Sleptsova Valeriia

Theological Critique of the "New Atheism"

Sleptsova Valeriia (2016) "Theological Critique of the "New Atheism" ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2016, vol. 65, pp. 112-125 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201665.112-125


The paper is devoted to a critical analysis of one of the newest trends of modern Anglo-American freethinking. It is called “new atheism”. The most known spokesmen of this trend are R. Dawkins, D. Dennett, S. Harris and Ch. Hitchens. Theology and Christian philosophy place high emphasis on the critique of the “new atheism”. One of the most talked-about critics of this trend is A. McGrath. The author of the paper notes that some of specific theological criticisms are just. Among them are the critique of the meme-theory and the lack of reflection of the “new atheism” on itself. At the same time the author of the paper demonstrates that some theses of the theological critics are insufficiently grounded. For example, theological critics are rather premature in their conclusions about bringing the “new atheism” into line with L. Feuerbach and K. Marx. The author believes that the ideas of the “new atheism”, as well as the method and the style of expression of its viewpoints are much more successfully integrated in one line with the ideas of such atheists as Bertrand Russell, than a number of the creators of really new ideas of freethinking. In addition, the “new atheism” is also close to the radical wing of the US freethinking of the early 20th century graphically represented by the ideas of R.G. Ingersoll. The author points to the desire of the “new atheists” as well as their critics to simplify the views held by the opposite side. This desire often leads to misinterpretation of the logic of thoughtin both the “new atheists” and their opponents.


Christian apologetics, critique of the «new atheism», meme theory, science and religion, theism and atheism, R. Dawkins, D. Dennett, S. Harris, Ch. Hitchens, A. McGrath, J. F. Haught.


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Information about the author

Sleptsova Valeriia

Place of work: Moscow State University, Leninskie gory, Shuvalovskii korpus, Moscow 119234, Russian Federation;
Email: leka.nasonova@gmail.com.