New Atheists on Genesis 1-11 and 19

Benjamin B. DeVan


When the Neo- or "New Atheist" publishing frenzy climaxed with Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell, Sam Harris's The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens' god is not Great and subsequent titles; New Atheists repeatedly denounced the Bible as dangerously false, suppressive to scientific inquiry, and as inculcating and promoting problematic, contemptible, even abhorrent moral values.  The Genesis 1-11 and 19 Creation, Noah, and Lot narratives persist among the New Atheists' favorite targets.  Heretofore there has been no systematic examination of New Atheist treatments of Genesis generally or Genesis 1-11 and 19 particularly.  This article scrutinizes leading New Atheist interpretations of Genesis 1-11 and 19 articulated by Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.  Part one documents these New Atheist renderings of Genesis 1-11 and 19 through the entire corpus of their published books.  Part two synthesizes, applies, and extends relevant Genesis 1-11 and 19 scholarship to appraise and respond to the most serious New Atheist allegations, concluding that a more rigorous analysis of Genesis 1-11 and 19 nullifies and potentially reverses New Atheist criticisms.


Genesis, atheism, science, ethics, theodicy, Hebrew Scripture, Old Testament, God, hermeneutics, exegesis, creationism, morality, Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris, Darwin, Noah, Sodom

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