think more deeply about what I read in The God Delusion.
Feb 28, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians who want to argue with atheists
Shelves: science, unfinishable
Hmm.. I only got about 1/3 of the way through this very short book which was a present to me by someone who disagrees with Dawkins' 'God Delusion'...even though they haven't read that book.

Essentially, Dawkins who writes in a fundamental atheist manner in his book 'The God Delusion' and is responded to here in this book by McGrath, a fundamental Christian. There was great potential to hear reasoned debate and response to the Dawkins.

Sadly i could not not appreciate his arguments because he was
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Reading this alongside the God Delusion is perhaps one of the most interesting and engaging discursive experiences I have had with two books. Regardless of your preconceptions, you should read both of these books, if only to inform yourself of the debate and to show you that neither side can conclusively "win" in these ostensibly rational/logical back-and-forths. What you will learn is that the perspective of both writers/camps is largely informed by their presuppositions (which is not a bad thi ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: disliked
The Dawkins Delusion? promises counter-arguments to those presented by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, but unfortunately fails. Instead of a comeback volume designed to dispute Dawkins' massively popular book, we get just-over-a-100 pages of rants that strangely read like a negative review of the God Delusion.

I picked up this book for two reasons: 1) I liked the idea that someone wanted to add something to the debate, and 2) the authors seemed credible to do that, with Alister McGrath havin
Jan 11, 2008 rated it liked it
[The] McGrath(es) do(es) a nice job at showing how The Dawkins constantly overreaches in his criticisms of God (Christianity, religion, &c.). How Dawkins continually substitutes rhetoric, vitriol, and ignorance in lieu of sustained and cogent argumentation. How Dawkins is selective in his appeal to history to indict the faithful (e.g., Pape's analysis of the motives of suicide bombers, the claims of some who died under the French revolution, the phenomena attending the problems in Northern Irela ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Clear, pointed, and effective. As usual, McGrath cuts right to the heart of the matter, elucidating and unraveling Dawkin's flawed ideas. My only complaint is that it's not a longer work, though I know there are more thorough rebuttals in McGrath's other works, like Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life.

Here are some good quotes from McGrath describing Dawkin's writing:

"The book is often little more than an aggregation of convenient factoids suitably overstated to achieve maximum i
Sep 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
I picked this book up with the Dawkin's God Delusion because it was right next to it. I'm sorry to say as short as it is I couldn't get through two chapters. Every other paragrah seemed to reference an earlier book or argument either by McGrath or Dawkins. When he wasn't self-promoting he was nitpicking on Dawkin's choice of examples or quotes. I won't say that its not informative as to different interpretations of the situations Dawkin raises in his book but it does little else. I found it a bi ...more
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
On the whole, I enjoyed the book.

As for its strengths, I think that the authors provide reasonable critique of The God Delusion. Yes, the writers are Christians, but their only reliance upon Christian doctrine for rebuttal is found in chapter four. This provides a broader basis for their critique, highlighting both theists and atheists who disagree with Dawkins on evidential and philosophical grounds. Two things stood out as particularly insightful and devastating. What I find most devastating i
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has read Dawkins or is interested in the relationship of religion and science
So, for some reason this book is coming up pretty high on my Goodreads list, even though it's been a while since I've read it. My review seems a bit like trash talk to me now, esp. seeing as I still haven't actually read Dawkins' book. To be honest, I saw an uncut debate between these two on youtube a while back, and have to admit Dawkins came out on top. Well, it's been a while-- and I just don't trust debates anyway, I think written, relatively sympathetic communication is the best way to work ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off I'll admit to not having read The God Delusion itself. So until then, my 4/5 rating is provisional; 3.5/5 would probably be more accurate, and giving 4/5 instead of 3/5 shifts the average rating in that direction.

The absolutely fundamental point for anybody thinking of reading this book to consider is that it is NOT a plug for Christianity. The book is very short (my edition is 78 pages - 12 of those pages are notes, references and further reading) and focuses on refuting the points Da
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Alister McGrath acted like a Christian fundamentalist when he responded to the book of Richard Dawkins with an attack on his personality in the form of a book "The Dawkins Delusion". Richard Dawkins has every right to look at me as a believer in God and say that the idea of God is a delusion, since it is all in the mind and in the heart, etc. But does that give me the right to attack his person and publish a book about it attacking his mental powers by calling my book "The Dawkins Delusion"? Ali ...more
Jun 19, 2009 rated it liked it
McGrath does a nice job of exposing Dawkins' The God Delusion for the unscholarly jumble of half-arguments that it is. McGrath's clarity of thought and calm, even tone provide a soothing contrast after one has endured Dawkins' venomous ramblings. But other than that, McGrath's response seems superfluous to anyone familiar with the history of serious debate between Christians and atheists. I suppose his effortless refutation of Dawkins' accusations would be helpful to someone who has only been in ...more
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone that has read the The God Delusion
A VERY fair and forthright dealing with a few of the quotes from Dawkins' book, The God Delusion.

Otherwise, he is obviuosly ignorant of the science involved.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Whether you loved The God Delusion or hated it (few people felt anything in between), you really ought to read this book. (If you didn't read The God Delusion, then there's not much point in reading this one either.) In 97 pages, the McGraths lay out clearly and concisely the many points in
Dawkins's book that are exaggerated, misguided, or just plain false. Though we keep the book in Theology, it does not in fact propose any religious stance or system, but rather defends the legitimacy (rather t
Jun 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended by Chad, and largely appreciated -- not just for the facts, but also for the dispassionate and reasoned tone in which the McGraths go about this task. Not a line-by-line or premise-by-premise refutation of Dawkins' God Delusion, but it does not set out to be. Rather, it addresses a number of issues raised in Dawkins' work and attempts to approach those who hold them "with complete intellectual respect rather than dismissing them as liars, knaves and charlatans" -- an approach he repe ...more
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: actual-factual
This book is accurate, incisive, persuasive, well-researched and, above all, fair. Because it has all those qualities - particularly that last one - it brilliantly shows how and where Dawkins' book "The God Delusion", and some of his other work, lacks them.

A compelling read, "The Dawkins Delusion" does not set out to slate Dawkins' work but instead to respond fairly and intelligently to the arguments he raises. In parts it is equally critical of some of the poor arguments put forward by Christia
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, belief
This book is concise and well-reasoned, and serves its purpose as a contrast and alternative to The God Delusion by means of those very characteristics.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting and worthwhile read.

A unique set of circumstances came together for me to read this book. Let me start out by saying that I was raised a Christian, and still consider myself to be spiritual if not entirely religious. I am certainly a theist.

An intelligent public figure whose work I like, respect and have enjoyed for decades recently passed away. While his death was a shock and sad as it would be under any circumstances, his atheism made it even sadder for me.

It prompted me to thin
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish this book were a little longer and meatier, but I suppose the nature of Dawkins book didn't really leave room for that kind of engagement. As McGrath said, Dawkins' book "is often little more than an aggregation of convenient factoids suitably overstated to achieve maximum impact and loosely arranged to suggest that they constitute an argument" (13). Therefore, trying to rebut every inaccuracy would be tedious and dull. So instead, McGrath chose key points to challenge him on. ...more
Ross Ripamonti
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
McGrath is everything that Dawkins is not: level-headed, balanced and winsome. He demonstrates how (ironically) unscientific, dogmatic and angry Dawkins has become in many respects - unfortunately a trend which has continued since his publication of 'The God Delusion' in 2006. ...more
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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 L ...more

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