In the debate between Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig, Craig pressed Hitchens on this point but Hitchens was either unwilling or unable to set forth a positive case for atheism. In The Future of an Illusion , Sigmund Freud wrote that religious beliefs are "illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind. As we already know, the terrifying impression of helplessness in childhood aroused the need for protection—for protection through love—which was provided by the father; and the recognition that this helplessness lasts throughout life made it necessary to cling to the existence of a father, but this time a more powerful one.
Thus the benevolent rule of a divine Providence allays our fear of the dangers of life. Is this hypothesis unanswerable as Hitchens claims in this chapter's epigraph? We think not for the following reasons. First, it begs the question against God. Freud's argument is, essentially, since we know that God doesn't exist, what are psychological explanations of this belief? His argument assumes from the outset that no object of belief exists. This is the presumption of atheism that we discussed above. The New Atheists commonly approach the God question in the same way: We have evidence for God's existence e.
In fact, many world-class philosophers and scientists are Christians and are publishing at the highest levels. Yet, as one looks through the bibliographies of the New Atheists, it quickly becomes obvious that they are not interacting with the most sophisticated defenders of Christianity. Second, another assumption made by those who employ Freud's projection theory is that having beliefs that bring us comfort means that those beliefs are false. But this does not follow logically.
Philosophers of religion Paul Copan and Paul Moser observe that "a belief that brings comfort and solace should not be considered necessarily false. We find comfort in human relationships, and this is perfectly normal, reasonable, and healthy, at least in routine cases. It would be implausible to presume that our finding comfort in something is automatically cognitively defective or otherwise wrong.
Third, part of the rhetorical force of Freud's projection theory cited by Hitchens is the perceived connection between God being an illusion and Freud's rigorous psychoanalysis. Actually, this connection is what's illusory. Emeritus professor of psychology at New York University and former atheist Paul Vitz writes, "Nowhere did Freud publish a psychoanalysis of the belief in God based on clinical evidence provided by a believing patient," and further that "Freud's general projection theory is an interpretation of religion that stands on its own, unsupported by psychoanalytic theory of clinical evidence.
Vitz, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism Dallas: Spence, , 9. McGrath further states that "while it is a historical truism that Freud was a confirmed atheist long before he became a psychoanalyst, it is important to note that he became a psychoanalyst precisely because he was an atheist. His indefatigable harrying of religion reflects his fundamental belief that religion is dangerous. Doubleday, , Fourth, the projection theory cuts both ways. If it can be argued that humans created God out of a need for security or a father figure, then it can just as easily be argued that atheism is a response to the human desire for the freedom to do whatever one wants without moral constraints or obligations.
Perhaps atheists don't want a God to exist because they would then be morally accountable to a deity. Or maybe atheists had particularly tragic relationships with their own fathers growing up, projected that on God, and then spent most of their adult lives trying to kill a "Divine Father Figure.
His mother died when he was two and his father when he was four. An extremely stern Presbyterian woman raised Russell. A loner with no real childhood friends, he would grow attached to nannies and then become inconsolable when they left. We don't mention this to make light of it—it's sad and tragic.
We mention it because it's possible that not all of Russell's reasons for rejecting Christianity and God were purely rational or intellectual. Belief is a complex thing. Finally, perhaps the idea that humans invented God to meet their desires is precisely backward. Perhaps the reason humans have a desire for the divine is because something or someone exists that will satisfy them. Lewis powerfully articulates this point: A baby feels hunger: A duckling wants to swim: Men feel sexual desire: If I find in myself a desire, which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only arouse it, to suggest the real thing. Humanity will benefit from mapping the human genome completed in , and we should applaud that progress. One example is The God Gene: In this book Hamer explores the impact of genetics on belief in God. The specific gene in question, that everyone has some version of, is VMAT2. Hamer claims that this gene accounts for the spirituality that emerges in some people but not others.
Is God Just a Human Invention? - Video Interview and Book Excerpt with Sean McDowell by
To be fair, Hamer admitted his title was overstated in a later interview and that there "probably is no single gene. Admissions such as these after the fact never make it on the cover of magazines to correct public misconceptions. The implication to be drawn from his title is that the God question can be reduced to a genetic roll of the dice.
