Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (7/4)

It appears that atheism and secularism is on the rise today. At times it even appears that atheism is the rising ‘religion’. So is atheism without fault? Nancy Pearcey doesn’t think so and this book is about what she thinks are flaws the atheism worldview has.

Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God SubstitutesPearcey starts with a story. A story of how the typical christian youth who grows up in a Christian environment finds himself giving up his faith at an evangelical college. Pearcey then tells her story of how she, an atheist became a christian. Pearcey wants to share with the readers some of the thoughts she had as someone who was searching for the truth. Herein are the 5 principles that Pearcey will elaborate in more detail in the chapters ahead.

Pearcey first starts by identifying the most fundamental problem of atheism. And that is the problem of idolatry. Pearcey shows how even the atheist who cries out against the idea of God, makes a god in their own image and likeness. Pearcey shows the readers how the bible has already clearly shown us this in Romans 1.

Having identified the idol of atheism, Pearcey then teaches readers the implications of just beliefs. More importantly, Pearcey lets readers know that a deviation away from God’s idea of humanity or this world inadvertently brings about harmful and destructive behaviours. For example, if we believe that human is simply a product of evolution, then when we declare we love somebody, it can be nothing more than dopamine flooding our caudate nucleus. It may feel significant to us, but it is really nothing more than a bunch of neurotransmitters flooding our neuroreceptors. Any deviation from God leaves us with a beliefs that makes us less than we actually are.

The next principles Pearcey introduces is whether such beliefs contradicts anything we know about the world. This can be clearly seen when atheists say things like mortality or conscience is not objectively real, but the world will be much better if we live as if it was objectively real. In essence, no one can live our their belief to the fullest. This is also linked to the fourth principle, which looks at whether a belief is self-contradictory or not. This is most clearly seen in relativism, where everything is relative, but the statement itself. Lastly, since no belief can be self-standing, there will always be things they will need to “borrow” from the christian faith. This sums up the 5 flaws of atheism.

This book is most useful for high-school or college level youths. This will really them to think through about their faith and also about what atheism really is about. This will help them think critically about atheism and help them see their faith in a new light. Pearcey bring the burden of proof onto the atheist and ask them to show christians how their belief is able to stand up on it’s own and at the same time shows how the christian faith is able to meet all of the test. Recommended reading for almost all christians, since we have often raised of the rise of the nones.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

If you’re interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Why I am not an Atheist (1/4)

There are many reasons why I am a christian, and there are also many reasons why others belong to their religions. However, are there reasons for one to be not an atheist? This book says there is.

Why I am not an AtheistWithin this book, 11 reasons were given in this book, each explored in one chapter. These 11 chapters are essentially testimonies given by the 11 persons. Each of them brings with them their experience and their reasons for not being an atheist.

As I read these chapters, I found that the authors do not write exclusively within their own sphere, as I had expected. For example, the biologist in the first chapter approach the reason why he is not an atheist by examining the philosophical basis of science than approaching the topic with biological evidences. Whereas in the 2nd chapter, the university chaplain uses more biological  reasons/evidences to explain why he is not an atheist.

All in all, I found the chapters to be readable, but not terribly a good read. However, I found chapter 11 by Ravi Zacharias to be excellent and certain one of the best chapters within the book. I think readers should really take this book to be a book that shares individual testimonies and reasons why they are not atheist. I have found their own argument to be logical and well argued, though not everyone will agree with their reasons.

I would think that this book would most likely suit those who are agonist or are christians who are studying in the university. they would not only find good reasons why someone is not an atheist, they will also find reasons why someone should (or must) be a christian. Those who are ardent atheist might not necessarily appreciate this book.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Letters to an Atheist: Wrestling with Faith (3/10)

If you have listened in to any debate between an atheist with a christian, often times the debates centred around the ‘notia’ aspect (knowledge), while that is not the only way to try to convert others to Christianity, that might be the most publicised way to do so. So what other ways can a faithful christian try to do? Scores of books on apologetics have tried to fill in this gap but too many a times, they too are leaning too much into the ‘notia’ aspect too. Letters to an Atheist

Which is why I think, this book ought to the read by those who wants to do just that. If you have heard about the author (if you don’t, google/wiki it), Peter Kreeft, you would have know that he is a professor of philosophy which might terrify some, and perhaps makes the rest of us wonder whether or not we should even attempt to read this book. But have no fear, it’s not as difficult as you expect.

In a series of letters, Kreeft corresponds with Michael, an atheist, trying to have a ‘debate’ about each others’ faith. Though Michael is a fictional character, it is by no means an ‘artificial’ debate. Within this book, Kreeft approaches the topic with rigour (what I term as hard [or technical]  philosophical approach) but that is not the focus of the book, far more often, Kreeft approaches the topics using what I call the soft (or laymen) philosophical approach, for example, Kreeft uses the beauty and desire as argument/pointers for the existence of God. Sure, some will find this a little difficult to digest, but Kreeft has consciously (and deliberately) left out the most technical and difficult bits so as to make this book more accessible for the masses.

