Item description for Intellectuals Don't Need God and Other Modern Myths: Building Bridges to Faith Through Apologetics by Alister E. McGrath...
Overview McGrath sees two kinds of obstacles to faith: intellectual barriers and existential, or experiemental ones--the traumas, anxieties, and hopes of life. In this book, he seeks to balance these obstacles with a people-based approach, as he states "Christianity must commend itself in terms of its relevance to life, not just in its inherent rationality".
Publishers Description Intellectuals Don't Need God is for people who are not convinced by the arguments of classical, rationalistic apologetics, for people who feel that Christianity must have a broader appeal that to reason alone if it is to be persuasive to non-Christians. Alister McGrath shows convincingly that reason is only one of many possible points of contact between the non-Christian and the gospel. In today's world, nonrational concerns -- such as a sense that life lacks focus, an unconscious fear of death, a deep sense of longing for something unknown we don't have but know we need -- are much more effective points of contact for apologetics. In this book, Dr. McGrath (who is both a theologian and a scientist with a Ph.D. in microbiology) combines the clarity of a brilliant scientific mind with a deep commitment to Christ and to reaching non-Christians. Intellectuals Don't Need God is for anyone who has questions about the validity of Christianity as well as for students, pastors, and lay leaders. Anyone who works with students and young people especially needs to read this book. As McGrath says, 'apologetics is not about winning arguments -- it is about bringing people to Christ.'
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Aug 17, 1993
Publisher Zondervan Publishing
ISBN 0310590914 ISBN13 9780310590910 UPC 025986590918
Availability 0 units.
More About Alister E. McGrath
ALISTER McGRATH is a fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford, and a senior member of the Oxford University Faculty of Theology and Religion. He is a consulting editor at Christianity Today and the author of numerous books, including the bestselling In the Beginning and The Journey. He lives in Oxford, England.
Alister E. McGrath currently resides in Oxford. Alister E. McGrath was born in 1953 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Oxford, King's College, London, UK King's College London.
Alister E. McGrath has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Intellectuals Don't Need God And Other Modern Myth?
Great principles on how to create effective communication opportunities Feb 19, 2010
In Alister McGrath's book, Intellectuals Don't Need a God and Other Modern Myths, he expands on the traditional methods of apologetics by exploring the unique obstacles the apologist faces in today's multi-cultural society and emphasizes the need for personal and comprehensive communication that focuses on the needs of the individual and not merely the arguments raised. McGrath demonstrates that to be effective, apologetics must not only be theologically sound, but it must also know its audience, speak their language in a way that is both respectful and challenging and make the gospel relevant to the needs of the audience with which it speaks. By adapting his language accordingly, the apologist is encouraged to find "points of contact" or areas of common ground, that can be used to express biblical truths that will effectively expose the audience's real barriers to faith while simultaneously presenting rational reasons for biblical faith that ultimately create a positive atmosphere for a saving faith commitment.
This book is also effective because it takes into account the limits of human reasoning and the universal effects of sin on the rational mind, and reminds the reader that barriers to communication inevitably translate as barriers to the gospel. And yet, McGrath stresses that this does not necessarily imply that effective communication alone will lead to saving faith. McGrath reminds us that Christianity, although reasonable, is not book-centered but instead, Christ-centered. Because of this, apologetics is grounded in the ability of God to use human words to make Himself known.
McGrath provides several ways to establish "points of contact"that can be expanded upon during the communication, ultimately revealing the audience's need for Christ. Because God created man with an intuitive knowledge of Himself and an innate need for fellowship with Him, all humans share a universal need for God. This need, if unfulfilled, translates as an over all feeling of discontentment and dissatisfaction. McGrath refers to this inner emptiness and overall discontentment as angst. Angst is the collective name given to all of the fears--fear of death, fear of insignificance and an overall sense of anxiety--that arise from human's separation from God. Because this need is inherent to every individual, regardless of their worldview, McGrath proposes that the feelings arising from this unfulfilled need are the most important points of contact that can be made. (30, 31) An effective apologist makes his listener aware of this deep need and brings it to the forefront of the conversation in order to demonstrate both the ineffectiveness of their current philosophy in filling this need, but also how the triune God of the Christian worldview fills it.
