Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: Gunning For God

In the ongoing battle between the New Atheists and the Christians, John Lennox has been in the front line of defence on the Christian side. His recent book, Gunning For God, is a powerful appeal to the New Atheists to examine again their position, and to examine the evidence for the Christian position.

As the book opens, Lennox surveys the current position, where atheism is on the march, both vocal and widespread, from the strangely worded atheist bendy buses to the newspaper columns and blogs. Having debated with several of the New Atheists, where he seeks to present 'a credible, rational alternative to the fare which the New Atheists offer,' the book presents a full development of those ideas, as he explains the rationale of Christianity.

In order to engage the debate, he first discusses the position of the so-called New Atheists, arguing that their position is nothing new. Rather, the new element is in 'their tone and their emphasis' - being more aggressive. He also wonders if they are truly atheist, or more specifically anti-theist. In rounding off the opening salvo, he points out the discomfort of some agnostics with Dawkins' approach, such as the famous statement by John Humphrys in his book 'In God We Doubt'.

As he seeks to answer the question 'Are God and Faith enemies of reason and science?' Lennox points out that the God of the Bible is certainly not opposed to reason - sadly he makes a tiny error which has been exploded beyond proportion by some other online reviews. He asserts that the command to 'love the Lord your God... with all your mind' is the 'first of the Biblical Ten Commandments', when it is actually part of the Lord Jesus' summary of the Law. It's a good point, but the impact has been lessened by the glaring mistake.

The rest of the chapter is a good discussion of the ways in which faith and science are compatible. As one such example, he points out that it was a theist who first proposed the Big Bang Theory, which was at first rejected because it seemed to fly in the face of the accepted wisdom of an eternal universe. Indeed, 'It is rather ironical that in the sixteenth century some people resisted advance in science because it seemed to threaten belief in God; whereas in the twentieth century scientific models of a beginning were resisted because they might increase the plausability of belief in God.'

Lennox tackles the notion of a 'God of the Gaps' as espoused by Stephen Hawking, where God can only be the explanation for the small and shrinking number of things we still don't understand. It's a useful refutation, which leads into the discussion of what 'faith' is - thus displaying that the New Atheists' position is as much a faith position as the Christian position. Contra the New Atheists, Christian faith is not believing in spite of evidence, but believing based on sound evidence, just as much as the New Atheists.

In the remaining chapters, Lennox considers whether religion is poisonous, or atheism is poisonous; discusses morality in a number of guises - whether we can be good without God, and the morality of the God of the Bible in the Old Testament. From there, he considers the atonement, miracles, and finally the resurrection of Jesus. In these chapters, the exposure of the atheist position is expertly argued, and the Chrsitian position is humbly and carefully (and rationally) explained. There is much for the atheist to consider, and the Christian will be helped in dealing with the objections and problems presented by the New Atheists.

All in all, it's a great book which deserves a careful reading, whether in paperback or Kindle format.


  1. Gary, thanks for all the book reviews. Kindle and ipad Kindle app have revolutionised my reading habits, both quality and quantity. The paperback remains my first love though. MrsMcF

  2. Thank you for sharing your review on Lennox's book. Here, he Provided a logically sound, and profoundly credible arguments, Lennox exposes the flaws of their irrational, unscientific methodology. An excellent read for believers and atheists alike. We have included this book in our collection at, heaps of books can be found here which can be a great tool in helping our friends come to know Jesus Christ.