In particular, I enjoyed the fact that he didn't simply jump on the bandwagon with other popular atheists of the day: Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and Dennett. His approach was more philosophical, and less reliant on the myopia of modern science. In fact, Onfray goes so far as to criticize today's popular atheists for pedaling science as if it is the contemporary Oracle at Delphi.
Now while he doesn't specifically mention the authors I've noted above, anyone who has been keeping track of the spate of atheist literature streaming forth in popular culture today would know exactly who Onfray is referring to. So by looking past other popular atheists, Onfray has also managed to avoid the shibboleths of their particular brand of elitism: materialism, naturalism, and Darwinianism. And while he may very well hold to these understandings/philosophies, his book is premised more forcefully on rationalism, hedonism, modern textual criticism, and a good deal of incisive logic. The result? An incindiary read sure to explode the understandings of anyone interested in challenging their presuppositions and faith.
Now that I've finished that book, however, I'm not sure it's the right time to read Dostoevsky or Chesterton. Call it what you will, but I go by feel when I'm on a reading splurge -- and this jump into atheist literature these past 8 months has been just that: a splurge. Not a frivolous one, mind you. I do have an objective: to write a reasoned response to the issues the New Atheists have been raising. I find their perspectives refreshing, insightful, and well worth consideration. Having said that though, there is a fair deal of obliqueness to their criticisms, and it will be a harrowing challenge to reason out a response to not only some of their more insular perspectives, but also arguments they've delineated that assume wrong-headed information about religious issues that are readily available if they'd only look past their chosen enemies: Catholicism, and Evangelicalism.
All that being said, now I turn to what my actual reading list currently is. Here we go...
Ehrman's book is extremely challenging, and definitely not recommended for anyone unprepared to have their understandings of inerrancy, and preservation challenged. His style is engaging for the academically-minded, but for most people he would seem quite dry. Kind of like licking melba-toast.
Next up, however, is a challenge to Christians from a Christian. The author is David F. Wells, professor of theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I've only read the introduction to this book at this point, so I can't say much about it since it consists largely of anecdotes that display a regular occurrence amongst Christians: a regrettable lack of understanding in theology; and thus, in what Christians profess to believe.
This last book was recommended by my former co-author here at St. Cynic, Suneal. I'm looking forward to reading this citing Suneal's usual taste in reading material is quite challenging, and often rewarding.