A Sceptic’s Guide To Atheism

A Sceptics Guide to Atheism Peter S. Williams

A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism is an accessible response to the contemporary anti-God arguments of the ‘new atheists’ (Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, Grayling, etc). Atheism has become militant in the past few years, with its own popular mass media evangelists such as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. In this readable book, Christian philosopher Peter S. Williams considers the arguments of the ‘new atheists’ and finds them wanting. Williams explains the history of atheism and responds to the claims that: ‘belief in God causes more harm than good’; ‘religion is about blind faith and science is the only way to know things’; ‘science can explain religion away’; ‘there is not enough evidence for God’; ‘the arguments for God’s existence do not work’. Williams argues that belief in God is more intellectually plausible than atheism.














Praise for A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism

A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism: God is Not Dead by Peter S. Williams stands apart among the recent books responding to the so-called new atheism… Williams delves deep into the works and claims of contemporary atheist proponents, excavates their core ideas, evaluates their reasoning, and delivers an extremely thorough, easy-to-read, and philosophically satisfying response… Williams’ writing flows smoothly and his arguments are clear and poignant… A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism by Peter S. Williams is at the top of the list of this reviewer’s recommendations on books dealing with the new atheism. It may be difficult to find another book on the new atheism that matches this one in scope, depth, analysis, clarity, and completeness. In short, this is the only one you need.” – Brian Auten, Apologetics315 (See full review here)

“a lively and provocative read. Williams offers a robust response to the anti-religious claims of ‘The New Atheists’.” – Book Worm @ http://thatsbooks.blogspot.com/

“Peter S. Williams’ new book A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism… takes the arguments of  ‘The New Atheists’ to pieces.” – Dr Robin Parry

“Williams’s reply to the emergence of militant public atheism is as timely as it is devastating.” – Dr. Angus J. Menuge, Professor of Philosophy, Concordia University

“this excellent book… presents a reasoned analysis of the subject, giving the reader a new perspective on the atheist’s aggressive confrontation of the Christian faith… Williams effectively answers Dawkins… This is an outstanding book.” – Ken Mickleson, Science & Christian Belief, Vol 24, No. 1 (2012), p. 91.

“The new atheism is like the Titanic leaving Southampton. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and her other captains proclaim her unsinkable. Surely she will obliterate all obstacles in her path – especially religious faith. In this insightful book, Peter Williams shows that a carefully articulated, philosophically grounded faith is to the new atheism what hitting an iceberg was to the Titanic. The lesson is clear and urgent: get off while you still can!” – Dr. William A. Dembski

“Williams’ painstaking analysis attempts to get inside the atheist mindset by investigating a potpourri of charges against Christianity, constructed from a wide range of atheological perspectives. He responds with excellent rejoinders and counterarguments, producing a highly instructive give-and-take. The overall effort is a coherent, well-reasoned defence of Christian Theism that challenges the best atheist attacks. As Williams concludes, he has seen nothing that comes close to undermining the Christian faith.” – Dr. Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor, Liberty University

“The strength of Williams’s book comes in his careful and considered analysis of [new atheist] views and his convincing demonstration of their intellectual inadequacy. His case is strengthened by the judicious use of equally critical comments by atheist and agnostic reviewers… for students and teachers in higher education, together with church leaders and others who may have colleagues at work who have been influenced by these polemical atheists, this book is highly commended.” – Rev. Dr. Brian Talbot, Evangelicals Now, July 2009

“deserves to be on the shelves of every minister who has not yet sought to grapple with the issues that the new atheists raise. The particular merit of this book is that it… deals thematically with the objections to Christian faith that all these [new atheist] writers raise… a devastating demolition.” – Philip Clements-Jewery, Ministry Today

“a philosophical repost to… the ‘popular mass media evangelists’ of atheism [that] weighs the arguments of the atheist apologists and, unsurprisingly but nonetheless encouragingly, finds them wanting… this is a brave – and scholarly – attempt to fight fire with fire… Williams provides a well researched and thought provoking appendix setting out ‘the evidence for Jesus’… the value of this book lies in providing useful insights into the classic arguments of both atheism and Christianity – for personal and public use.” – Bob Little, Baptist Minister’s Journal

