The years since the fi rst edition of this book was published have seen a veritable explosion of writing about religion, atheism, and the confl ict between them.1 Various polemical critics of religious belief have been collectively labelled the ‘New Atheists’, though in truth their claims are not especially new. Championing a scientifi c world-view, dismissing religious beliefs as unscientifi c and superstitious nonsense, and castigating the support provided by religious institutions for morally insupportable attitudes and practices – these are themes which have been around at least since the more outspoken thinkers of the Enlightenment. The debate about whether modern science and religion can co-exist, about whether traditional religious beliefs need to be reinterpreted in the light of scientifi c progress, and if so, how much is left, was one which preoccupied a great many honest and conscientious thinkers in the nineteenth century. The difference, perhaps, is that what was then a matter for anguished soul-searching on the part of those who agonised about their ‘loss of faith’ has latterly become a rather badtempered slanging match between antagonistic camps.