“Gunning for God” Review, Part Six

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 discusses the New Atheists’ contention that the Christian doctrine of the Atonement is morally repellent. Here again Lennox points to a failure of scholarship by the New Atheists, because their attack on the doctrine begins from a superficial caricature of it and not from informed study (p. 145). Lennox then spends the rest of the chapter discussing what misunderstandings may have given rise to the caricature, and defending the doctrine.

Chapter 7

When they contend that miracles are impossible, Dawkins and Hitchens approvingly cite the argument put forward by David Hume in the 18th Century – see, e.g., (Dawkins, 2006, pp. 116-117) and (Hitchens, 2008, p. 148). Hume had said, “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience as can be imagined.” However, as Lennox shows and cites philosophers Alfred North Whitehead, Anthony Flew and John Earman in support, Hume’s argument is unsound.

Of course, not all sceptics cite Hume in their arguments against the reality of miracles, so Lennox also considers alternative arguments and shows they are equally fallacious. The case is too complex to summarise easily in this review, as is also the case against Hume’s argument, but it is easy enough to follow in the space given it inf “Gunning for God”.

Lennox concludes the chapter by quoting and affirming something said by C S Lewis, “If Naturalism is true we have no reason to trust our conviction that Nature is uniform. It can be trusted only if quite a different metaphysic is true.” He then adds to it his own words, “[I]f one admits the existence of a Creator in order to account for the uniformity of nature, the door is inevitably open for that same Creator to intervene in the course of nature” (Lennox, 2011, p. 182).

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