"It is my intention [in this book] to tackle just a few [according to this book's subtitle, ten] of the more common and most egregious of those untruths [held against Christianity]...My intention is to provide a few metaphorical arrows, to be shot back at the snipers and the swordsmen [of Christianity] who thrust and fire away so often. [Some] chapters...are strongly [autobiographical]...Some...chapters are more historical...[while] others are more theological and philosophical...
Christianity is a living, breathing religion, and this book will succeed only if it empowers [Christian] readers who can use its contents to strengthen their faith, and to defend their faith when it is attacked. As for the [non-Christians], some of you may perhaps rethink your position after reading [this] book."
The above extract is found in this slim book by Michael Coren. According to the inside back flap, Coren is an author, Canadian talk show host, and syndicated columnist. (Interestingly, it also says on the inside back flap that he has authored 14 books but counting the books in the list "Also by Michael Coren," at the front of this book, 11 books are indicated.)
Christians will surely appreciate this book because it will validate their faith. They will also appreciate, what I call, "Corenisms" that are peppered throughout this book. Here's an example of a "dual-Corenism:"
"How ironic it is that many of those who are most insistent that Christians do not think, and oppose science, are those who do little thinking about science. There is probably a chemical equation somewhere to explain it, but we have to wait for a Christian to discover it."
However, informed non-Christians may have problems with this book. Here are some of these problems:
(1) There is no index. Why? There is a wealth of information presented but no easy access to it.
(2) The bibliography looks to me that it is composed of mainly Christian authors. But I did spot in the "notes" section, a note with respect to the following sentence (this sentence is what I call an "ultra-Corenism"):
"Even Richard Dawkins was prepared to write, 'We have seen that living things are too improbable and too beautifully 'designed' to have come into existence by chance.'"
Coren's note for this ultra-Corenism references Dawkin's international bestseller "The God Delusion" (2006).
(3) Coren sometimes plays fast and loose with the facts, even choosing to omit some well-documented facts in order to skew an argument in his favour.
For example, in the chapter entitled "Christians are Opposed to Science," he discusses very briefly Copernicus (1473 to 1543) whose work is considered by many to be the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution. Coren tells us about his seminal work, which has the Sun not the Earth as the center of the universe.
What Coren forgets (?) to tell us is that Copernicus, who worked for the Catholic Church, waited to almost his death (in 1543) to publish his book (also, in 1543). Why? As well, Coren forgets (?) to tell us that Copernicus' book was put on the "List of Prohibited Books" (a list of publications prohibited by the Catholic Church) until it was "corrected." (That is, corrected so as to be more in agreement with what the Bible says.)
Copernicus leads into the story of Galileo (1564 to 1642) who is considered by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking to be the "father of modern science." Galileo picked up on Copernicus' idea and in so doing, got in trouble with the Church.
Coren blames Galileo for all his troubles and says everything that transpired was essentially Galileo's fault. If this is true, why did (as Coren tells us) Pope John Paul the Second apologize in 1992, almost 450 years after Galileo's death, for the Church's treatment of Galileo? Again, Coren also forgets (?) to mention that Galileo's works were placed on the List of Prohibited Books.
(4) There were a couple of chapters that made me wonder why they were written.
For example, there is a chapter entitled "The Da Vinci Code." Coren proceeds to correct all the wrong things this mystery-detective novel, published in 2003, says about Christianity. However, a novel is a work of fiction. It is not supposed to be taken seriously. In other words, fiction is not reality.
In fact, this is what it says on this novel's copyright page:
"This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental."
Coren had many non-fictional books to choose from to critique. How about "The Pagan Christ" (2004), an international best-seller? The author of this book has a long list of impressive qualifications and was once a priest.
(5) This is with regard to the final chapter which is entitled, "What else can we throw at Christians?" In this chapter, Coren discusses such things as euthanasia, pornography, even prayer. That's fine but I could not ascertain exactly what lies were being spread about Christianity in this chapter. This seemed more like an unnecessary add-on chapter.
Finally, many people have asked me why I gave Coren's 2011 book such a high rating. It's actually for the same reason I gave this book a high rating. I have to deduce the rating most Christians would give this book and deduce what rating most informed non-Christians would give this book. My final rating is an average of these two deduced ratings.
In conclusion, I have no doubt that Christians will love this book!!
(first published 2012; introduction; 10 chapters; main narrative 230 pages; acknowledgements; notes; bibliography)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>