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on June 24, 2006
So many of the reviewers here on amazon have missed the point of this book! None more then James Arvo. If it is ok with everyone here I would like to call into question Mr. Avro's points against this book by Ravi Zacharias and then give my own review.

In Mr. Avro's review he calls into question Ravi's scholarship and then gives two reasons for doing so. The first is because of Ravi's definition of atheism, which according to Ravi is: "the doctrine of belief that there is no God. It is an affirmation of God's nonexistence."

Ravi gets this definition from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy (ed. Paul Edwards). This, in my opinion, is the HISTORICAL definition of atheism, not the neo-atheism wordplay/grammatically retarded, definition we see today (made popular by George Smith and others). Now if you want to dispute Ravi's definition that is fine, but two things need to be said really quickly before you do

First, if you've never met an adherent of this definition then I you haven't read anything (see Bertrand Russel) and I would question if you have ever been outside of your own house. Second, to put this as one of your major concerns is absurd! Right after he gives this definition for atheism Ravi says "Let's not, however, get bogged down in the morass of such pedantic verbal deep ends. Other counter arguments are more important." Immediately Ravi goes away from this and never looks back. He does not ask the atheist for proof of God's nonexistence (which would be where that definition would lead you if you actually wanted to use it as an argument), nor does Ravi ever bring up this definition or the consequences of it ever again. So to base so much of your problem with this book on ONE PARAGRAPH shows how intellectually honest you're trying to be when reviewing it. Also, if you truly believe this is a straw man definition of atheism then I suggest you go write a review for the Encyclopedia of Philosophy and complain about the same thing. But before you do, I would plead that you actually read the article on atheism in there and see why they come to one such definition.

My next concern with Mr. Avro's review is whether or not he actually read the entire book! Another main "problem" Mr. Avro brings up with Ravi's book, he states here in his review: "Atheists are not immoral, evil, selfish, ignorant, lazy, or possessed; they are simply people, as are theists."

I merely need to point to page 61 of this very book to show that Mr. Avro is way off if he thinks Ravi is making such a claim: "It is important that I be clearly understood. Not all atheists are immoral, but morality as goodness cannot be justified with atheistic presuppositions." Ravi then goes on to pound this point home for a few more paragraphs, STRESSING, that he is not calling atheists immoral! He is merely making a common argument that atheism cannot JUSTIFY morality. Mr. Arvo has taken Ravi's argument, twisted it to say; "atheists are all evil!!!" So he refutes this argument by saying that an atheist is not necessarily immoral (Obviously that is true! Ravi himself agrees with you!), and then Mr. Avro has the nerve to use the word "straw man" in his review of "The Real Face of Atheism"?!? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Mr. Avro calls Ravi's scholarship into question, however, not only would I call Mr. Avro's scholarship into question but his reading ability as well! Mr. Avro cries out for honesty on this topic and then in the next sentence turns around and does the same thing he is accusing Ravi Zacharias of doing. I would suggest to people interested in reading this book that they ignore James Avro's review as he seems to be unable to fairly discuss a book that disagrees with his philosophical position.

Also, if I may say, reading that "Laon" here thinks Nietzsche is NOT an atheist just makes me sad.

Now onto my review, it which will be short but honest.

Ravi Zacharias is a VERY insightful writer, philosopher, and theologian. Having heard the lecture he gave at Harvard on this very topic I am familiar with a lot of what he of says in this book. In fact, I would suggest getting some of Ravi's lectures over this book based on the fact that Ravi is an amazing speaker. I have a friend who likes Ravi's speaking just based on aesthetics! In this book Ravi makes solid arguments showing how atheism is not a philosophical position someone should jump into lightly. He rarely tries to "prove" atheism is wrong rather he tries to show the consequences of what one must believe upon calling themselves an atheist.

Ravi leans on the writings of two of the most popular and influential atheistic philosophers, Marx and Nietzsche, to make his points. Like I said these two are the most influential and often quoted philosophers from the atheist camp, which is why I find it so amusing that some of the reviewers on here try and back away from their ideas and arguments once they are really brought to light. Using these ideas and arguments given by the likes of Marx and Nietzsche (as well as most of the great atheist philosophers of the past and present) Ravi begins to show the logical outworking of these views, and how a proponent of atheism cannot reject these very dire consequences. You can read the book yourself if you're interested in seeing what Ravi says are some of the logical consequences of atheism becoming a dominate philosophical view.

In the second half of the book Ravi partially presents the Christian worldview and compares it with atheism. He does an ok job of this, but I did find it a bit lacking, most likely because of my familiarity with this topic.

Overall I thought this book was solid. I think it is a must read for anyone who is looking into atheism and wants to hear the theist side of things (so anyone doing an honest search). Do NOT mistake this book for a book that argues for God's existence or one that tries to defend the Christian position. Ravi has written a few books on those subjects so if you're looking for something in that area I suggest doing a quick search on amazon. The only issue I have with this book is that it is a little scattered. This probably stems from the fact that this is Ravi's first book. Another quick positive of this book is that it contains some GREAT quotes AND is a great place to get book ideas as Ravi is always discussing other books, and writers.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5, and I BEG anyone thinking about writing a review for this book to please try and grasp the goal Ravi was striving for by writing this!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon August 20, 2013
Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias (born 1946) is an Indian-born, Canadian-American Christian apologist. He has written many books such as Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith,Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality,Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message, etc.

