I tended at this stage to think of my Christian faith as a philosophy of life, not a religion. I had grasped something of its intellectual appeal but had yet to discover its imaginative, ethical and spiritual depths. I had a sense of standing on the threshold of something beautiful and amazing, which my reason had tantalizingly only grasped in part. Like Einstein, I realized that nature “shows us only the lions tail,” while hinting at the majesty and grandeur of the magnificent animal to which it is attached—and to which it ultimately leads.
Atheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain. The opportunity to talk with Christians about their faith revealed to me that I understood relatively little about their religion, which I had come to know chiefly through not-always-accurate descriptions by its leading critics, including British logician Bertrand Russell and German social philosopher Karl Marx. I also began to realize that my assumption of the automatic and inexorable link between the natural sciences and atheism was rather naïve and uninformed.
–Alister McGrath, Atheism, Christianity, Religion, and Science
The New Atheism’s vigorous and uncompromising assertion of the rationality of its own beliefs and the irrationality of everyone else’s has caused many within the wider atheist community to cringe with embarrassment.
As the atheist philosopher Julian Baggini pointed out, the New Atheism seemed to believe that “only through stupidity or crass disregard for reason could anyone be anything other than an atheist.” This sort of dogmatic intellectual arrogance, he suggested, just gave atheism a bad name.