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Answers for Atheists, Agnostics, and Other Thoughtful Skeptics: Dialogs About Christian Faith and Life Paperback – January 15, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books; Rev Sub edition (January 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891077006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891077008
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

E. Calvin Beisner is associate professor of historical theology and social ethics.

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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
Maybe the author has been hanging around xians so long he HAS forgotten what it means to be thoughtful, but the so-called skeptic presented as a foil in this book's dialogue format is anything but that. For example when the skeptic asks why we should accept the authority of the bible, the xian simply informs him that Jesus accepted the Old Testament as authoritative. The skeptic then says something like "Well, that takes care of the Old Testament, but what about the New?" Give me a break! Make no mistake: there is no one is this book who is presented as thoughtful. The author engages in a lot of stereotyping. The atheist guy states at one point that he has gotten a couple of girlfriends pregnant and then forced them into having abortions. And he admits that he's worried that he'll do the same thing again. What nonsense. Beisner should have just made the guy a cannibal or a serial rapist-- or a member of the ACLU-- while he was at it. If you're going to make a straw man, you might as well go all out. The xian protaganist says the usual ridiculous things, but the atheist also utters such absurd statements and caves in so easily to pathetic arguments that one might wonder whether Beisner has ever really met any skeptics-- or at least any over the age of eight. Beisner's book has such awful arguments for his position one might wonder too whether Beisner himself thinks that xianity can withstand any REAL skepticism instead of this absurd caricature. This book is for xians only, especially for those afraid of real skeptics. Real skeptics and freethinkers will just laugh.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1997
Format: Paperback
By its own admission, "Answers for Atheists" was originally written with a specific audience in mind: those Christians who would travel as missionaries to former Soviet Union countries, and who needed philosophical ammunition with which to convince their citizens to give up atheism and convert to Christianity. Most of these people were, of course, raised as atheists as a matter of state policy, and not well-researched, deeply held personal philosophy.

Unfortunately, the arguments the book raises have all been answered and soundly refuted by well-educated atheists for many years. Only someone who took its arguments at face value and did not think about them or research the well-documented refutations would end up convinced.

Fortunately for the author of "Answers for Atheists", he chose to structure the book as a series of dialogs between two fictional friends: a Christian and a credulous, uneducated atheist. Although reluctant to believe at first, the atheist's responses to the Christian's arguments are weak and ineffective, and at each turn he simply caves in. While reading this book, I found myself repeatedly saying, "Wait! But what about...?" Is it any surprise that by the end of the book the Christian has managed to convert his fictional friend?

"Answers for Atheists" is preaching to the choir, plain and simple. By posing only "first level" arguments and weak refutations, it ultimately insults the intelligence of its readers, Christians and atheists alike.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Heather Thompson on July 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book isn't very good if your intent is to arm yourself with arguments to present to your pals who are thoughtful skeptics, atheists, and agnostics. Beisner gives us a strawman atheist. His name is Dave, supposedly well-educated and very thoughtful. Dave turns out to be an easy pushover, knocked over with every argument his buddy Jim makes. Jim is a Superman-Christian who always has the right thing to say and never fouls up an argument. He is as unrealistic as the stereotypical atheist Dave is. When Cal Beisner finds it necessary to introduce an old theodicy argument that has been laid to rest by skeptics, he brings into Jim's living room, for this chapter only, a neophyte christian who uses the argument against Dave so it can be shot down to introduce a more (relatively) polished version of the theodicy by Jim. Once this neophyte has served his purpose, we never hear from him again. Even Dave is too stupid to see the inadequacy of the neophytes argument until Jim first points out a weakness in it then (!!!!!) alight goes on in Dave's head and he sees the flaw and attacks the argument, but only because Superman Jim has first pointed it out to him.
Superman Jim is an unrealistic character. No christian has all the right arguments all the time like Jim does. Beisner could have better served his targeted audience by making Jim a little more fallible, maybe being stumped a couple of times by questions raised from Dave, so he could demonstrate to his christian audience the way to handle these type of situations. A "I don't know, but I will research this for you and get back with you later..." for example.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've drifted between atheism, agnosticism, mysticism and a handful of other schools and philosophies. I've never, however, considered myself a Christian or accepted the teachings of the Bible.
However, being inquisitive and perfectly willing to be proven wrong, I purchased a copy of this book. It's bold, red lettered covered seemed targetted to me.
Unfortunately, I've been given more convincing, and less personally insulting, arguments for God by my born-again 10 year old nephew.
This book drums out little more than tired Theology 101 take-home-exercises. Easily thought up and more easily struck down, the arguments are strung together weakly and without rebuttal. Massive jumps in logic follow shaky reasoning and tired points are trotted out as if they're still relevant. The old 'entropy means there must be a first mover' argument? Puh-lease.
I couldn't help but feel a bit insulted as well. The much mentioned straw-man "Dave," is an idiot. An absolute dunderhead, and no matter how many times the author makes Dave drop words like "epistemology," he never exercises a moment of free thought. As, arguably, the "target audience" of this book, I felt condescension and disregard.
But, fundamentally, if you consider these arguments to be the sound, logical root of your faith, then I've got a great bridge for sale in Brooklyn.
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