The first decade of the twenty-first century saw a number of best-selling books which not only challenged the existence of god, but claimed that religious faith was dangerous and immoral. The New Atheists, as writers such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett have become known, sparked a vicious debate over religion's place in modern society. In After the New Atheist Debate, Phil Ryan offers both an elegant summary of this controversy and a path out of the cul-de-sac that this argument has become. Drawing on the social sciences, philosophy, and theology, Ryan examines the claims of the New Atheists and of their various religious and secular opponents and finds both sides wanting. Rather than the mutual demonization that marks the New Atheist debate, Ryan argues that modern society needs respectful ethical dialogue in which citizens present their points of view and seek to understand the positions of others. Lucidly written and clearly argued, After the New Atheist Debate is a book that brings welcome clarity and a solid path to the often contentious conversation about religion in the public sphere.
Phil Ryan is an associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. His most recent book, Multicultiphobia, was shortlisted for the Canada Prize in the Social Sciences in 2011.
Introduction Part One: The New Atheist Debate 1. Charges and Defence: An Overview 2. Faith, Reason, Radical Evil 3. Clashing Caricatures 4. The Serious and the Wishy-Washy Part Two: Life Together 5. New Atheist Ethics 6. The Defenders' Moral Foundations 7. Can We Live without Foundations? 8. Ethical Dialogue Conclusion: Is This Enough?