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God is no thing, but not nothing. These words from the renowned thinker Herbert McCabe point to a fallacy at the heart of New Atheist polemics against religion: the deity rejected by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and their followers is not God as taught in classical tradition, but merely a blown-up thing. From this basic error flow many more misunderstandings about Christianity and other creeds. As a result, debate on life's biggest questions has grown vitriolic as well as confused.
The problem is all the more acute because religion refuses to fade away. Even though parts of the Western world now appear almost totally secularized, Christianity remains the most potent worldview on earth alongside Islam. Globalization and democratization have only strengthened the two faiths still further. In this hard-hitting but constructive book, Rupert Shortt argues that Christianity is a much more coherent, progressive body of belief -- philosophically, scientifically and culturally -- than often supposed by its critics. Alert to the menace posed by religious fundamentalism, as well as to secularist blind spots, he shows how a self-critical faith is of huge consequence to wider human flourishing.