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Is God Past His Sell By Date? (Popular Christian Apologetics Collections) [Paperback]

John Blanchard
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jun 2004 Popular Christian Apologetics Collections
From time to time, philosophers, scientists, authors and other movers and shakers have hit the headlines with claims that God is non-existent, irrelevant or 'past his sell-by date'. This book has been written specifically for those who take a similar line, who think that God is non-existent or irrelevant, or who are in some way skeptical about the whole issue. Although on the same theme as Does God believe in Atheists? this is an entirely new book designed to be given to those who consider themselves to be atheists and to challenge their view. Each chapter ends with a 'witness' who from their own personal experience support the claim made by the author in the chapter. Co-founder of Christian Ministries, Dr John Blanchard is an internationally known Christian author, teacher and conference speaker. Nearly fifteen million copies of his publications are in print in some forty languages. He received an award for his best-selling book 'Does God believe in Atheists?' as the best UK Christian Book for 2001. 'The book is completely up to date, deals with the many issues of our age, exposing the inadequacy of science to solve the problems of today and therefore becomes a good tool in the hands of Christians. It is not only a book for atheists and agnostics, it is very much for Christians to read in order to give a reason for the hope that is in us. Thankfully there is hope and this book not only demolishes, but also builds up a great Gospel presentation.' - Christian Herald

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press & Services Ltd; First edition (1 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0852345003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0852345009
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 13.6 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 627,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blanchard buffets Hawkings and Dawkins 5 Nov 2004
Format:Paperback
We live in a secular post-Christian world. Our moral code is still basically Christian. In many countries, however, belief that God made heaven and earth, that man is here to live, die and then be judged eternally by God, that He sent his son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of those who believe in him, is seen as naive and wishful. Witness European reactions to George W Bush, who is characterised as stupid, largely for his literal Christian beliefs.
John Blanchard has written a devastating defence of Biblical Christianity. A PhD in science, he points out the absurdity of the atheist position. It really is a blind leap of faith to believe that the universe came from nothing, that it - and our human lives - have no purpose. He truly demolishes atheist scientists, such as Dawkins and Hawkings. He addresses questions as to how God could permit evil and suffering.
Blanchard's strength is that he has been an unbeliever himself and can address all the objections of the atheist. He writes in a cool conversational style. The book is punctuated by the personal experiences of a number of people who came to faith themselves.
Blanchard's book is a huge challenge to anyone who does not bow the knee to our Lord Jesus Christ.
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rotten Fruit 3 Dec 2006
By Timbo
Format:Paperback
Would that it were possible to award zero stars for a book. `Sell-By' is difficult to refute not because it is good - it isn't; the entire volume is a morass of fallacies and misrepresentations - but because the author deluges the reader in such a Niagara of falsehoods that writing a review that could effectively address them all would require something six times as long as the original book. Who has time?

My review must therefore be superficial, but I'll try to convey the problems.

Blanchard's two favourite fallacies are the Appeal to Authority and the quote-out-of-context. The book seems at times entirely composed of these two alone. The former says `this impressive person believes X so you should too' and the latter takes a quote shorn of context, to give a misleading impression.

Key instance: on page 69 in Chapter 4, `The Science Thing' Albert Einstein is quoted to sound respectful of religion generally.

Actually, Einstein thought Christianity was twaddle. Why should we regard him as an authority on the subject anyway since he was a physicist, not a theologian? Not only that, Einstein even made mistakes within his own field of specialisation, as even geniuses do. These few points give some idea of just why the fallacy of Appeal to Authority and the quote-out-of-context ARE fallacies. Blanchard is misrepresenting him.

Ad hominem fallacy - attacking a person rather than their argument. Example: Bertrand Russell. In Chapter 5 Russell is misrepresented - using another quote out of context - to sound like a mercurial flake who couldn't make up his mind about anything. In fact he was a tremendous polymath, and if he did change his views on subjects, perhaps that simply shows that he continued thinking.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent defence of the Christian faith. 25 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
This book by John Blanchard, is a shorter version of his extensive volume entitled 'Does God Believe in Athiests?' Personally, I found this an even better book, owing to it being much more easier to comprehend.

Blanchard examines different arguments that are presented by people as proof against the existence of God. These arguments include the teaching that science disproves God, the theory of evolution, and how can a compassionate God allow so much suffering. In response, Blanchard gives clear, logical answers showing the weaknesses and problems associated with such ideas. As you read, you will note how Blanchard has thoroughly researched the different subjects, with lots of quotes, illustrations and facts to support his evidence. In addition, each chapter ends with an independant testimony, relating to the subject covered.

The book ends by presenting the greatest argument for God's existence today - the life and work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is then an invitation to trust in Him.

