August 8, 2017
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, but Normal Geisler and Frank Turek, is a comprehensive approach to “proving” that Christianity is the truth. I really enjoyed it. It’s very detailed, and although I didn’t agree with all the author’s conclusions, it was very interesting and informative.
The basic premise of the book is that it takes more faith to be an Atheist, than it does to be a Christian, because there is just too much proof all around us that Christianity is the truth. I loved the historical references, archaelogical discussions, and other proofs offered in the book. I still don’t know that it would convert any of my many, many Atheist friends and family members, but it was interesting for one who is already converted (but who leans still towards doubting-Thomas-ism.)
The book starts with a long discussion about why we should believe anything at all, what faith actually is and isn’t, and natural law. The authors surmise that people don’t naturally come out “good” and that we have morals because God taught them to us, or that we learn them from following God. That was a bit of a stretch for me. I know several Atheists who are the most giving, loving people I’ve ever met. And, I know a huge number (personally) of “Christians” who think it’s okay to disparage homosexuals, destroy the environment, and strip people of their healthcare. So, though the discussion was fascinating, I don’t necessarily “buy” all of the conclusions.
Another big chunk of the book goes into great detail about Creationism and Evolution (Darwinists vs. Creationists). This part of the book was fascinating, though the term “Darwinist” is annoyingly used throughout the book to describe just about anybody who doesn’t believe in God. I think there is something lost when you presume that a person who believes in evolution is automatically Godless, and thus a “Darwinist.” But, that aside, again – the discussion was interesting. I’ve never personally understood the debate. I don’t think my belief in God has anything to do with whether or not I think God created the Universe in 6 actual days, 6,000-10,000 years ago, or whatever. That aside, the science was educational. The discussion of macro versus micro evolution was particularly interesting for me. I’m not much of a science buff, so thinking about transitional forms and how they couldn’t survive (nor exist in the fossil records, etc.) was informative. I did, however, wonder why the authors never discussed dinosaurs. I found that perplexing.
Another big chunk of the book is devoted to “proof” that Jesus existed, that He rose from the dead, and that the Old Testament and New Testament texts are inspired by God. I found these chunks of the book the most fascinating. Again, the authors are preaching to the converted here, so I simply can’t tell you if an Atheist would be swayed. (Honestly, I find it unlikely, not because the authors didn’t do a good job, but because people just get set in their ways sometimes and that’s that.) Of particular interest:
- Jesus referenced the Old Testament many times, which I knew, but He also indicated that it was inspired by God (which I didn’t know). Interesting.
- The authors surmise that Jesus said, in so many words, that the New Testament would be coming and it would be inspired. That was really a stretch for me, when I read the verses that supposedly say that. I’m not saying that many sections of the New Testament aren’t, in fact, inspired and as they should be – but, I wasn’t completely buying that Jesus actually predicted it.
- I enjoyed reading about the many, many eye witness accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, both in the Bible, and in secular sources. I also thought it was interesting that the authors suggested that if the resurrection didn’t actually happen, wouldn’t the Romans have taken His body and paraded it about town? Obviously, that’s speculation, but an interesting conclusion.
- The author concludes somehow that we can only have a Theistic world, so the only religions that can possibly be true are Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. (Honestly, I didn’t grasp the author’s reasoning here.) But, putting that aside, the authors did discuss a little bit of Islam, basically pointing out that the miracles listed in their religious texts don’t have any eyewitnesses or proofs like our religious texts. But, I certainly would have liked a lot more comparison of the two religions, so I could better understand the author’s reasonings behind a thought that “they’re obviously wrong, so the only conclusion is that we’re right.”
In conclusion, I found this book to be helpful, well thought-out, detailed, and interesting. I am doubtful that I could convince any of my non-theologically-minded friends or family members to read it. But, I do think that many of my theologically-minded friends (liberals and conservatives alike) are likely to enjoy it.
James 1:2-4 (NRSV): My brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
Serve all with love.
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