What is more, included in the last section of the book Kreeft answers against some of the questions often raised against christianity such as hell, the problem of evil, the harm religion has done in history and others. I found this section exceptionally helpful and had it not been included it would have made the book a lot less helpful.  Although these questions are not tackled in length by Kreeft, he answers them succinctly and to the point. Some might want to see this portion expanded more, but this was not the purpose of the book and should be sufficient for most.

So if you’re thinking of reaching out to the atheists around you with some meaningful conversations, do give this book a read, it’ll help you to be able to have good time conversing with them, checking each others’ presuppositions and its effect on our day-to-day living.

Rating: 4.25/5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – The Pagan Heart of Today’s Culture (25/7)

What do you think atheism, postmodernism and gnosticism have in common? On the surface they might seem to be poles apart but Peter Jones thinks otherwise, and attempts to shows it in this booklet.

First Jones goes through each of the terms, stating the definition, explanation and a brief history into each of them. Then Jones introduces the term ‘perennial philosophy’ which binds all of them together. Briefly it is a system of Oneism, where everything shares the same nature and are essentially one, as compared to Twoism, where the creator-creature distinction is apparent and distinct.The Pagan Heart of Today's Culture

Jones then argues how atheism, postmodernism and gnosticism all belong to the Oneism sphere, and then responded with the christian Twoism claims and how these 2 systems will always be at odds with each other.  Finally Jones ends why showing that although these 3 worldview (postmodern, gnosticism and atheism) looks really different, they are not really ‘new’ in the sense that they are really bring us back to the garden of Eden, where these two are clashing against each other yet again.

Those who would really gain from this booklet are those who are willing to put in the hard work to think. interspersed within the booklet are numerous discussion questions that encourage the readers to digest each small section and think about what they have read. Do not aim to look to the booklet for answers, it’s not meant to do that, it will guide you in the right direction through.

One weakness for this booklet is that I found the arguments not very convincing, however, the grouping of the three worldview under Oneism certainly is something very new and ought to be further explored to strengthen the claims. Recommended for those who would like to explore within this area, and likes/hopes to think deeply over what he has read.

Rating: 3.25/5

Update: If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping)

Not sure where you can get it other than on the  If not, you can still get them at the publisher’s website. If you’re aware of any, do let me know!

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw (12/7)

Books

If you have ever tried to share gospel with an atheist, one of the most frequent argument you will hear raised against the Christian faith is that of the moral argument between God’s benevolence and omnipotence. Often it is argued that if suffering exist, God is either powerless to stop it or God is not as good as who He claims He is, and therefore he is not fit to be worshipped. In light of debunking this argument, Norman Geisler and Daniel McCoy sets out to point out what they think is the fatal flaw within this string of argument.9780801016462

Fatal Flaw takes this one argument and elaborates on it, quite extensively. The authors showed the depth of their research by the numerous and sometimes lengthy quotes from the atheist, often quoting from the Four Horseman of atheism (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett) but also Bertrand Russell, Friedrich Nietzsche, Dan Barker, just to name a few.

In the first chapter, Geisler and McCoy sets the context of the book and examines briefly the flow and the gist of the book. Thereafter, it’s followed with a 6 chapters analysis of the moral argument, with each chapter flowing from the previous point made. Finally, a ‘summary’ of the points that actually shows how among these actually contradicts what they are argument against. Geisler and McCoy then raised some of the objections against the atheists they answering against and ends with a call for them to examine what they have written about and how this argument is not a good enough for the atheists to reject the christian faith.

Frankly, I feel the book a bit too long,with too many quotations and too repetitive, many a times what was quoted in the beginning of the chapter is quoted again for the end when a summary for the chapter is made. In their defence, I’m sure they are trying to show that they have done their research thoroughly, and have sought to read and understood the argument from the primary text. In reading the quotations they have referred to, I have felt the sting and wrath of the attacks made against the christian faith. But one does wonder if there a more concise way of summarising them could have been more helpful. It was at times a drag to read through all the quotations with seemingly ‘no light coming out of a very (very) long tunnel.

I felt also that the argument was dragged a little too long, and did not answer the question raised very effectively. In fact, i see that the main argument was raised very early in the book and should have been the main thrust of argument rather than using it at times within the book.

More alarmingly, I counted that there was only around 5 books within the bibliography that was remotely close to the topic of apologetics, which is striking for a book that sets out to attempt this task. No doubt, they are trying to put forth a new argument against the atheists, but I’m not quite if this argument is good enough. Would it be better to show why this new method is necessary? Or perhaps a combination of showing the flaws of the argument along with Christianity’s answer against it?

In sum, I think this book would help those who have read the New Atheism deeply or would like to attempt to talk with those who have, but be warned, only those who preserve to the end would be rewarded.

Ratings: 3.5/5

If you’re interested, you can get this book here, and here (free international shipping)

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.