I believe in I won this book off Goodreads and it definitely fell into the disappointment category. I believe in a God and an afterlife, I just don't think a person needs religion for that sort of thing. My first problem with McDowell was that he was writing this book for the sole purpose to counter act Dawkins The God Delusion but really, it comes off more like a smear fest than a theological debate. I wanted the debate. I'm not saying that McDowell didn't make valid points in his book but it was so bogged down by anti-atheistic views that it turned me off to anything valid he might of had to say.
The proper response to another book was to take an analytical, non-religious view to the God question and McDowell just couldn't do that. He made it way too personal. Overall, it was a terrible book. McDowell did the very things he was accusing the Atheists of but from the non-Atheist point of view. The point of a debate is not to smear the other side but to use what facts you have to disprove their facts. McDowell did not do this. I don't recommend this book to anyone.
Dec 26, Emily rated it did not like it Recommends it for: Christians who accept the bible as proof. I won this book here on goodreads. I'll be upfront and honest - I am an athiest. However, I feel that I am open minded to debate and discussion. I was hoping that this book would provide insight into the logic and reasoning behind Christian believers. In my own experience with Christians, they were raised in the church and the bible alone was enough proof for them, however I assumed that there are deeper reasons for believing for some people.
I tried to read through this book but only managed a I won this book here on goodreads. I tried to read through this book but only managed a couple of chapters when I just couldn't keep going. The book has a series of questions that athiests pose, and provides answers that are suppose to be good retaliation for the questions. Most of the answers are simply quotes from the bible. For athiests, a bible quote isn't proof, and if a Christian were in a debate with a non-believer, and had the questions posed in this book asked to them, and used the books responses, they would certainly lose the debate.
The answers are probably sufficient for Christians who accept the bible as proof, but for those do not it wouldn't be anywhere near sufficient. Overall, I felt that this book is designed to reel Christians back in, if they are beginning to question their faith. For this, it could be useful if they are still accepting the bible as proof. However, it's not a good guide for Christians who are seeking to provide answers for nonbelievers who ask them questions.
View all 3 comments. Jul 01, Rod rated it really liked it Shelves: I wish I would have read this book 25 years ago. It's a wonderful introduction to Christian apologetics and the numerous issues it confronts. I enjoyed every chapter. The problem is that i've read a hundred books just like this - I guess keep them coming, they are insightful, but folks need to explore deeply the major issues that come between them and God.
This book will give them ideas about where to start. A few years ago Lee Strobel's books got me in the game. It seems to be I wish I would have read this book 25 years ago. It seems to be getting to the point that people want to do apologetics without Jesus. It has become an intellectual religious exercise. Many don't know that most religions have apologetics groups. It is very easy to play with and manipulate facts and data. This does not lead to Salvation or truth. There is no book that will appeal to New atheists.
Is God Just a Human Invention?
This is not a mission field of logic, science and literature. They want what they want and nothing will convince them otherwise - maybe they should stop fooling themselves by reading these things - they actually assume they are open minded. Oct 12, Grace rated it did not like it Shelves: Is God Just a Human Invention is poorly written from a severely slanted view of the Christian apologetics, not just Christians in general.
If the aim of this book was to discuss several questions that new atheists have brought up, they missed this mark. It is actually written in a way that you can not doubt they are trying to refute each question and attempt to argue their point of view.
Thus, even if it was a discussion it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Each chapter is titled with the question the Apologetics are attempting to refute. The introduction to each question is very brief and not very informative to those that do not know any side of the debate. The tone of this section is usually disinterest to boredom. The introduction transitions into a single example of the atheist argument.
However, it leaves a lingering feeling that the example is taken out of context and you are not sure if you are getting the full story. The presentation of the atheist argument segues seamlessly into the apologetics counter-argument. This counter-argument has the smug tone throughout. The apologetic's side of the debate is just as glossed over as the atheist side of the debate, so there is not a whole lot to learn. Just at the end of this section are two books for further reading on the topic presented in the chapter. I did not have the opportunity to look at all of the books mentioned, but it would seem as if all of the further reading books are to further present the apologetic's argument.
The final part of a chapter was a relatively short, page and a half essay from a Christian that had something to say on the topic of the question. I found these the most enlightening part, though I can't really place my finger on why. Perhaps because these essays are from the heart and feel more honest and real. It was during the presentation of the apologetic side of the debate where I became increasingly uneasy with what the authors presented.
