From its gradual decline during the latter part of the twentieth century, religion has been catapulted back into public consciousness, not least by acts of violence, extremism and various forms of fundamentalism.In this lively and surprising contribution to the debate the leading feminist theologian, Tina Beattie, argues that the threat of religious fanaticism is mirrored by a no less virulent and ignorant secular fanaticism which has taken hold of the intellectual classes. Its High Priest is Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion", but its disciples and acolytes include significant opinion formers and commentators such as A C Grayling and Christopher Hitchens, the journalist Polly Toynbee and the novelists Martin Amis and Ian McEwan. "The New Atheists" calls for a more reasoned and creative dialogue between believers and non-believers about questions which impinge deeply on all our lives, and will intrigue every open-minded reader, believer or non-believer.
Tina Beattie is Reader in Christian Studies, Roehampton University and President of the Catholic Theological Association. She is the author of God's Mother, Eve's Advocate and New Catholic Feminism: Theology and Theory (Routledge 2005). She has broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Woman's Hour, The Moral Maze and Beyond Belief.