Atheism is in decline because it provides “unsatisfactory answers to ultimate questions”, according to a leading scientist and theologian.
Alister McGrath, Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, said that Christianity will triumph because it offers purpose, identity and the “ability to make a difference”.
Prof McGrath has doctorates in Molecular Biophysics, Theology and Intellectual History and has debated prominent new atheists including Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens.
Speaking to students at Baylor University in the United States, Prof McGrath said he was an atheist as a young man but realised that faith makes greater sense of reality.
Atheism offers you an emaciated view of the world. It’s bleak, nasty. Christianity gives you a way of thinking that makes so much senseProf Alister McGrath
He highlighted how new atheists ridicule Christianity for being ‘irrational’ while atheism is in decline, “because it’s stale, dull and incredible”.
“It provides unsatisfactory answers to ultimate questions. People want to know more.”
The professor criticised the atheist claim that reality is confined to “what reason and science can demonstrate”, saying that science “offers one perspective on reality”.
He argued that Christianity “offers a set of stereoscopic spectacles that enable us to see depth”.
He added that atheism “offers you an emaciated view of the world. It’s bleak, nasty. Christianity gives you a way of thinking that makes so much sense”.
Prof McGrath encouraged Christians not to feel the need to argue and “prove all the great questions of life”.
Instead, he advocated evangelism: “The best way to persuade others is not by argument but by inviting them to step inside and see if it helps make sense of things”.
Citing Christian author C.S. Lewis, one of his predecessors at Oxford, he said Christianity “is not an illusion, but truth, and truth shall set you free”.