This book is effective because it combines the human and the divine aspect to apologetics while reminding the apologist that, although rational arguments are beneficial and helpful, they are insufficient to create the type of saving faith that leads to salvation. This understanding enables the apologist to present arguments in a clear, and yet balanced way. In addition, by placing the emphasis on the audience instead of the arguments, the principles discussed in this book can easily be adapted to any audience. By discussing thoroughly the problems with many of the modern arguments against Christianity and comparing them to both the cohesive truths of Scripture along with the inner needs experienced by man, McGrath presents an apologetics that is both easily applied and effectively able to move past superficial arguments to one of personal relevance. The idea of helping the listener become alert to their own feelings of need and dissatisfaction creates both a curiosity and a longing within the listener that will enable them to honestly evaluate the presuppositions they have come to rely on. In today's scientific culture, critics are opposed to the idea of faith, but McGrath demonstrates that in reality, every worldview rests upon faith. The question is not, which position requires more faith, but instead, which faith is the most reasonable. McGrath also reminds us that often it is not the doctrine of Christianity that our listener is opposed to but instead, their misconceptions of Christianity.
Overall, I really enjoyed the content of this book and have found the principles expressed not only easy to use but also very effective. By understanding both the possibilities, and limitations, of human language, I am able to present biblical truths in a calm, peaceful manner, knowing that if I do my part, God will do His. I have read other apologetics books in the past, but most of them have been more argument-based than individual-based and therefore lack the gentleness and effectiveness of the method that McGrath presents. And by taking the time to know your audience, I have found that you are able to bypass the superficial objections to faith and are better able to see the true inner struggles present in your audience. It was also helpful to remember that many of the objections to Christianity are not with the doctrine itself but instead with common misconceptions regarding the doctrine. By becoming alert to this, I am able to ask more pointed questions that can reveal some of these misconceptions which provides an opportunity for clarification. And again, by taking the time to get to know my audience, and by attempting to create an atmosphere conducive to effective communication, there is a greater opportunity of discovering precisely where the faulty thinking lies.
Reviewed by Jennifer Slattery, author of Shatterproof: Developing A Faith That Stands
An excellent resource May 11, 2007
I have always told my students that aside from the Bible, every Christian should read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. In fact, I have made it mandatory. Now, I have added to my required list...this fine work by Dr. McGrath. Like Mere Christianity, this work challenges you and educates you in many of the false ideas in world religion, philosophy, etc. It gives you meat instead of the watered down theology we so frequently see being mass produced today in "Christian education". This book was written by a thinking Christian for thinking Christians; however, it can be easily read and appreciated by non-believers as well. I highly recommend this book because it is so good.
a thoughtful book Jun 16, 2003
Though faintly dry and reading like a guidebook, McGrath's knowledge of the history of apologetics, coupled with his unique approach, make this short book a good addition to any Christian library.
Possessing both a Ph.D in microbology and theology, Alister McGrath is exactly the sort of person the postmodern apologetic movement needs: someone with an appreciation of science from the inside. Many theologians who write concerning Christianity understand science very little, and their essays betray a hostility that science as a discipline doesn't deserve. In his book, McGrath is able to differentiate between science and scientific rationalism, the philosophy that poses the problems to a Christian worldview.
"Apologetics is not about winning arguments-- it is about winning people," McGrath mentions several times, calling into question the traditional approach (solely through reason) that has dominated apologetics for the past millenium. "Creative apologetics" is what he seeks: the melding of reason and the art of listening, responding, and understanding what brings people to faith. Thus, the first part of the book is about points of contact with the people one wishes to help; the third is about putting apologetics into action.
In-between is the meat of the book: sections on other philosophies and religions, and common reasons people are repulsed by Christianity. He seems to spend a great deal more time on Marxism than is necessary for today; however, given that this book was published in 1992, that is understandable. An updated version with an expanded section on paganism would be excellent.
