Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens

In the first half of the book Peter, brother of avowed atheist Christopher, presents verbal wanderings through the Britain of his childhood, life at boarding school, religious education, the Profumo Affair, early thoughts about God and science, the Royal Navy, WW II, memorial sculptures of WW II, the mixing of Christianity and politics, and two years as a Western reporter in the Soviet Union.
Peter gradually returned to faith, realizing the emptiness of secularism.  He had returned to the Church of England for reasons of marriage and fatherhood.  His subsequent experiences in the Soviet Union and Iraq showed him the relationship "between faith and the shape of society."  (92) 
He returned to Britain in 1995 after being abroad five years and was struck by the decline of civility.  "The rapid vanishing of Christianity from public consciousness and life, as the last fully Christian generation ages and disappears, seems to be a major part of it."  (91)
Peter begins to address the arguments for atheism in the second part of the book: that religion is the cause of conflict (addressing the cruel crimes of atheistic regimes), that it is possible to determine right and wrong without God, and that atheist sates are not really atheistic.
Peter ends his book with a brief critique of the recent works of his brother Christopher and Richard Dawkins. 
He concludes that Christianity is good for society.  For those who would promote atheism, he says, "We have forgotten how we arrived at our civilized state."  (212)
Those looking for a precise argument for Christianity in society will be disappointed.  If you don't mind wandering through the ramblings of one returning to faith, you will find this book interesting.
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