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Letter to a Christian Nation: Counter Point Paperback – March 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595432646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595432646
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,018,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DR. R. CHRIS METCALF is a member of American Mensa, holds an M.S. in Science Education, a Doctorate in the health professions, and has partially completed a Masters Degree in Theology. Dr. Metcalf has held research positions at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. He has been a Christian for over 30 years and lives with his beloved wife and three children in Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

Thus, I was very eager to read RC Metcalf's counter-point to Sam Harris.
Wojciech J. Potrykus
I will read other points of view that are at least worthy of a listen--logical, honest, based on reasonably accurate sources--but this work doesn't meet the criteria.
ChicagoLarry
They (you) hate other religions and believe that anyone who does not believe what they (you) believe is going to burn in hell.
K. A. Lewellyn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

330 of 364 people found the following review helpful By Martin Richer on May 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Well, as an atheist, I took up reviewer "Sally"s challenge "to give the opposition a fair hearing and read RC Metcalf's book, too." Yikes. Within the first 15-20 pages I quit counting the various fallacious arguments -special pleading, appeals to authority, reversals of proof burdens, etc., etc. I have a theory that religious belief creates in the mind a sort of template for thinking based on the religious necessity to accept things on faith, quite without evidences or proof. It is this template for (non)thought that allows the Sallys of the world to read both Harris and Metcalf and somehow decide that Metcalf has solidly refuted Harris.

Except to the extent that a reader wants to chronicle logical fallacies in Christian 'argument', I'd advise you give this one a pass. Metcalf is merely preaching and it holds value only to the already-believers desperate for insulation against the chilly truth of Harris' books. I suggest Metcalf and his publisher change the title to "Sermon To A Christian Nation" for there is zero argumentation here.

I would also question the efficacy of Christian faith if books such as this have become necessary to Christians. Why would truly faithful Christians care what some atheist might think of them?

(Cue the "we are under attack!" responses).
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196 of 221 people found the following review helpful By ChicagoLarry on May 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I decided to read this book in the hope it might provide something fresh--perhaps a new point of view that I should consider. I was also curious how anyone could possibly refute Harris, when he is so utterly logical in pointing out the fallacies and contradictions in the holy text and the beliefs of those who follow it. I wanted to know, how could a person attempt to refute the facts?

But, like so many others, I coudn't finish the book either. I don't apologize for that. There is neither benefit nor honor in continuing to waste time on something that repeatedly violates reason, misconstrues the other person's words and bases much of its "argument" on the the very premise that is in question: the existence of a biblical-style god. I recall one place where Metcalf said something like, "Of course I realize you don't believe God's exists, but we believe God instructs us thus and so...."

That's no counterpoint, that's just sermonizing. And I think that's the real purpose of this book--to cheer the believers on. All they need, to feel comfortable dismissing Harris, is for someone to tell them, in a religious-sounding way, that it's all okay. "There, there, it'll be all right." They will hear what they want to hear and rationalize away Harris just as they rationalize away the biblical problems he points out. They will pretend Harris' points were "just opinion."

But that's not enough for those of us whose beliefs are subject to reality, rather than the other way around.

I will read other points of view that are at least worthy of a listen--logical, honest, based on reasonably accurate sources--but this work doesn't meet the criteria. For example, like others, I was very put off by Metcalf's response re a moral responsibility to a rock.
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107 of 121 people found the following review helpful By John V. Batcha on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
After having finished reading Sam Harris's "Letter to a Christian Nation" I wanted to see what the Christian response was ( self disclosure: I am an agnostic). Metcalf's response is a poor rebuttal. Metcalf makes claims then doesn't follow up with supporting evidence. For example in a section entitled "Science and Christianity" Metcalf writes " ...I would suggest that while the essence of God Himself exists outside the physical universe,Christian claims about God can ( the word "can" is italicized for emphasis) be addressed scientifically" ( p50 ). Metcalf never states how. Bottom line, for myself, Metcalf does a poor job in rebutting Harris.
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47 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Wojciech J. Potrykus on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was very impressed with Sam Harris' "Letter To A Christian Nation." I am an atheist having abandoned my Catholic roots in early adulthood. However, I seek to be intellectually honest in the sense that I do try to examine all sides of an issue before making up my mind. Thus, I was very eager to read RC Metcalf's counter-point to Sam Harris. I was sorely disappointed in what I read.

While Mr. Metcalf claims to be a scientist, his book reads more like the ramblings of Jerry Fallwell rather than the lucid reasoning of an objective, rational intellectual that Metcalf purports himself to be. He is clearly preaching to the choir, doing his best to reassure the flock of sheep that Harris is dead wrong and that everything is OK with the Christian religion.

How does he do this? By anegdotal evidence, multiple fallacies of selective observation, special pleadings, ad hoc, etc... Finally when confronted with an insurmountable logical obstacle, he always falls back on Scripture as a safety net. When all else fails, Scripture and faith always triumph over reason and science in Metcalf's world.

One cannot call oneself a reasonable person and much less a scientist if one abandons all reason and relies on faith when faced with facts and logic that completely obliterate one's long held beliefs. R.C. Metcalf is no scientist. He is an apologetic at best. And a fundamentalist at worst.

I highly recommend reading his book though. It is a great example of the mental gymnastics a person of faith is forced to do in order to stay true to his dogma.
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