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Paperback The Dawkins Letters Book

ISBN: 1845505972

ISBN13: 9781845505974

The Dawkins Letters

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Book Overview

When Richard Dawkins published The God Delusion , David Robertson wanted an intelligent Christian response - and so he wrote it. This honest book draws on Robertson's experience as a debater, letter writer, pastor and author to clarify the questions and the answers for thinkers and seekers, and to respond to Dawkins in a gentle spirit.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Dawkins Letters - Excellent!

This book is written in a conversational tone and an easy read - despite the weight of the topic / subtopics. I highly recommend it - especially for college students whose faith in God is challenged on a daily basis. David Robertson doesn't just spew out facts, he does so with respect and grace for Dawkins and atheists who very often respond to him unreasonably with much offensive language.

An Entertaining and Quick Read

This was a fun read. To be honest, it's been awhile since I read "The God Delusion," and didn't think much of it at the time of reading. As countless critics (atheistic and theistic) have pointed out, it doesn't offer much of an argument scientifically, philosophically or elsewise. It surely wouldn't cause anyone to "be an atheist by the end of the book," unless they were an atheist at the start. I was surprised at its high sales volume, but seeing as how it has become something of a 'bible' for atheists (with some wanting it placed alongside Gideon New Testaments in hotels), I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Thus, I didn't expect to read many responses to a book that I found intellectually vapid. Recently though, I listened to an interesting interview with David Robertson, and enjoyed his candor. I enjoyed his getting behind the rhetoric to the presuppositions underlying Dawkins' "arguments." I was tickled to hear that Dawkins' website, which claims to be a "clear thinking oasis" had banned Robertson on multiple occasions. They didn't ban him for profanity, spam or any other valid reason, but instead because he 'caused arguments' by challenging people to think outside of their paradigm. Since hearing this amusing story, I've read of others with similar stories. Obviously, clear thinking does not necessarily mean free thinking. In the end, I'm glad that I read this book because it was fun. Robertson succeeds at getting beneath the rhetoric and showing how Dawkins' "arguments" truly pose no threat to historic Christianity. I enjoy how Robertson gives respect to Dawkins' arguments, but critiques their foundations showing that they are often philosophically untenable and more often than not lead to absurdities. Accordingly, I heartily recommend this book for those who want to see the often amusing outcomes of Dawkins' statements when pressed to their natural end. No, it doesn't present philosophical, revelational or historical arguments for God's existence, because that isn't the book's intent. The more subtle goal is to show the absurdity (and often downright falsity) of Dawkins' "arguments." In this regard, the book excels.

Worth Reading

David Robertson is a Scottish Presbyterian who ministers in Dundee. Having read Dawkins 'God Delusion' he decided to respond with a series of letters addressing the major themes of the book. These include letters addressing: the notion that atheists are the truly enlightened, intelligent ones; the impossibility of true beauty without God; the myth of atheist tolerance and rationality; the myth of a cruel Old Testament God; the false dichotomy Dawkins creates between science and religion; the "who made God?" argument; the nonsense that all religion is inherently evil; the myth of morality within an atheistic worldview; the myth of an immoral bible, and; the charge of child abuse. Where to start? The first half of the book is definitely less persuasive than the latter. One might conjecture that Robertson's understandable irritation with Dawkins slides off into sarcasm and thus dents the force of his presentation. Seriously critiquing Dawkins view of "multiverses" could have been achieved without mockery. Even if, especially at this point, one does think that Dawkins might deserve a dose of his own medicine. Further, the brevity he must deal with each topic to fit his chosen format (short letters), inevitably leads to some shortcuts in his arguments. For example, Robertson doesn't really address some of the real moral problems from reading the Old Testament. This is an area he really should have spent considerably more time on, as it's something one hears more and more often. His letter on this, frankly, comes across as assertion rather than explanation for how Christians view this problematic material. It lacks substance and wanders off into preaching/proclamation rather than tackling the difficulties. This was the most disappointing chapter in the book. Nonetheless, things pick up considerably in the second half of the book. The tone changes, becoming less polemical, and far more compellingly argued. Indeed, the strongest letters cover the basis for morality without God and whether religion is really the source of all evil. Here Robertson takes Dawkins to task for his continual oversimplification, ad hominem polemics, failure to express what Christians actually believe rather than his straw-man caricatures, and his genuine failure to engage informed and erudite Christian tradition. To say one does not need to know about spaghetti monsters is surely effective and clever rhetoric, but is simply a strategy of evasion, an utter cop out to avoid being challenged by the best of Christian thought. The latter half of the book also pushes Dawkins to consider the outcome of his polemics and where it might lead, especially in view of the irresponsible charge of child abuse. Overall, Robertson's book is well worth reading, if only for the latter half of the book, which is passionately expressed, critically on target, and better representative of the concerns about the underlying philosophy Dawkins holds. Moral relativity and the drive of the selfish gen

A Competent Response

David Robertson, a Free Church of Scotland pastor who lives in Dundee, wanted there to be an intelligent Christian response to Richard Dawkins' bestselling The God Delusion. To that end he wrote an open letter to Richard Dawkins and subsequently posted it on his church's web site. The letter somehow found its way to Dawkins who posted it on his own website where it generated a response that was massive in scope and in passion. According to the back of The Dawkins Letters, "The ferocity, and shallowness of thinking, of some of the responses spurred David to write further letters, which form the basis of this book. They explain a credible basis for faith that counteracts the `atheist myths' that so much popular discussion is based upon." The Dawkins Letters, then, is a series of letters from Robertson to Dawkins--a series of ten letters that call Dawkins to account for the errors and inaccuracies within his book. It also responds to his arguments--both his novel new ones and the tired rehashed ones common to a whole generation of atheists. Generally speaking, Robertson does a superior job of doing this. He says in his Introduction that he will no doubt be criticized by some for being too harsh and by others for being too gentle; some will say that this is an in appropriate forum for attempts at humor and others will simply miss the humor altogether. But, says Robertson, "It will be helpful to remember that these are personal letters, not an academic discourse, not an exercise in English grammar." In order to make this a personal rebuttal and in order to reach a wide audience, he has decided not to make this an academic treatise, though I'm sure he would have been capable of doing so. The book does a particularly good job of point out the unending contradictions between what Dawkins wants to believe and what he must actually believe on the basis of his atheistic beliefs. After all, most atheists stop far short of following their beliefs to fair conclusions. Robertson calls them on this time and time again. I had very few notable concerns with the book. Robertson perhaps cedes a little too much to theistic evolution, intelligent design, or old earth creationism. He does not state his position on the age of the earth and the way life came about, but neither does he deny the validity of any of the possibilities. I was a little disappointed in this. But beyond that I found little that I objected to. I thought he did as good a job of anyone of interacting with atheistic arguments and of challenging atheists to understand the contradictions inherent in their worldview. Anyone who has read The God Delusion would do well to follow it with this intelligent, measured, respectful response.

A thorough critique of 'The God Delusion'

Being a former atheist, and finding Dawkins' arguments so flimsy, I was thinking of writing my own critique of Dawkins' book. But now, having read this, I find it is not necessary after all! Thank you, David! This book consists of the author's own letters which were posted on the Dawkins website. The author replies to Dawkins' 'God Delusion' chapter-by-chapter and has a knack of getting to the nub of the issue each time. Easily the best critique of Dawkins' ideas in book form currently available. Borders bookstores have reported that 'The Dawkins Letters' is now outselling Richard Dawkins' 'The God Delusion' throughout their stores in the UK. This book deserves it!
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