Is Religion Dangerous?
I'm not given to conspiracy theories about the "liberal" or supposedly anti-religious bias of the media. Indeed of late, with the emergence of the so-called "new atheism" of Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, et. al., I've been encouraged to see outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post bring in voices that weren't just echoing choirs, but pushed back on the shoddy scholarship and inflated claims of these works. But I must confess to being puzzled by one thing: why is it that Keith Ward's book, Is Religion Dangerous? (Eerdmans, 2007) has not yet been reviewed in a major outlet? It's British version (2006) was reviewed (and praised) in places like the Times Literary Supplement and the Daily Telegraph. Why has its American release been ignored by the Times, the Post, the Globe, and other usual suspects who've given space to the new atheism?
Ward's book is excellent. Regrettably, it was published (in the UK) before the appearance of Dawkin's God Delusion and Hitchens' God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything; but nonetheless it already anticipates the sorts of flimsy arguments that they spout. While Ward's Christianity is a little liberal for my tastes (he's more enthusiastic about demythologizers like Tillich than I would be), the core of the book is on the money. It is even-handed, absent the screeching alarmism that tends to characterize these debates. And it is peppered with a wry British wit. Easily accessible for a general audience who's been following these conversations.