If you know Justin Brierley, it’s probably for the debates and interviews he hosted for many years with the Unbelievable? radio show and podcast. He interviewed some of the most outspoken atheist critics of Christianity and convened some of the most intense debates of recent memory.
During that time, however, Justin noticed a shift. The conversations changed in tone and substance—dramatically so. The bombast began to disappear. Secular guests opened to Christianity—at least its cultural and social value if not always its literal truth. They expressed concern over cancel culture and identity-based politics. Some of them made common cause with Christians. Some even became Christians.
He tells their stories in a new book, The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God: Why New Atheism Grew Old and Secular Thinkers Are Considering Christianity Again (Tyndale Elevate). Until April 2023, Justin was theology and apologetics editor for Premier Christian Radio and hosted the Ask N. T. Wright Anything podcast. He was editor of Premier Christianity magazine from 2014 to 2018.
You can tell from the title that The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God is an optimistic book. Justin writes, “New Atheism gave the Christian church a kick up the backside that it desperately needed. Arguably, the last two decades have seen the greatest revival of Christian intellectual confidence in living memory as the church has risen to the challenge.” You know I love the sounds of that revival. You can see, then, why Justin says he thanks God for Richard Dawkins.
N. T. Wright wrote the foreword. He asks, “What if the Christian story is poised to come rushing back into public consciousness in our day? Could it once again nourish the hearts and minds of people who have been starved of meaning and purpose for so long?”
How amazing that would be! We discussed this hope, and more, on the latest episode of Gospelbound.