on 26 November 2008
This is the book version of the authors' 12-point presentation to demonstrate step-by-step that Christianity is true.
Reading this book as an atheist I found the first half of the book particularly hard going, where they attempt to demonstrate from first principles that God does exist. This is not because they tackle particularly difficult concepts, or because they write in a hard-to-understand way - they don't. Rather it's because the philosophical and scientific objections to their point of view are often dealt with in a rather patronising and smug way, sometimes missing the point of the objection. For example, a few scientific theories are described as "couterintuitive" or "against common sense", and therefore it takes more faith to believe them than Christianity. Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever studied Quantum Mechanics or Relativity knows, just because something is counterintuitive doesn't mean it's not accurate.
After about my fifth exaggerated reaction to something they had written (clasping my hand over my eyes, yelping out loud, etc), I thought to myself "this must be how it feels to be a Christian reading The God Delusion". The style of writing in The God Delusion can be patronising and smug at times, and simplifies theological objections to Dawkins' point of view. But just as I would highly recommend The God Delusion to anyone, and insist they force their way through the bits they don't like, I did the same with this book.
Once the authors have demonstrated to their own satisfaction that this is a monotheistic universe (and therefore Judaism, Christianity or Islam are the only religions that could possibly be correct) they then start to go through the bible and explain why they believe Christianity is true. At this point, I was very pleased that I'd managed to slog through the first half - because the second half was extremely engaging and made its point in a very accessible way.
The old testament and the new testament are both discussed, and their reliability assessed. The life of Jesus and whether he really was the son of God is also covered (in quite some detail), as well as the reliability of the Apostles and other witnesses. The whole second half of the book was a lot more convincing than the first half, and really gave me a much better understanding of Christianity (and Christians!).
Overall, I did find it frustrating to read - but rewarding. I would recommend to Christians, atheists, and those of non-Christian faiths as an insight into Christian beliefs. Will it convert anyone to Christianity? Possibly, but it didn't convert me.
on 14 February 2013
This book was given to me by a young Earth Creationist in an attempt to stop me from going to hell (for not following his denomination) and honestly, you can tell with the very title what kind of a book it's going to be. "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist" demonstrates the general ignorance that this book posses. It's smugly takes that evolution could never have happened despite that fact only 16,000 species were saved on the Ark and yet we have many, MANY more species today....so how did they come about if not evolution? Yeah, if you have any knowledge of history, natural history, archaeology or simply a good dose of common sense, you will instantly be appalled by how the authors blatantly ignore these things in the books.
This book made me feel physically sick, not least because of the 'conversation' at the very end of the book between an atheist and a Christian. Their arguing of course and while the made up atheist presents good arguments, the Christian smugly parrots the same tired old religious arguments. It actually ends with the atheist pointing out their free to do what they like with regards to faith and the Christian agrees, but also say that despite how much god loves them, he's going to be forced to send them to hell. You can almost taste the sickly sweet sentiment in those last few words. Yes, their brilliant argument for worshiping the author's 'god' is that he will send you to hell if you don't. It doesn't matter (they stress this a lot) if your a good person who's tried to do their best for others, god couldn't care less about that. He would much rather you worshiped him even if your a murderer/rapist.
this book....I could barely read it, it was so incredibly biased, it was just beyond the pail. If it had been a lot less biased, focused on areas they actually know rather than subjects they are poorly equipped to discuss, then, maybe it wouldn't have been quite as awful. Only Christians will like this, fanatics will love the whole thing, normal Christians may enjoy the theological discussions but non Christians will HATE this and it's honestly not worth your bother reading.
I'm only glad that most Christians are not this ignorant or self righteous.
The book is well written and clearly tells you in each section what you will be reading about. Although I wouldn't say I found this an enjoyable or in some respect easy book to read, I do think it was worth while. Having been raised a Christian all my life I was familiar with the biblical references and the context of what they were talking about throughout the book, I don't know if this is the best book to read if you are an atheist and are exploring the idea of religion for the first time. Personally when I read it I felt it was more suited to an audience which was religious but perhaps wanted their faith reinforced or even to gain a deeper understanding of the bible. As the blur states it helps come up with evidence for your faith and reasons why god is real, and that is what it does.
As mentioned before the layout of the book was well organised and meant you could easily read a section and then continued with your day, I can't really compare it with other religious books I have read as this would be my first but I thought it was good and felt enlightening even if it did read a little like a self-help (of which I have read).
The reason I have only given it three stars is because its not a book I would read again in a hurry or perhaps ever, this is most likely a personable thing because although I am a big reader I tend to read fiction, and light-hearted fiction at that. This for me is perhaps something I would re-read snippets rather than the whole book again.
If you buy the book I hope you enjoy it and I would recommend it if you are religious or newly religious
on 6 February 2009
As an atheist with an open mind to be proven wrong, I read this book on recommendation from my Christian brother. After ploughing through it, my atheism remains and is strengthened. I will try to be brief.
