Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review -- I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek

I really appreciated this book.  And I'd really recommend it.  I plan to hang on to this book and regularly re-read it.  I've put it on my to do list to go back through a chapter each month in the next 15 months.

The book is 15 chapters, plus introduction, foreward, preface, acknowledgements, three apendices, notes, general index and scriptural index.  The paperback copy I have clocks in at around 400 pages after you exclude stuff you won't actually read through like the indices and notes.

The book follows this outline:
 At the beginning of each section, it includes the entire outline with the particular areas covered in that section highlighted.  I found that helpful as it took me several months to get through the entire book, setting it aside for long periods because it was a lot to chew on.  At the same time, it was really excited.  It helped me fill in a lot of the holes I had, answer a lot of the questions I had, and give me a vocabulary for what I've always suspected or believed but been unable (or not confident) in my ability to describe.

Outline:

1. Truth about reality is knowable.

2. The opposite of true is false.

3. It is true that the theistic God exists.  This is evidenced by:
a. Beginning of the universe (Cosmological Argument)
b. Design of the universe (Teleological Argument/Anthropic Principle)
c. Design of life (Teleological Argument)
d. Moral Law (Moral Argument)

4. If God exists, then miracles are possible.

5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (i.e., as acts of od to confirm a word from God)

6. The New Testament is historically reliable.  This is evidenced by:
a. Early testimony
b. Eyewitness testimony
c. Uninvented (authentic) testimony
d. Eyewitnesses who were not deceived

7. The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God

8. Jesus' claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by:
a. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself;
b. His sinless life and miraculous deeds;
c. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection

9. Therefore, Jesus is God.

10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.

11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.

12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

What I really liked is that the book lays out the plan and then approaches it very methodically.  For anyone who's not a Christian but wants to know more about why Christians believe what they do, they may find this book insightful as well.

What I like is that there is no jump to conclusion in this book.  There's a van at our church with a giant sign in the window that says "Jesus is Lord.  Read the Bible."  I find that to be a snotty sign.  It makes the assumption that the person reading the sign places any value on The Bible.  But if you don't believe The Bible is anything more than a work of fiction, then why would you believe anything that's contained within it, let alone let it lead your life.

So I appreciate that this book goes out of its way to talk about why The Bible might or might not be true (and in my opinion, makes a very compelling argument for why it is) before it ever relies on The Bible for anything.

I found this to be a rather exciting book because there have been times in the past where I've wondered about things or been backed into a corner by someone who attacked me because of my faith.  Reading this book has helped me to better understand what I believe and why.

And the title?  An interesting proposition as they build there case: in so many places, when presented the evidence, it seems like it requires more faith to hold an atheist view than to hold a Christian one.
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