15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Understand up front that I am a non-believer, but that I read this book in full and will attempt to review the book on the merits of content and writing style rather than any agenda. I choose the book because I am interested in both apologetics and counter-apologetics and because it was free.
In the following I'll give you an idea of what to expect. If this were a book of fiction, I would post a "spoiler" warning here.
The book appears to be heavily influenced by I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Geisler and Turek, by Jim Marshall's website, by William Lane Craig, and to a smaller degree by Michael Behe's thoughts on intelligent design. Along the way he mentions other popular voices in the apologetics community, such as Ray Comfort, Francis Collins, and Christian rapper LeCrae. The reader will be given a short tour through the kalam cosmological argument, the ontological argument, moral arguments for god, and general criticism of evolution or naturalistic "bias" in science. This is the first third or so of the book, which is also the most interesting portion of the book to me by far. The author does about as good of a job as possible restating these arguments. However, the arguments themselves have amble counter arguments and by their nature engage in arguments from ignorance or special pleading. Moreover, even if one accepts a cosmological argument for god, it is quite a leap to conclude that this god must be ominipotent or personal in nature.
And that's where the author heads next with moral arguments for god, arguing that the moral code is written in our conscience. What follows is a rather lengthy defense of Christian Biblical historicity and accuracy. I found this section less interesting, mostly because the logical arguments are less rigorous, relying more on general assertions such that the Bible is well studied and that archaeology confirms its factual historicity. The author glosses over many difficulties with regard to the historicity issues altogether. Moreover, the author wants us to leap from accepting his assertions that the Bible is historically accurate, to accepting the miracles in The Bible, including (of course) the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I think many devout believers would admit that this is a leap of faith, rather than logic.
The last quarter (I'm estimating) of the book is more theological in nature, resting the case that god has been proven to exist, that the Bible's supremacy as the word of god has been proven, and that the claims of Jesus as the resurrected son of god have been proven. The author deals with total depravity of man, heaven, hell, the need for salvation by grace, and the requirement of faith in Christ to obtain that grace. I found this my least favorite part of the book, as I've heard it all before and it is a bit preachy in tone. Moreover, despite the authors' continued stressing of Christ's love for us and desire to save us, the capriciousness of god for damning us all to hell for even the slightest moral imperfection is inescapable. Infinite extreme torture as judgment for finite "sin" is impossible to justify. The author gives it a good shot, but it's a tough stance to take.
Overall the style of the writing was pleasant and sources are attributed well. The author makes his case with passion, but generally overstates the case by comparing acceptance of the existence of god (much less the Christian god) to acceptance of the force of gravity. For some readers, these arguments may be new and impressive. But apologetics is a field where truly new ideas are rare, and all arguments have impressive counters. The existence of god is a subject that has been hotly debated for centuries. This book is a good sampler of popular Christian arguments (particularly of Wm Lane Craig, Geisler and Turek). But it will not settle the debate.
I rate it three stars because the writing is well done and the research is evident. However, it does not rate higher because the Biblical accuracy portion is dull. The author makes assertions for which counter arguments are easy to imagine, but just moves on. Why Christianity is true but other major religions have it all wrong is not explored in any depth. The reader is just told that The Bible is accurate ... the Bible has it right .... no need to look around, because there's only one truth and its in The Bible. Moreover, the book essentially descends into an extended religious tract in the last 25% or so of the book. A casual reader interested only in the apologetics may want to bow out after the moral arguments.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
First, I'd like to qualify my review: I am a Believer, and I consider myself one who speaks with God and Jesus regularly in prayer, I serve in a church, and I read and know my Bible. So I am NOT rating this book poorly based on my feelings of "Christianity", instead of it's content.
I rated it poorly because of its mechanics and purpose.
I will tell you positives, enough to gain 2 stars:
1. It's well put-together.
2. The Author has done a lot of research. A lot.
3. The Author's literary voice comes out strongly, and it's practiced, polished, and rational.
4. The Author uses many sources to refer to, and uses Logic.
The Problems come from the book's Premise:
He likens the idea of "God" to the idea of "Gravity": How can a person choose to "believe" in God, like they don't choose to "believe" in Gravity?
Well, Gravity is experienced in the womb. Gravity is quantifiable, measurable, able to be tested, and explained. One can use logic to denote its existence and predict its influence.
God is not so easily quantified, measurable, tested, or explained. Kind of like trying to nail down Jell-O: energy and resources are wasted on something that will end up falling apart. He is neither provable, nor can you predict God. Put God in a box, and He will surprise you by still being outside of it, as well as part of the box.
God is, for the bulk of Humanity, an Emotional force. He has Spiritual impact. (If this were not true, there would not be crying in church or joy at baptisms. Likewise, atheists would not get angry with Believers when they talk about God.) Therefore their concepts and language descriptors (for 99% of us) are in an emotional, esoteric space in our brains and character, regardless of whether or not we choose to believe. Logic is a different function of human intellect; Logic can NEVER assist Emotion. Use Logic with a crying Two-Year-Old. How far do you get? Nowhere.
His presuppositions are misplaced. Example? Kindle Location 547, his presupposition is that all (or certainly a majority) scientists bias out God, in "Overcoming Evidence of Bias"; this section tries to point out that many scientists "rule God out before they start, then conclude He doesn't exist". He SAYS it, but doesn't GET it. It comes down to a matter of faith, do they believe or don't they? Then they go from there.
Well, Duh. Science is all about ruling out EVERYTHING but specific, controlled differences between a sample (the Control part) and its variation (the Experiment part).
For the true test to prove God's existence, you'd have to design an Experiment with particles that can detect the presence of God's influencing factors, set up a laboratory situation where NO God-Influence-Force particles can do their thing, contrasted against a different Lab where Any or ALL God-Influence-Force particles can do their thing.
Ain't Gonna Happen. Since "GOD" is supposed to be EVERYWHERE, there could never be a situation (using Science's rules) to ever create a No-God place. And Vice-Versa: If there is NO God, then He wouldn't be ANYWHERE, therefore the God-Influence-Force would NEVER be present, and the experiment is a loss.
Logic has been likened to a Knife: you "cut away" what is extra, to get down to the bones of the subject matter. First, Emotion continually changes. Spirit changes. They cannot be removed, cut out, negated, ruled out, How people FEEL about God will never be convinced by ANY logic, because they can not be cut. The person is cut; they feel.
Please, sir, reexamine your presuppositions.