In Terry Eagleton's compelling narrative, three plotlines run concurrently: a parade of ideas from the Enlightenment to the present, a sustained argument about the role of culture, and a burlesque apologetic for Christianity.
Karl Barth famously attacked apologetics—the attempt to offer a persuasive account of Christian belief on mutually agreed-upon grounds of reason—as a misguided task, part of the failure of theological liberalism. When you focus on making sense to those outside the faith, Barth warned, you end up adopting their worldview.
The current spate of atheist, antitheist and antireligious books has made me ask myself whether I ought to be working, strictly pro bono, for the defense. Fortunately there are a host of reasonable and well-spoken public intellectuals like Alister McGrath, Keith Ward and John Haldane who are willing to undertake this tedious but necessary job.
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