Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: Answers for Atheists, Agnostics, and Other Thoughtful Skeptics: Dialogs About Christian Faith and Life by E. Calvin Beisner

Synopsis: Christians and non-Christians struggle with vital questions about God and themselves. Honest questions deserve honest answers. And in an age when people often have little acquaintance with Christianity, the answers must be especially clear and understandable--no religious jargon, just straightforward truth. In this unusual book, frank dialogs between a non-Christian and his Christian friend move intriguingly from topic to topic, covering such pertinent questions as: Is there a God? How do we know? So, why does evil exist? Why should modern man believe in the Bible rather than evolution or in miracles rather than scientific law? What are the evidences for Christianity? If Christianity is true, why has so much evil been done in its name? Can God really forgive me for what I've done? Answers for Atheists presupposes no prior understanding of Christian vocabulary or beliefs but concisely explains each new term or teaching as it comes into the dialog. Invaluable both for the unbeliever looking for answers and for the believer who wants to learn how to better answer friends' questions--and his own. (from the back of the book)

Review: Written as a conversation between two characters (Jim, a Christian, and Dave, a Non-Christian), this is intended to help Christians learn how to intelligently, compassionately, and logically answer questions about the facts of Christianity - the reasonableness and validity of the Bible, Evolution vs. Creation, and why Faith makes sense. This is a lofty and noble goal. However, while it contains large quantity of information, the conservation format comes off cheesy and unrealistic. It's sort of like rehearsing a conversation in your head - it never goes as planned in real life. Real people don't respond the way Dave did - with mutual respect and inquiry. Mostly, people believe what they want and aren't open to logic. Add to that elementary arguments with glaring holes and you have an unhelpful book for study - although most of those holes have been adequately explained in more modern Apologetic books (see Lee Stroble's Case for Christ). The list of books in the back is a helpful place to find resources for further study, but again, in the 20+ years since this was published, academics has moved on and much of those are either out-of-date or out-of-touch or don't address current controversies. I will note that this book was written in 1985 (with a 1993 revised edition) and was written for missionaries in the former Soviet Union. I gather it was useful for that purpose but for those of us in America during the 2010s, not so much. Not a bad source if it's all you can get, but with many other, much better, books on Apologetics out there, this one is not worth the time.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-89107-700-6
Date Finished: 12-22-2015
Pages: 191

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