[Note: This book was provided free from Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
God’s Not Dead: Evidence For God In An Age of Uncertainty, by Rice Broocks
God’s Not Dead, whose title comes from a song by the Newsboys (a song that is promoted, it should be noted, at the end of the book, along with an upcoming film), is a rather direct and fierce book that is directed openly at three audiences. To the believer, it offers a way to intellectually defend the Christian faith from the most popular arguments of aggressive atheists and agnostics. To the seeker, it offers evidence-based reasons why the claims of Christianity should be believed. To the skeptic, it offers a fierce rebuttal to the ridicule and scorn that is often heaped on believers by those who are not content merely not to believe, but who feel it necessary to attack people of faith as irrational while clinging to their own irrational belief system. Each of these audiences will presumably respond in a different way, though as an intellectual believer, I was pleased by the rather upfront and direct approach of the book.
Broocks pulls no punches at all in the course of this book in examining the case for belief from both a scientific and historical perspective. Nor does he pull any punches in holding atheists accountable for their own unreason and subjectivity as well as the unwarranted and fallacious assumptions at the base of naturalism. Believers who wish for solid evidence to present in debates or discussions about the grounds of faith in God and Jesus Christ will almost certainly find much to appreciate and enjoy here, as this book is skillfully written, genuine and passionate, and even at times dryly humorous, especially when it turns the self-confident posturing of skeptics like Richard Dawkins against them and notes over and over again how intelligent defenders of faith have demolished the claims of the aggressive “new atheists.”
This book opens with an introduction that draws parallels between our own society and that of the first century Roman Empire, pointing to the example of Paul, as well as the need to counteract the approach of skeptics, which the author ruthlessly and fiercely examines. At times reading this book I almost felt bad for skeptics and how their intellectual worldviews were demolished and crushed. Then I remembered my own encounters with such unreasonable people and cheered in approval. The book has ten chapters, followed by a very short conclusion about seeking God. The ten chapters deal with the case for faith, and the lack of credibility in the case for unbelief, by examining such aspects as the overconfidence of atheists in the decline of Christianity, the fact that genuine faith is not blind but is eminently reasonable, the fact that good and evil are objective realities and not illusions, the fact that science and the Bible both point to the existence of a beginning, the fact that life was not accidental (looking at the fine tuning of the universe and the anthropic principle), looking at the meaning and purpose of life, the reality of Jesus and the resurrection from a historical perspective, examining the powerful historical witness of scripture, the way that believers who have felt the grace of God show that same grace to others, and then closing with accounts of former skeptics who have been converted to a faith in God and in scripture.
Overall, this book is of the most interest to those who share the apologetic interests of the author. The more a reader is familiar with such figures as Victor Frankl, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, William Lane Craig, Will Durant, or Josh McDowell, the more references a reader will anticipate at least a little bit in advance. Remarkably, the author makes his case on the reliability of the New Testament in large part from the agnostic critic Bart Ehrman, using an unsympathetic observer to Christianity as a powerful witness to the historical veracity of the truth claims of the New Testament texts, an aspect of the argument that ought to be comforting to believers and deeply challenging to skeptics. By showing support for the case for belief from those who are not believers themselves, Broocks makes the case for unbelief even more untenable than it would be otherwise by selecting only from friendly sources. God’s Not Dead is a pointed challenge to atheists and a supply depot of witty comments and a summary of evidence from scientific, philosophical, and historical grounds that bolster the case for Christianity that ought to help guide the honest seeker, encourage the believer, and challenge the skeptic by puncturing their undeserved sense of intellectual superiority over believers. This book deserves and will probably find a large audience and help fuel the fires in our long-running culture wars, encouraging the faithful even as it warns overconfident atheists of the often underestimated strength of the intellectual case for Christianity and its enduring and praiseworthy cultural influence.