“Impact Apologetics” sells info products online on how to argue with Atheists.
On the product description of one of their main products, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” (which comes in book, CD and MP3 formats) they have the following quote, which they claim is a Five Star review on Amazon.com from an Atheist:
Having read quite a few Christian apologetics books, I feel I can say that this one is by far the best in scope, logic, and wit. The authors convincingly build up their case in layers, starting with well-reasoned arguments why God exists, and building in stages as to why Jesus is the way to go, once everything else is accepted.
The authors include run-ins they’ve had with professors and debate opponents, making for an interesting read. The appendixes, which feature a mock dialogue between a Christian and an atheist, are entertaining. The book covers all the important issues that this topic entails, from cosmology, life origins, evolution, morality, and a defense of the Bible.
No honest atheist can read this book without being impressed by the quality of the theistic arguments as presented by the authors. The objections of skeptics are confronted with confidence. Did it change my mind? It may have planted a seed.
I highly recommend this book to both atheists and Christians, and to anyone else interested in this topic. It is VERY convincing. These guys know their stuff.
With that challenge thrown down, of course I had to buy the book.
But let me first qualify my review with a statement of my own:
I have too much faith to be a Christian
I don’t think Christians properly understand the process of de-conversion many of us go through. It’s hard for them to fathom how we screwed up. But basically they think it’s an error of logic, we trusted our own thinking too much, got sucked into hubris, doubt, rationalism, and stopped believing. They assume it was probably mostly a social rebellion against our loving family, probably because we were hurt as children somehow. They think Becoming Atheist is a childish play for attention or emotional revenge of some sort; that we do this just to hurt Christians.
But a lot of non-believing friends of mine used to be, like me, very passionate Christians. I was passionately Christian for years. I was very public about it. I prayed publicly. I was an Acolyte. I even studied theology.
The problem was I learned far too much about historical Christianity. I learned that the Church Fathers were mostly ruthless, self-centered assholes who lied, cheated, tricked, stole and betrayed each other, trying to dominate their political agendas through theological maneuvering. I learned the core dogma of today’s Christianity evolved over a thousand years, mostly by accident, reversed its stance on crucial issues several times.
I learned the Bible is a mashup of philosophy and theology and mythology from dozens of early cultures – a case of plagiarism so obvious that word-for-word passages from Greek plays, mystery cult scripts, and magical papyri can still be found today.
Knowing all of these things, I came up with a new appreciation for the flaws of Christianity.
If God exists, I reasoned, he certainly would have done a better job than this.
I don’t really care whether God exists or whether he doesn’t exist. I think arguing over that precise point holds little value.
I’m not going to prove to a believer that he doesn’t, and they aren’t going to prove to me that he does.
But even if someone could prove to me ontologically, definitely, absolutely, in the existence of God, I could still prove to them – historically – that most of the Bible never happened, that there’s no way an omnipotent and omniscient God could have made such as absolute mess of everything, and still use this shoddy, cobbled together, detestably simple-minded belief system as the final judgment criteria for our eternal souls.
For me, belief in God automatically rules out Christianity. In other words, whether or not God exists, Christianity is bunk.
But IF he exists, he goes against all common definitions of him (Good, Merciful, Forgiving, Wise). If Christianity is true, God is automatically a jerk, a tyrant, a fool, an amateur (which is why the Gnostics called him Demiurge – not the real God at all, just a stupid kid playing god and making a mess). And, since by St. Anselm’s definition, God must be the highest thought that can be thunk, the god of Christianity can not be the real God.
The reasons I’m not Christian have nothing to do with belief in God; and they have nothing to do with the values and morals or Christianity. (Although, while I used to agree with the humble/Buddhist passive acceptance of everything, I’ve changed for a much more Promethean, Faustian, Puritan work ethic of making lots of great stuff and changing the world).