Guest / Limited Access /

Dinesh D'Souza is skeptical of skepticism and enthusiastic about the faith. by Tony Snow » There are two types of Christian apologetics. One makes the positive case for faith; the other responds to critics. Dinesh D'Souza's delightful book, What's So Great About Christianity, falls into the second category. It sets out to rebut recent exuberant atheist tracts, such as Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great and Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion.

This is a more difficult task than one might expect: Atheist works tend to combine argument with large doses of bitter biography. Every chapter of Dawkins's book, for instance, describes unpleasant encounters with believing dolts—hate-mail writers, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the like. Hitchens recalls murderous fanatics in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and the Levant, and his blood-chilling encounters with a childhood schoolmarm.

While the chief atheists write beautifully, their works share a telling defect. They seethe with disapproval of God. Dawkins captures this trend in describing the YHWH of the Old Testament as "arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." Such invective clings like chewing gum to atheist polemics and raises the question of why these people are so worked up about a creator they don't believe exists. In any event, D'Souza admirably separates the stickum from the arguments.

Consider Hitchens's complaint that "religion poisons everything." This wild swing places bin Laden, the pope, and Martin ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
What Makes a Church Missional?
Freedom from cultural captivity does not mean freedom from tradition.
RecommendedTrump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Trump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Pastors, authors, and others weigh in on 2016 election.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickFairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights
Fairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights
It worked in Utah. But national effort by the CCCU and NAE will be more complicated.
Christianity Today
New Atheists Are Not Great
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.