In my opinion, anyone associated with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) is definitely worth reading. RZIM is known for its reasoned and cogent approach to apologetics. So, when I had the opportunity to get Andy Bannister’s The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist it was a no brainer. That I could get a free copy from Library Thing just for reviewing it sealed the deal. Let it be known at the outset that I received this book free from Library Thing in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. This disclaimer makes me compliant with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” The last thing I need is a black SUV with 4 FTC goons pulling up to my house and breaking down my door because I neglected to include a disclaimer. I would not do well in prison.
I was not disappointed with The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist. The subtitle tells it all: the dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments. Dr. Bannister sets his sights on the arguments (or rather, the polemical invectives) of the popularizers of what has been termed the New Atheists (Hitchens, Dawkins, et.al). While atheism is as old as Moses, the modern version is particularly militant and zealous. Bannister notes this in a citation from Stephen Prothero who notes that “the question of God is never far from their minds” (p. 45). Bannister’s approach, however, is not to answer the arguments one by one. He does not present alternative ways of looking at the fossil record, discussing macro-evolution or possible alternatives to the Big Bang. His primary thrust is to look at the arguments that are usually offered by the New Atheists and demonstrate how the arguments in themselves are wretched and nonsensical. Bad arguments do not need refuted; they need only be exposed.
Andy (note the gradual familiarity in this review) casts his premises in a winsome and readable fashion. He makes sense and he makes you smile. His humor does not mean that the subject matter is not serious – it is indeed. It does, nonetheless, help to show how laughable bad arguments are, especially when clothed in the robes of academia.
Get this book and read it. Underline and highlight or whatever you do, but you will love this book. It will make you think and it will generate confidence as you live in a world that has, by and large, fallen hook, line, and sinker for the New Atheist agenda.