Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
CAJ 11:1 (Spring 2013) p. 111
Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target. John C. Lennox. Oxford, England: Lion Book, 2011. 248pp. $14.95 (paperback). ISBN 978–0–7459–5322–9.
John Lennox (PhD, DPhil, DSc) is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College. In his book, Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Target, Dr. Lennox proposes “not only to deal reactively with atheist objections to Christianity, but also positively to present detailed evidence for the truth of Christianity” (15). Lennox deals especially with the “Four Horsemen” of the New Atheist movement, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris, and seeks to bring a corrective to their agenda. He wants to bring balance to what he feels is “a disquietingly dangerous imbalance in the logic of the New Atheist’s approach, both in terms of the diagnosis they make and the solution they propose (22).” Lennox realizes that these men are not just atheists, but anti–theists who do not want anyone to believe in God. The problem is, however, that in “gunning for God,” the New Atheists do not realize that their ammunition is faulty. They are missing the target because their aim is off and their “bullets” are backfiring.
CAJ 11:1 (Spring 2013) p. 112
A good example of why the New Atheists are missing the target is found in the critique Lennox gives of Stephen Hawking’s claim that God is not necessary because “something” can indeed come from “nothing.” In his book The Grand Design, Hawking asserts, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. . . . Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”1 The logical fallacy that Hawking makes is that the physical laws of nature only describe what happens rather than explain why something occurs. The laws of physics can explain how something works, but not how it came to exist in the first place. The laws themselves cannot create anything. Lennox rightly contends that “the laws that we find cannot themselves even cause anything, let alone create it (33).” Lennox also points out that Hawking’s problem is that he confuses law with agency. The laws of physics could never bring about the universe on their own. Some outside agency would be necessary. Even the natural laws need a creator. Lennox presses this point when he concludes, “Hawking has signally failed to answer the central question: why...
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