The book is well researched, organised and very readable. It is simple to understand and contains important lessons for people today. Highly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 1.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rotten Fruit 20 Sep 2006
By Timbo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Would that it were possible to award zero stars for a book. `Sell-By' is difficult to refute not because it is good - it isn't; the entire volume is a morass of fallacies and misrepresentations - but because the author deluges the reader in such a Niagara of falsehoods that writing a review that could effectively address them all would require something six times as long as the original book. Blanchard may have devoted his life full time to churning out this dishonest rubbish, but who else has the time and the stamina to call his bluff?

My review must therefore be superficial, but I'll try to convey something of the problems.

Blanchard's two favourite fallacies are the Appeal to Authority and the quote-out-of-context. The book seems at times entirely composed of these two alone. The former works by saying `this impressive person believes X so you should too' and the latter takes a quote giving a particular impression, without showing us the background to the utterance, which can frequently change things.

Key instance: on page 69 in Chapter 4, `The Science Thing' Blanchard quotes a physicist who said `A legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist. Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.' We are then informed `His name was Albert Einstein.'

Implying that anything Einstein said must be true. But why should it? Einstein is expressing a personal view here, not any official tenet of the scientific community. He is reaching dangerously out of his own area of expertise into one in which he is no more qualified than you or I - theology. Why should his views on religion have any more merit than his views on cookery, film noir, or maggot-breeding? Any of us may know a hundred times as much on the subject in question.

Did Einstein make mistakes even in his own field of specialisation? Yes - turning up his nose at Quantum Mechanics, largely because of its so-called Uncertainty Principle, famously saying `I refuse to believe God plays dice with the universe'. Quantum Mechanics has since become the most successful theory in the history of science.

Also, Einstein was nobody Blanchard should consider an ally since he thought theistic religions were laughable nonsense. He did use the word `God' but meant a deistic entity, not anything remotely like Yahweh the Hebrew thunder-god, so Blanchard is misrepresenting him.

Ad hominem fallacy - attacking a person rather than their argument. Example: Bertrand Russell. In Chapter 5 Russell is misrepresented - using another quote out of context - to sound like a mercurial flake who couldn't make up his mind about anything. In fact he was a tremendous polymath, and if he did change his views on subjects, perhaps that simply shows that he continued thinking.

Scientists and historians are quoted out of context ad infinitum throughout the book. Even where their views are not being misrepresented, they are all too often stating personal opinions rather than the conclusions of the scientific community as a whole.

The `Burden of Proof' principle is misrepresented and turned completely upside down. According to Blanchard, non-believers must disprove his assertions. Guilty until proven innocent?

A theologian - Keith Ward - pronounces on laws of Physics, and talks freewheeling nonsense about giant carrots that has nothing to do with what science says about the origins and `appearance' of laws of Physics.

There's heavy reliance on `super numbers', huge digits illustrating the improbability of whatever the author wishes to disprove. But statistics are routinely abused everywhere. We aren't shown how these calculations were made, and they are presented out of context. The chapters attacking evolution and such commit the Either/Or fallacy - amongst others - as though proving evolution false means that creationism is true. It doesn't. And the creationist arguments have been destroyed hundreds of times on the Internet. Try TalkOrigins.org.

Heavy reliance upon `testimonies' from Christians. These include the usual suspects: the man who had atheism `rammed down his throat' in childhood, the former muslim, the one-time `weak Christian'. But testimonies prove nothing except `here's someone who believes X'. Search on the Internet under `ex-Christian'. You will drown in testimonies.

Weasel words. `Scholar' has positive connotations and `Intellectual' negative. Throughout the book `scholar' is only used to describe Blanchard's allies; `intellectual' is only used to describe enemies. Thus Christian/Scholar = Goodie! Atheist/Intellectual = Baddie!

Intimidation and Emotional blackmail. Frequently Blanchard will challenge his readers thus: "Do you wish to argue with this - and are you qualified to?" This is intimidation, pure and simple, and is the core of the Appeal to Authority. And later in the book Blanchard tells a modern story of deceased souls protesting to God about their fate. This tale is designed to make us feel guilty about even questioning our lot, which is totally wrong. It also seems to suggest that a person must have experienced a thing before they are qualified to judge, but we don't select juries on that basis. Finally, the story is not scripture anyway, so it's irrelevant.

I'd love to go on, but limited space prevents me.

`Sell-By' is an evil book. It is immensely dishonest from start to finish, and the real tragedy of a work like this is the number of people who, nave and unfamiliar with the tricks being deployed against them, will be duped. Well meaning people who were only seeking the truth these pages are bereft of. Mercifully, sceptics and others who are better schooled in recognising the traps will not be deceived.

Incidentally, to risk committing an `ad hominem' myself, in response to another reviewer, Dr Blanchard's own website tells us that his PhD is in Divinity, not Science, and, worse, that it came from Pacific International University, a notorious creationist `diploma mill' whose own website warns that its qualifications are not recognised by the academic community. It looks suspiciously as though `Dr' Blanchard's own qualifications are bogus. Whoops.

If there really is good evidence for Christianity, it's somewhere else, alas. Truly a text of lies.
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