Book Review: Is God Just A Human Invention?

Is God Just A Human Invention?:  And Seventeen Other Questions Raised By The New Atheists, edited by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow

This may be an unpopular opinion, but in my view the “new Atheists” have been solidly overrated.  If I am in general critical of many of the religious trends of the contemporary world, a lot of these changes tend to most strongly affect both those who are strong on biblical religion as well as those who are most stridently atheist, with a great number of people who might have been attracted to atheism in the past (or who might have remained tepid and lukewarm Christians in the pews) adopting an a la carte faith that is heavy on new age spiritualism and inflated claims of self-importance.  That said, the questions and problems that New Atheism brings up are helpful to deal with as people of faith and this book does a good job at providing answers for common questions and objections raised by atheists.  In many ways it is a catechism of sorts when it comes to apologetics with atheists, and as such it is the sort of book that is easy to recommend to those who like reading apologetics literature in general as I do.

This book is a bit more than 250 pages and is divided into two parts.  The book begins with an introduction of two Oxford Atheists, one of whom became a notable Christian theologian and the other of whom became a noted New Atheist.  After that the first part of the book consists of a variety of authors including William Dembski, Jay Richards, and Gary Habermas dealing with the following questions from atheists:  Is faith irrational?  Are Science and Christianity at odds?  Are miracles possible?  Is Darwinian Evolution the only game in town?  How did the universe begin?  How did life begin?  Why is the universe just right for life?  Has science shown there is no soul?  Is God just a human invention?  After that a different group of authors including Randy Alcorn and Douglas Groothuis deal with various moral and biblical challenges presented to Christianity by the New Atheists, such as:  Is religion dangerous?  Does God intend for us to keep slaves?  Is hell a divine torture chamber?  Is God a genocidal bully?  Is Christianity the cause of dangerous sexual repression?  Can people be good without God?  Is evil only a problem for Christians?  What good is Christianity?  Why Jesus instead of the flying spaghetti monster?  After that the authors give a conclusion about two ordinary believers, namely themselves, and then there are appendices that include resources for engaging the new atheism and thinking about God (i), dealing with doubt on the journey to faith (ii), and the question of contradiction and corruption of the biblical texts (iii), as well as notes and some information about the authors.

In truth, I have never met an atheist or ever encountered one at all in the course of my existence, and you never have either.  The reason for this is that everyone views something as the highest authority and whatever that is is their God.  And while this book deals very well with logical questions and the questions of the intellect when it comes to apologetics, it misses the real darkness of the hearts of humanity when it comes to why people act or persist in unbelief.  This is the sort of book that is best for believers, to demonstrate the intellectual validity of a belief in a higher power in general as well as the God of the Bible in particular.  And that is in general the case for apologetics works as a whole.  Those who have shut their minds to God will get little out of it.  Like most books that are made, and a great many I happen to enjoy, this book is preaching the choir, taking the intellectual objections of the New Atheists as the real reason for their professed unbelief and not really hitting them in the darkness of their hearts and in their rebellion against godly moral authority that lies at the basis of so much contemporary problems.  But to address those matters this would have to be a far different book, one not written by philosophers but by those willing to tackle the real objections that people have to God and His authority over creation, including ourselves.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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