Their counter-argument had several flaws in it that some might be able to see past, and, I hope, a great many will note. For one, their citations mainly come from biased sources or are not fully explored from every angle. In other words, they mostly looked for citations that supported their view. Many times the authors used sources I'm not sure would qualify in a scholarly work. I'm not fully convinced the authors read and understood what the atheist's point of view was on the topic either, but that shows through in their glossed over introduction to the other side of the debate.
The way certain things implied that the only answer to believing in a deity is Christianity, and everything else should not exist. Coming from a background of anthropology and sociology, this left me ill at ease because I was thinking of all the non-Christians that are inadvertently denied a credible existence in the minds of the authors. I also thought of the different sects of Christianity that seemed to have been carelessly denied credibility due to their acceptance of evolution. And, thirdly, their counter-argument sometimes supported what the atheists brought up.
I'm not sure if it was simply a wording issue, but whenever the authors would expound upon any Bible quote that was used by the atheists to refute Christianity, they would not do a very good job of persuading that they quote was out of context and showed a good side to Christianity. To get a good idea of both sides of the debate between atheists and Christian apologetics though, this is not a good book to read.
While this book may fall short of the intended mark, it is good for getting to know the mind and argument patterns of the apologetic. It is also has potential as a good starting point for finding resources on the apologetic's views of the topics presented in this book. Dec 06, Robert rated it it was amazing. I found this book to be clear, concise, and full of valid points concerning the reality of God, His Word, and His character.
I also see that many who reject the book do not reject it because of its content, but merely because of its basic premise I mean, one reveiwer I read hadn't even read the book How is any honest dialogue supposed to take place when the basis of many reviews are simply uninformed emotional outbursts? The book is filled with valid, vital information which reveals the sand upon which atheism is built.
The book is well worth a read for anyone concerned with their spiritual life and eternal destiny.
Is God Just a Human Invention?: And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists
Yours in Christ, Robert Jan 01, Crystal rated it it was ok. Yes, the title sounds like a book about atheist views but it's not. I really wanted to root for this book and like it but I feel it just talks in circles. The book take a look at atheist views and is supposed to combat them with proof on God's existence and why Christianity is worth believing in. I wanted to hear some fact or reasons why we can't doubt things in the Bible but this book did a poor job at it if I'm being honest.
The book seemed to go round and round and never really brought any of Yes, the title sounds like a book about atheist views but it's not. The book seemed to go round and round and never really brought any of the hard evidence that they claimed that they would. I was disappointed and thought this would have been an interesting read. I'd like to read a book that had similar views but brought more convincing evidence to back up biblical events.
Jan 14, Craig Hurst rated it really liked it Shelves: Is atheism making a comeback? The proliferation of recent books by contemporary atheists with titles like The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett, god is not Great by Christopher Hitchens and Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris, speak to the reality that atheism is back — with a vengeance. To say that atheism is back in somewhat misleading.
Atheism has been around since after the Fall in Genesis 3. Throughout history there have been moments of intense efforts by atheists.
This is one of those intense moments in atheistic history. There is no denying that these New Atheists are making a public scene in their quest to rid the world of religion s and, in particular, Christianity and its belief in God. As a result of the atheistic outcry against Christianity in particular, there has been an enormous response among the vast ranks of evangelicals.
A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist who have shown that the Biblical claims of Christianity can hold their own and more among philosophical doubters. Has Science Buried God? With all of these responses from varied fields of Christian Biblical defenders, there is no doubt that Christianity can hold up against charges from any front. All of these books are helpful in their own way and there are many more that provide solid answers to the bold claims of atheists. Whether atheism is actually making a measured comeback or not is an issue that will have to be addressed in the years to come.
For now, there is no doubt that many Christians have heard the boisterous claims of the New Atheists and have themselves been asking questions about their own faith and the Bible. For the Christian who may not be able to determine where to begin in their quest to chew through some of the above-mentioned books, the task can feel daunting. There is so much to read and so much material and information to process that it can be easy to take the fideist approach and just believe in God anyways.
In step McDowell and Morrow. Amidst all of the beneficial books that are both readable and highly technical, McDowell and Morrow have taken eighteen of the most hotly debated issues among Christians and Atheists. With remarkable ability, they have condensed these eighteen issues in an easy to understand way without being overly simplistic.
