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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed by an atheist
I write a blog called Geoff's Shorts. Over the last year or so I've tried to read at least one book I disagree with a month, generally on Christianity. It's an odd hobby. Sometimes it's laborious work. On several occasions I've had fun combing texts for errors, contradictions and absurdities. Some I've broadly liked, but separating where I agree with the author and where...
Published on 5 April 2012 by Geoff Lillis

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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Christianity?
An interesting and at times funny, but ultimately disappointing book that does raise a few questions. I do wonder who exactly it is aimed at? Two excellent chapters on the improbability of the universe's beginning by chance certainly point to some form of Creator but they do not reveal what this Creator is like. As the evolutionary biologist J.B.S Haldane is supposedly...
Published 21 months ago by Eutychus


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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed by an atheist, 5 April 2012
This review is from: If God, Then What? (Paperback)
I write a blog called Geoff's Shorts. Over the last year or so I've tried to read at least one book I disagree with a month, generally on Christianity. It's an odd hobby. Sometimes it's laborious work. On several occasions I've had fun combing texts for errors, contradictions and absurdities. Some I've broadly liked, but separating where I agree with the author and where we differ has always seemed a tough review to write. I'd like to tell you why Jesus and the Eyewitnesses and Atheist Delusions are both worth reading despite my disagreements in areas, but It's easier to point at ID authors who think all languages originated at the Tower of Babel.

A few weeks ago, after a year of off-and-on blogging, I was asked if I'd read the recently released "If God Then What?" and discuss with the author on a radio show called Unbelievable?. Despite my accent I do love the sound of my own voice so I leapt at the opportunity. I expected a fun week of debunking, drawing up lists of flawed arguments, rehashing old debates and preparing to retaliate for slights against my fellow atheists. I'd heard the author, Andrew Wilson, on radio shows before and he seemed the sort who'd enjoy a vigorous debate.

Without wishing to give away too much, my opening words on the book were 'disappointingly good'. On a show that leans towards the debate format I found myself in the awkward position of thinking Wilson had done a useful job. I went so far to say that those considering a book on apologetics should seek his out.

It's natural and important for us to want to talk about what ideas we hold dear, and I understand the drive to evangelise. Some Christians can talk about their faith quite well. Some are great at winning arguments. Some frankly trespass on hate speech, though in fairness these criticisms can apply to many outside Christianity's fold.

I think this is a book a parent could give to a teenager and entertain reasonable hopes of them reading it through, with a better than average chance of having a decent discussion as a result. He's done well to keep the book to an appropriate length for such situations. He hasn't sought to bring entirely new arguments forward, rather he's collected several and presented them in an accessible, readable and engaging fashion. Most books in this genre seem to try to win conversations or close them down. Wilson seems to be trying to open them up. The negative comments on non believers, so frequent among his competitors, are absent here. There are no attacks on science or hamfisted links with Hitler, and he makes good efforts to show how much weight his arguments will bear as opposed to painting each as a certain proof.

Obviously this is written from a Christian perspective and a non-Christian would develop the points differently. There is nothing wrong in the author having a worldview and expressing it, I often do so on my blog, and Wilson makes no attempt to paint this as a disinterested view of the questions involved. Where Wilson stands above some others is that he has avoided the trap of bending facts to suit his points - he even jokes how much easier it would have been to quotemine Hawkings rather than tackle a chapter on fine tuning. I think he's misunderstood Dawking's Weasel program, but the error doesn't affect the point he's aiming for and it comes across as an honest mistake. I put time and hard work into finding flaws and that's really the best I can find.

If you're a Christian and you'd like to share your faith with others, buy this book. It's the best I've read in the genre and extends a hand of friendship rather than a wagging finger of disapproval. It didn't convert me, but did leave me wanting to join the author for a coffee and a long chat.

Addendum - I understand I'm required to declare any gifts given to me by the author. My review copy was, in a sense, free. In another more accurate sense it cost me a day's vacation, and over a hundred Euro in flights, train tickets and taxi fare - not something likely to engender an unnecessarily positive review. If you doubt my atheist credentials do check out my blog, or my review of John Lennox's God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?. You'll find it in the one star section.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 25 Nov 2013
This review is from: If God, Then What? (Paperback)
1 Peter 3:15 states that Christians should be willing to give an account/defense for what they believe in, yet with gentleness/humility.

This means that sensitive and challenging Apologetics (written by Christians) should be available in abundance. However, it simply isn't.

This book is a real breath of fresh air.

Andrew Wilson takes arguments (albeit unoriginal and used by other prominent Apologists such as John Lennox, William Lane Craig, etc) and articulates them with a sort of simplicity that makes these challenges accessible to the common man.

He mixes these thorough and challenging arguments with his own thoughts and stories and writes with a gentleness and humility that produces one of the only publications of its sort that a Christian can feel comfortable handing to an inquisitve friend.

A must read for any Atheist that is unfamiliar with the prominent arguments of the intellectual Theist, or indeed with the idea that such a person exists who writes in a tone that doesn't make you want to put your fist through a wall.

A wonderful book, simply superb.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book I would give my 20 year old son to read, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: If God, Then What? (Paperback)
As a first year undergraduate 30 years ago and just beginning to explore the big questions, I looked out for a book or two that would be good places to start with the God issue. I eventually found my way to CS Lewis and 'Mere Christianity' and Frank Morrison's 'Who moved the Stone'. Both of these I found hugely helpful. But I wish 'if god then what?' had been around then as well. I found it to be written breezingly and greatly enjoyed the author's sense of humour.

