The full title of this book is God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty. I received a review copy from the publisher through Booksneeze in return for writing an honest review. The book presents an overview of Christian evidences for the God of the Bible and Jesus. There is a chapter on the problem of good and evil, several dealing with creation vs. accidental/spontaneous origin of the universe and life, a chapter on the resurrection of Jesus, one on the authenticity and reliability of scripture and one called “The Grace Effect”, dealing with the ways that Christian teachings have positively influenced people and the world. The final chapter is called “Living Proof” and contains the firsthand accounts of atheists who have come to faith.
I wanted to like this book more than I liked it. He stays away from a lot of technical language, making it easily understandable. I’m always on the lookout for good books on Christian evidences to pass on to others.
But when I read a book of Christian evidences, I go into hyper-critical mode. If I’m going to pass a book on to help someone deal with their own doubts or the doubts of people they encounter, I want it to be logically sound. I want things to be footnoted and sources documented.
There was a lot of good information and a lot of good quotes from well-known Christian writers, like C.S. Lewis. I also especially liked the quotes from scientists who believe in God.
But I feel this book failed in a few places in the logically sound/well-documented category. The first thing that started to bug me was his statement on page 8 “Think about it: more than 90 percent of the planet believes that God exists.”
He doesn’t give any footnote (although there are footnotes in other areas of the book) or source for the statistic. He quotes it a couple more times in the book, finally on page 188 saying “less than 10 percent are atheists or agnostics” to explain the number. He still doesn’t give a source for the statistic. I don’t think it is a valid conclusion to come to that because 10% of people in a survey (but which survey, I still don’t know) say they are agnostic/atheist, everyone else believes in God. There are a wide range of religious beliefs that are not belief in Yahweh, the God of the Bible.
I find this particularly annoying because he accuses atheists of relying on emotionalism for many of their arguments instead of reason (and I agree that many times they do). But if he’s going to say that, he needs to stay away from emotionalism himself, and the 90% thing is nothing more than manipulating statistics for emotional effect.
He also accuses atheists of using “straw man” arguments (again, which I agree that they do sometimes). But he himself used what I would call straw man arguments in at least two places. Just because he caught himself once and said “Granted, that is a worst-case scenario” doesn’t mean he’s off the hook.
I had other issues with this book – the author uses scripture out of context once, and I can tell we’ve got some doctrinal differences, though I was happy to see that the book didn’t end with the sinner’s prayer. There are also some sentences that are so awkwardly phrased that it’s hard to tell exactly what he’s saying.
All in all, although I did find some good information here, some of which I hadn’t run across before, it isn’t information that can’t be found in other books with sounder arguments (many of which he quotes, and which can be found in the Notes section at the back).
I will end with a quote that resonated with me:
“When someone says, ‘Belief in God isn’t logical,” they are simply hurling an insult at people of faith much like candidates from rival political parties try to marginalize their opponents. Maybe a person can’t articulate his or her faith logically, but that doesn’t mean faith in God itself is illogical or irrational.”