“This is a welcome book. Firstly it pitches well to reclaim the word ‘sceptic’ to its original meaning… rather than as a synonym for atheist. We know that atheists are sceptical about the claims of religion, but the religious are just as sceptical about the claims of atheism. And Peter Williams sets out to show how and why the religious are sceptical of the claims of atheism. He does this by many arguments, across the field of the God debate. He knows the atheists’ arguments well and quotes their key points and references before going on to interact with them and show up their logical or evidential flaws. For those who see Dawkins’ The God Delusion as holy writ this will be unsettling. This book is very carefully written trying to be fair to those authors and ideas which it critiques. I can recommend it either to theists who want to disturb the certainties of their atheist friends, or to atheists who are beginning to reflect on their position… If you want a good overview of the strong arguments against atheism then this book is a good place to start.” – Nicholas P.G. Davies (M.D)

“A Sceptic’s Guide To Atheism… is a decisive confutation of the new atheism. Nuanced, balanced, erudite and charitable, Williams explores each of the best new atheistic arguments for atheism and against theism, and shows them seriously flawed (fallacious, resting on unjustified or even false assumptions, inconsistent, etc.). A major virtue of Williams’ book is that his arguments don’t assume the truth of Christian theism… Another interesting aspect of Williams’ book is his explanation of what “faith” actually means in Christian theism, and how the new atheists constantly misrespresent the concept, and how they themselves concede that some of their positions are based on faith… The works of serious Christian philosophers (like Edward Feser, Alvin Plantinga, etc.), including some of Williams’ articles and also his book, have convinced me that ‘faith’, properly understood in its Christian sense, is not an irrational or blind belief, but a belief based on the deliverances of reason… Hence, providing a much needed clarification and evidence for what “faith” actually means in Christian theism is another great contribution of Williams’ book… Williams’ book is, without a doubt, one of the best up-to-date critical resources about contemporary new atheism. I strongly recommend this book for all the seekers for the truth, regardless of their theological (or anti-theological) persuasions.” – http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2011/12/brief-review-of-sceptics-guide-to.html

“A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism… helps us to see that the question of God can be addressed with care and precision… a thorough account of the God debate in contemporary circles… A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism is a wonderful resource if one’s main aim is to study the history of the New Atheists… most of their arguments, and best quotes on the God debate are contained within… However, the book’s real attraction is [it’s] logical assessment of the atheist arguments… Evidence and reason is allowed to rule above rhetoric and emotive gut-reactions. Williams doesn’t hammer his point across – you don’t finish reading with the sense that you’ve been intellectually mugged. Instead you feel enriched by a plethora of new information… Williams… interacts with the New Atheist arguments, evaluating them logically, thus giving us a well-thought-out perspective… And whilst we have plenty of deep books on both sides… it is unusual to have them interacting with the alternative perspective in such a compelling way… Although it is written from a Christian perspective, Williams’ precise, logical style makes it fascinating reading for the rest of us. Thus it is an essential resource, helping the reader to get to grips with every angle of the God debate.” – Luke Pollard, Philosophy Now (July/August 2009)

“If you ever feel unsure of how to answer questions sceptics may have, want to educate yourself or your congregation to be informed about the sorts of debates concerning God prominent in the public square… then this book is for you. It is… a very helpful overview and introduction to the themes and ideas each chapter presents… Williams is impressive in the level of depth and sophistication his arguments go into and the breadth of understanding he demonstrates around the issues… Given that the questions the book examines are the kinds of questions that are relevant to many people and common questions asked, likely to come up in discussion and evangelism, this book can provide some very thorough grounding to be able to understand and respond to the arguments, and is the sort of book that would likely be useful to refer back to long after it has initially been read. I would thoroughly recommend it as a helpful tool to anyone wishing to educate themselves around these questions. God is back in the public debate – use this book to help you engage in those debates in an informed and well researched way.” – Susannah Clark (Evangelical Alliance’s ‘Public Theology Researcher’)