Many apologetics books tend to follow rather familiar paths and lack freshness and bite accordingly. This is not one of them. He starts with current science as a pointer for God's existence and then turns to other matters, such as, the question of evil. He always seems to bring a fresh perspective. The second half of the book then applies the arguments closer to home. Wilson rightly sees the crux of the issue being the resurrection or otherwise of Jesus.

I found the book logical and well put together. The author had read widely enabling him to draw in some interesting examples and illustrations.
A few minor grumbles. I'm not so sure that the multiverse is such an enemy to theism as Wilson apparently sees it. Furthermore, whilst he avoided the evolution rabbit hole beloved of many christians, he does seem to drop into a 'god of the gaps' argument on the origin of the first life. I was also hoping for a final chapter that would hit the ball out of the park.But I struggled to follow his argument (perhaps it was just me?!).

Notwithstanding, for a newer voice on the UK apologetics scene I suspect we will be hearing and reading a lot more from Andrew Wilson. If you have a person that is asking some interesting questions and you don't know quite where to turn this is a great place to start. I have recommended my 18 and 20 year old children read this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: If God, Then What? (Paperback)
Well written and easy to read. I thought it was so good that I bought three more copies to give away,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 Dec 2013
This review is from: If God, Then What? (Paperback)
An absolutely fantastic book on faith and how it relates to us all, very simple to read and understand but profound in the ideas that it covers. For the sake of simplicity some of the authors arguments are not explored as deeply as they could be, which makes it a bit harder to follow his logic in one or two spots but I can't see how he could have avoided this and kept the book simple and short.

I recommend it for anyone who is investigating faith in general and Christianity in particular and to any Christian looking to defend their faith in a humble and open way.

Another alternative if you want to go into more detail would be Tim Keller's the reason for God:

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gospel book!, 17 Oct 2013
This review is from: If God, Then What? (Paperback)
Very clear, well explained with relevant modern examples. A great book for those curious about Christianity from a man who is in the middle of global communication of the Gospel on- and off-line. Go and hear him speak - excellent!
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5.0 out of 5 stars For the theist and atheist alike., 13 Oct 2013
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A brilliant book which asks and provokes questions for people of all spheres of life (and their respective world-views) without detracting from any persons respective worldview or religious standpoint. Therefore this is a book for the theist and atheist alike. I thought it was well written, engaging, and had profundity without being overly 'academic' or 'technical' in its delivery. I particularly enjoyed the first chapter about fundamentalism - and how fundamentalism is fundamentally flawed as a perspective from not just a Christian vantage point but also from that of other religions too, not to mention atheists (who are often just as fundamental in their beliefs as any other belief system). That was helpful and helps to open your mind as you engage with the question as to why you believe what you believe.
The book is in two sections - the first deals with epistemological questions (which includes science and philosophy) regarding the material world we live in - as well as asking how we can define what is real and what is not (positivism and phenomenalism), and how those two methodologies do not answer 'most' of the questions that people have. So Wilson uses that to further his case. The second part of the book deals with the problem of evil, and Wilson made a very strong case that we all often point the finger to the other bad person or persons. But he then points to the good and bad in every person, which then leads onto the biblical evidence for Christ's intervention in the world.
This book is one of the best apologetic books there is to give to non-believers - and it will also be of benefit to believers and will help them to be more understanding in their views especially if they communicate to people of an opposite persuasion. Well worth a read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars spot on, 30 Sep 2013
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A thoughtful and easy to read, it digs into big questions with interesting conclusions, reassuring for those who are unsure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great to give away, 11 Sep 2013
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I didn't really need convincing but I wanted something to give to a youngster considering the big questions of life; what's it all about? Is there a God? If there is, or even could be a God then what difference does that make to my world view? This is one of the best and most accessible books to give to someone who is asking questions, remains open minded and genuinely wants a succinct summary of the arguments for the existence of God and then the 'so what's' that follow. Andrew writes in a contemporary style with wit, charm and humility. Most of the arguments are not new but I liked the flow of the logic, the personal touches and the amusing and penetrating illustrations. I like the way he personalises even the sceptics and fairly represents their views whilst trying to provide answers. I quite warmed to his friend 'Dave' (everyone has a friend called Dave!) who clearly disagrees with him but is still portrayed as a respected friend. Of course there are some flaws; I agreed with the idea of cumulative evidence in Ch 2 but thought the cornflakes and breakfast analogy was poor and easily rebutted by positivists who would simply take a stool sample... and there are other small weaknesses but I did like the way the argument was built logically and from different angles into a very convincing treatise. I particularly appreciated the second half of the book (after the interval) where Andrew sets out the case for a Christian world view (the 'so what?' bit) in a very logical and winsome manner. He tackles the difficult ideas of evil, redemption and belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ extremely well, in a few very readable chapters. Buy a couple and give them away, its a stimulating and enjoyable read and very suitable for the undecided who don't want to be shouted at by either side in this increasingly polarised debate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful and an easy read - Warm and winsome, 23 Aug 2013
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Read this in two sittings - on two flights about 2 hours long.
It's really helpful for cutting through the current science vs God debate and helps us to understand how we come to decisions about what is real. Wilson also clearly presents why Jesus is unique and how he should be the focus of our enquiry.
Really well written, in a conversational tone, that makes for easy reading without dumbing down the things being discussed.
Would recommend this for Christians, those interested and even those who want to argue against Christianity.
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If God, Then What?
If God, Then What? by Andrew Wilson (Paperback - 16 Mar 2012)
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