They have brought out the salient points of contention within each issue and have responded with clarity and forthrightness. No chapter is longer than pages and some are as short as It is this claim that the authors seek to respond to through the eighteen chosen topics. However, the authors are not alone. The body of each chapter is written by the authors. At the end of each chapter an expert is brought in from the relevant field of study to wrap things up. If that were not enough to make the book well rounded, at the end of each chapter there is a short list of related books the reader can use in order to go deeper into the subject matter of each particular chapter.
Thus they believe that faith is "blind, irrational and stupid p. It is not belief in spite of the evidence, but belief in light of the evidence p. From the world of science they move on to defend the high possibility of miracles and summarize their claim by saying, "In short, the possibility of miracles depends upon the existence of God. If God exists, miracles are possible p. When God is cited by Christians as the original source of all things atheists always bite back with the question, "But who made God!?
Rather, everything that begins to exist has a cause p. Daniel Dennett wants us to believe that the mind is not and is merely "an illusion created by the brain p. First up the authors respond to the harsh claims of Christopher Hitches that religion is dangerous. Hitchens sees all the major evils of the world stemming not from people but their religions.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IS GOD JUST A HUMAN INVENTION?
The authors state, "Upon reflection, most would agree that people are the problem, not religion. There are deeper issues at work. The human heart is corrupt p. All of these issues and more are dealt with clarity and honesty. The only real criticism I have of the book is the undefined frequent appeal to the freedom of man and how certain atheistic claims would take it away.
I would have liked to see the authors at least their definition and understanding of it given how often they appealed to it. McDowell and Morrow have done a great service to those wanting answers to the above claims but who don't know where to turn first to find them. I would recommend this book to new and seasoned believers who are unfamiliar with these issues. The blurb on the back paints this work as an attempt to create a dialogue between believers and non-believers, a laudable goal.
Unfortunately, if that was the goal behind this collection then it failed miserably. Virtually every claim made in the book is either standard apologetics, which non-believers will reject because of their a priori nature, or a misrepresentation, or a downright lie.
The chapter on evolution is particularly bad - there is not one factual sentence in the entire chapter. The work claims to "lay out the facts so that the emerging generation can make up their own mind after considering all the evidence" but when you only present evidence for one side, and that badly, it's hard to consider the book or its authors credible. This is just another book in a long line of works intended to make money off well-meaning Christians who think they can use it to start a discussion without presenting any credible arguments or material for that discussion.
There's nothing new here, unless you consider the books inexplicable focus on "New" atheists.
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Don't waste your money. All the arguments made are widely known and reprinted all over the place. There's nothing in this book that isn't well refuted in a dozen places online. Easy to understand it may be, but that's because its claims are oversimplified and generally downright wrong. This work has all the depth of a political ad on TV, and just as much balance.
Atheism has seen a resurgence in the last decade or so in its publicity--if not also its popularity--due in large part to the New Atheism names like Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett and Harris and most recently Stephen Hawking with his argument against the necessary existence of God in The Grand Design. Yet for every volley leveled at theism in general and Christianity in particular, there is are equally capable minds ready to pick up the gauntlet and offer return fire. Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow aren't charting new territory in this book.
Far from being a criticism, however, I found this to be one of the greatest strengths of the book. These two authors are thoroughly well versed in the arguments and works of other Christian thinkers and quote liberally from writers like C.
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The book is broken up into two sections: Each chapter is imminently accessible to even those unfamiliar with the topics at hand. For this reason, none of the arguments get very in depth, but the authors have done the heavy lifting and offer a couple titles at the end of each chapter if you feel up to the challenge as well.
Christian apologists have well reasoned responses to the New Atheists' charges and this book is as good an introduction as one could want. McDowell and Morrow are standing on the shoulders of many brilliant minds and have made a substantial offering in their own right. This book is a perfect reference for those familiar with the arguments, a perfect primer for those who are not, and a perfect loaner for the believer and skeptic alike.
I don't know what the authors are driving at when they precede every written word: Are there Old Atheist? I read the book and found it tiresome. Too much circular logic and contradiction. See all 53 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 4 months ago. Published 6 months ago. Published 7 months ago. Published 10 months ago. Published 1 year ago. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway.