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Alister McGrath

Alister McGrath

McGrath Alister Edgar McGrath was born on 23 January 1953 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and in September 1966 he became a pupil at the Methodist College Belfast, where his studies focused on mathematics, physics and chemistry. He went up to Wadham College, Oxford, in 1971 and gained first-class honours in chemistry in 1975. He began research in molecular biophysics in the Oxford University Department of Biochemistry under the supervision of George Radda. He was awarded an Oxford Doctor of Philosophy degree for his research in molecular biophysics (December 1977), and also gained first-class honours in theology in June 1978.

Reflecting on his time as an undergraduate at Wadham, McGrath has written, "I was discovering that Christianity was far more intellectually robust than I had ever imagined. I had some major rethinking to do, and by the end of November [1971], my decision was made: I turned my back on one faith [atheism] and embraced another." McGrath then left Oxford to work at the University of Cambridge, where he also studied for ordination in the Church of England.

In 1983, he was appointed lecturer in Christian doctrine and ethics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and a member of the Oxford University Faculty of Theology. He was awarded a BD by Oxford in 1983, for research in historical theology. In 1999 was awarded a personal chair in theology by Oxford University with the title "Professor of Historical Theology". He was awarded the Oxford degree of DD in 2001 for his research in historical and systematic theology. In 2010 McGrath was included in "The 20 Most Brilliant Christian Professors" list and in 2013 was awarded his third doctorate from Oxford University, a DLitt, Division of Humanities, for research into science and religion, and natural theology.

McGrath suggested in The Twilight of Atheism that atheism was in decline. He has been highly critical of Richard Dawkins, calling him "embarrassingly ignorant of Christian theology". His book, The Dawkins Delusion? - a response to Dawkins' The God Delusion - was published by SPCK in February 2007, and the two had public debate on the topic, "Does religious belief damage the health of a society, or is it necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society?"

McGrath has also debated with Christopher Hitchens, a well-known now former atheist, and was interviewed by Richard Dawkins about his book Dawkins' God and faith in general for the television documentary The Root of All Evil? McGrath's interview was not included in the final cut, but the unedited footage is available online here


The Dawkins Delusion

The Dawkins Delusion by Alister McGrath
published by SPCK, 2007

McGrath wonders how two people who exist in essentially the same academic sphere can come to such different conclusions about God. His exhilarating and meticulously argued response has been warmly welcomed by those looking for a reliable assessment of Dawkins' manifesto for dogmatic atheist fundamentalism. McGrath shows how science has been hijacked by an embittered man and does not logically lead to atheism at all.
78 pages paperback
ISBN 0281059276

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Dawkins' God

Dawkins' God by Alister McGrath
published by Blackwell Publishing, 2006

genes, memes and the meaning of life. McGrath challenges Dawkins on the very ground he holds most sacred - rational argument - and disarms the master. Compulsive reading.
202 pages paperback
ISBN 9781405125383

Used very good
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