There were three discussions that particularly caught my attention and made me think: firstly, McGrath (who happens to be a member of the Church of England, for those who want to know the denomination) notes that since God made man in his own image, man is capable of knowing God exists. I never thought of that, though it strikes me as an old idea. The obvious difference between the likes of the Lord of Heaven and mankind is incredible. But I can see how such a view as to remember we are in His image would both give us hope and boost our confidence that the world is knowable and reasonable, as God is. Perhaps such a view helped perpetuate scientific inquiry in the minds of certain famous monks we all know.
Secondly, the idea of the fallen world affecting the Church came into discussion. McGrath mentioned his belief that it is only through God's grace that His message comes through the tainted institution of the Church. It is hard to take that kind of idea for those of us who grew up with the Church being venerated! But if one considers history, the Church has definitely shown itself to be a fallen institution. Everything on this earth is tainted with the shadow-- God's grace does indeed abide and assist. Such an emphasis on goodness and light has been in vogue recently, that one forgets the vile world we live in.
The third idea that caught on my mind was that of sin: sin in Christians, what sin really is, and the differentiation of acts of sin from a sinful nature. We seldom hear fire and brimstone sermons any longer-- it was never very good for winning converts. But I think we're missing something from the de-emphasis on sin. People forget what it is, and that it is real, and because of it, we NEED the forgiveness of God! We are all born in a sinful, fallen state. Sin itself is not a moral thing, as McGrath says: "How can we talk of infants being immoral?" Sin is the state of man in the fallen world: the gap that seperates us from God. Acts of sin are what people think of when they hear the word, 'sin'. These are products of our fallen state, but a person could live a holy life and still be seperated from God by his sinful nature alone, which is with us all from our birth.
That definition of sin really helped clarify to me how the spiritual world works. It also helps answer that perennial question: Why do Christians still sin? Christianity isn't a perfection movement. The Church is, to borrow McGrath's excellent metaphor, a hospital, where those with an illness come to be cured by the Great Physician. We may be taking medicine, and sticking with the diet perscribed by the Doctor, but we are not well yet.
All in all, the best compliment I can give is that this book made me think. Regardless of writing style or other content, that alone should recommend the small volume to you.
Good overall book on apologetics Nov 6, 2002
This is a great book that covers many phases of apologetics. I can't agree with the previous reviewer who says that McGrath has confused apologetics with evangelism. McGrath *does* cover many different areas of apologetics. .. ...McGrath's point, with which I agree, is that if you want to win an argument with him (to say nothing of helping bringing him to Christ), you need to address his willful and emotional problems as well as his logical ones. And this book admirably integrates the two sides of the issue.
Good Introduction to Apologetics Jul 15, 2001
Alister McGrath is a moderately conservative theologian in the Church of England who has written numerous introductory and advances works. [p. 67.] In this book - based on lectures - McGrath provides a concise discussion of Christian apologetics. This book is neither a history of apologetics nor a comprehensive discussion of various apologetic approaches. Rather, he sets forth arguments in favor of Christianity and against secular ideologies. He doesn't follow any specific method of apologetics, but relies on the strength of different approaches. As he states, "But apologetics is not concerned with this single conclusion. It is concerned with the accumulation of pointers . . . which eventually build up to give a credible, persuasive, and attractive case for God." [p. 41.] So while evidentialism has a role in defeating the most common objections against Christianity - such as that Jesus never lived - it cannot provide all the necessary reasons for faith. [p. 54.] In fact, McGrath maintains (perhaps controversially) that Aquinas's famous "proofs" for the existence of God were never meant as proofs, but rather arguments to show the rationality of belief in God for people who already believe. [p. 35.]
McGrath also has a good discussion of such matters as Darwinism, Marxism, and religious pluralism. Also, his discussion of Calvin is quite interesting. Calvin didn't deny that there was a "point of contact" between Christians and non-Christians. [pp. 212-16.]