The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail: The Misguided Quest to Destroy Your Faith
Prominent atheists like Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins (known as the "New Atheists") have made quite a stir in recent years by attacking Christianity head-on, in part through a number of bestselling books.
Becky Garrison makes quite a stir in the Christian world through her work as senior contributing editor for The Wittenberg Door ("Pretty Much the World's Only Religious Satire Magazine"). Most often, the targets of her biting satire are poufy-haired televangelists, Religious Right fundies, and even the occasional milquetoast, mainline liberal. Considering the way she lavishes her wit and sarcasm on the faithful, you can just imagine what she has in store for an assortment of atheists when they begin treading on her turf.
Only you don't have to imagine that at all, since Garrison takes aim at said assortment in THE NEW ATHEIST CRUSADERS. And she does so with her usual gusto. Using their own words against them, Garrison skewers their arguments, pokes fun at their ignorance and exposes their distortions. And you can tell she has a lot of fun doing all that. But she also wisely points her finger where it often belongs --- leveled straight at Christians who give atheists too much fodder and pointing right back at herself when she behaves badly.
"When confronted with aggressive atheists," she writes, "some Christians assume the mantle of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz chanting, 'I do believe, I do believe, I do believe.'" Garrison goes on to describe the atheists' stepped-up efforts to dismantle the Christian faith. "As long as people continue to buy into the anti-God game, this junk is gonna come down the pike. Time to put an end to this. So, I guess I gotta put on my satirical shorts, get into the ring, and put up my dukes."
Garrison aims her punches at her adversaries on such matters as their faulty theology, oversimplification and reliance on medieval clerics in an effort to try to prove their point --- as well as their many sins of omission. She takes them to task for sniffing out Christianity's lunatic fringe and positioning them as mainstream, and failing to acknowledge the tremendous amount of good done by Christians throughout history and in contemporary society. Amid all this scuffling, Garrison provides poignant anecdotes from her own life that offer glimpses into her journey of faith and activism.
The book also features a witty timeline of atheism, an interview with Hemant the Friendly Atheist and extensive notes, some of which are a hoot. Readers familiar with Garrison's writing style (she is also the author of the equally satirical RED AND BLUE GOD, BLACK AND BLUE CHURCH) will be well prepared for her casual, sassy and slangy way with language. If playing fast and loose with English offends you, well, you may need to gear up for a wild ride.
Reviewed by Marcia Ford on January 1, 2008