The authors state that the Old Testament is a record of fact and is the word of God. Jesus himself accepted it as such: "...there is no question he considered the entire Old Testament to be the inerrant word of God.." (p. 356). It follows then that Jesus was perfectly Okay with the following:
The Old Testament God "..demanded and sanctioned human sacrifice (Leviticus 27. 28 - 29, Judges 11. 29 - 40, 2 Samuel 21. 1 -9). He killed the first born of every Egyptian family (Exodus 12. 29). He sanctioned slavery (Exodus 21. 2 0- 6; Leviticus 25. 44 - 46), He commanded the killing of witches (Exodus 22.18), death for heresy, (Exodus 22-20), death for violating the Sabbath (Exodus 31. 14 - 15), death for cursing one's parents (Leviticus 20. 9 ), death for adultery (Leviticus20.10), death for blasphemy (Leviticus 24.16) and death by stoning for unchastity at the time of marriage (Deuteronomy 22. 20 - 21) ( see page 77 Atheism: The case against God by George H Smith). Death for `picking up sticks on the Sabbath' is surely the best example of injustice on a cosmic scale. All this from a `morally perfect' being, as the authors describe him.
When God kills the entire population of the Earth, including babies and children, by drowning, this is apparently fine - an example of `goodness' from a morally perfect being, but when Hitler does something comparable, he is seen as evil. God and Hitler show an identical lack of morality if `morality' is to mean anything at all.
Unbelievers like myself can only look forward to `eternal punishment' . As the authors state, it doesn't matter what good deeds you do, doesn't matter if you are harmless, polite, tolerant of others, help people. What matters is only that you accept Jesus as God - another example of God's `morality' - belief being more important than non-violence, good deeds, good intentions, kindness etc. To hell with all that and to hell for non-believers. I don't have enough sadism to be a Christian.
As we have now discovered that the Old Testament is undoubtedly true, we must not only accept that mass murder is `good' we also have to accept that some truly laughable absurdities are true. My absolute favourite is Balaam's donkey that gets upset by the way her master is treating her and tells him so!
"What have I done unto thee that thou hast smitten me these three times? " (Numbers 22. 28). They continue this conversation for several more verses.
The authors may be able to talk the hind legs off a donkey, but can they really persuade anyone that some time ago, a donkey had a conversation with a man? Apparently yes! They have `proven ` that the Old Testament is `inerrant' so it must be true.
The authors tell us with great confidence that the archaeology and the scriptures match up perfectly. That's odd! I've read at least two books that go into great detail as to how the Bible is wrong in so many ways. One of these books is `It Ain't Necessarily So: Investigating the truth of the Biblical past' by Matthew Sturgess and John McCarthy, the other is The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein
"..Doubt may be an unpleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.." said Voltaire. The authors have utter certainty - every word of the Bible is true, every other religion is false, atheism is false, evolutionary theory is false...I don't have enough gullibility to be a Christian
Let's talk about evolutionary theory now. The book tells us that all the research done since Darwin is rubbish. God created the universe, the world, the animals and everything else. Okay, let's say that they are right, despite the massive amount of evidence to the contrary. What do we see in God's creation? Perfect killing machines, birds of prey, sharks, predators, animals dying in agony as their bodies are ripped apart, wasps that lay their eggs in animals that are subsequently eaten alive, their deaths delayed to benefit the survival of the wasp, bacteria and viruses that cause dreadful diseases, the constant struggle for survival. This is your `perfect moral being' at it again! But wait, maybe I just don't fully understand. Maybe, at the beginning of creation, Lions and Tigers were vegetarians in the garden of Eden, snakes and donkeys had convivial conversations, everything was hunky dory until Adam ate the wrong apple and annoyed God enough to make nature a dreadful place, allowing bunny rabbits to be ripped to shreds for centuries to come, until he decides to stop it. I don't have enough stupidity to be a Christian.
The authors bring out the old arguments about `irreducible complexity' that have been proven to be empty. They say that feathers are for flying and could not have evolved slowly as `half a feather' is useless. Feathers have to be a `creation'. Tell a flightless Ostrich that feathers are only good for flying! He'll tell you (remember that it's perfectly sensible to accept that animals can talk!) that his feathers are for insulation only, that he descended from birds that could fly and that he doesn't need to anymore as he is so big and has nothing to fly away from or to. He'll also tell you that his feathers evolved as insulation which later helped his ancestors to glide short distances. Feathers aren't `irreducibly complex' Any basic book on evolution will show why the eye is not `irreducibly complex' too. I don't have enough ignorance to be a Christian
Page after page, the authors keep going on about the falsity of`relativism'. This is probably the only thing that atheists and Christians can agree on, yet they seem to be accusing atheists of it. Atheists aren't relativists. They disbelieve in all gods, from all the cultures of the world. The authors object to `tolerance' because `..tolerance now means that you're supposed to accept every belief as true.." (p46) The true meaning of tolerance is allowing others to believe what the hell they like without persecution, even if those beliefs may be obvious drivel.
According to the authors, atheists can't be moral. If the universe is simply 'material', so too are moral beliefs, logic, reason etc. We need a God to exist for us to understand the meaning of 'good'. I for one am sticking to my 'chemical'/material morals as I don't want to have anything to do with a God that has sent my kind hearted, loving mother to eternal punishment just because she couldn't believe in the primitive idea of human sacrifice. I would rather go to hell than spend eternity with the God that created it.