In Heresy historian and theologian McGrath believes that heresy has become fashionable. More than that, contemporary Western society considers it radical and innovative, perhaps even cool. This attitudinal change he sees reflected by the renewed surge of interest in atheism and especially by the popularity of the so-called new atheists Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens and their best-selling antireligious books.
McGrath studies the complicated relations between heresy, orthodoxy, and power, and discusses the unprecedented popularity of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (2003), placing the novel in the context of a postmodern suspicion of power and the Catholic Church, in particular.
He explains the nature of faith, the origins of the idea of heresy, and the diverse roots of Christian heresy from its earliest forms (Ebionitism, Docetism, Valentinianism) to its later, classic formulations (Arianism, Donatism, Pelagianism). Also, he inspects the cultural and intellectual motivations for the existence of heresy. A penetrating examination by an intellectual powerhouse.