[NOTE: This review pertains to the 206-page 1990 edition.]

He wrote in the Introduction, "I have tried to dispel the assumed power of logical arguments for atheism within a framework of argumentation. My purpose has been to clear the bushes so we can take a direct look at the counterperspective of Christ. Those who prefer to read at a level of felt need may find some of the arguments to be weightier than they would desire. My hope is that they would stay with the argument until my illustrations capture the idea. Others, who love the process of dialogue, might wish the arguments were weightier than they are. My hope is that they will not fall into the trap of intellctualism and forget the splendor and power of simplicity. We are neither just brains floating around nor just hearts bouncing about." (Pg. 3-4)

He argues, "By definition, atheism is the doctrine of belief that there is no God. It is an affirmation of God's nonexistence... Postulating the nonexistence of God, atheism immediately commits the blunder of an absolute negation, which is self-contradictory. For, to sustain the belief that there is no God, it has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantatmount to saying, 'I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.'" (Pg. 30)

He notes that "In his famous debate in 1948 [reprinted in The Existence of God with the philosopher Frederick Copleston, Bertrand Russell revealed his philosophical Achilles heel on morality... Copleston asked Russell on what basis he differentiated between right and wrong, and Russell answered that he did so on the same basis that he differentiated between yellow and blue. Copleston challenged the analogy because colors, he said, were differentiated on the basis of seeing. How does one differentiate between good and bad? And Russell replied that he did so on the basis of his feelings. Copleston was very gracious, for had he wanted to draw philosophical blood, he could have decimated Russell's argument. In some cultures they love their neighbors, in others they eat them, both on the basis of feeling. Would Russell have had a preference?" (Pg. 55)

He concludes, "The difference and the choice become crystal clear: either a person yields his heart and will to the rulership of God or he chooses to retain complete autonomy, irrespective of the consequences. God has revealed Himself in this world and in His Word. Man sees within himself a battlefield: there is that within him that tugs toward autonomy and manifests his depravity and that within him that points him to God, in whose image he was made. He must choose, for to live with the contradiction tears him apart." (Pg. 166)

Zacharias's books are justly popular, as his clear writing style in this book exemplify.
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on October 11, 2003
No group engages in more name calling than the atheistic reviewers of Christian Books. I've read "A Shattered Visage" many times and its value is that it explains so well exactly why 'the heathen rages'.

Amazon reviewer, James Arvo is spitting into the wind when he attempts to label this book uninformed and hateful. Nowhere in his review does Arvo backup his complaint. There is not a hateful word in this book-unless disagreeing with someone else's position and making a strong case for one's own can be defined as such.
So instead of the name calling, why not attempt to answer the question so profoundly raised in "A Shattered Visage." Is man the measure of all things? Zacharias poses the question then walks you through his answer in a concise and entertaining manner.
In "A Shattered Visage" the reader will learn that the writings of Nietzsche and Darwin had a profound effect on Hitler. That the sneering and name calling Mr. Arvo practices has been passed down to him from his philosophical grandfathers, Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell and Marx. And if you doubt the existence of God, you'll get a well-reasoned argument for the theistic side.
Zacharias is a kind man and a gentle persuader. This book is enjoyable and though it assaults the major players of atheistic thought and the havoc they have created, it in no way offers any unkindness toward non-believers in God.
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on February 15, 2009
Started reading this. Got about 1/2 through after about 2 months checked out at the library. Hard book. I know it's quality. I just can't get myself to finish it. I'll come back to it soon. I really appreciate Dr. Zacharias' approach to this issue. One thing that is helpful, after listening to a lot of his podcasts and reading a few of his other books, you start to seem common themes and stories repeated in the different media forms. Hearing things over and over certainly does help to make the point more clear and helps me remember the facts and arguments more.
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on April 26, 2015
Eloquently written, but intellectually dishonest, Zacharias's book is full of horrible logic, fallacies, and misunderstanding. The man has no concept of what atheism really is, nor how science actually works. He appeals to pity constantly, going on and on how hopeless the world would be without an afterlife or without a god.
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on September 16, 2008
Ravi Zacharias is more than qualified to discuss this subject and he does so in a clear, scholarly manner that dismantles piece-by-piece an extremely faulty, and dangerous, worldview like atheism. I highly recommend this book, and any other by Zacharias. He's a great apologetic defender of the Christian faith.

There are many great statements in this book, so read it with a highlighter. One that comes to mind is: "Knowledge and education in the hands of one who claims no higher accountability or authority than his own individuality is power in the hands of a fool." Well said and true!

The one-star ratings (and rantings) by some here demonstrate just how close Zacharias has gotten to the heart of the foolish worldview of atheism. Atheism is truly a "Shattered Visage."

Buy the book and read it for yourself.
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on October 21, 1997
Below is a short review of Zacharias's book. A longer and more detailed review can be found at: Zacharias's shamelessly misrepresents atheism. His target is, presumably, atheism. Atheism denies the truth of the theistic claim that god exists. In order to refute atheism, one would think that what would be needed would be a demonstration of the truth of theism or a refutation of the arguments for atheism. Think again. Instead of attacking atheism, Mr. Zacharias makes the typical apologist's error of choosing a spokesperson for atheism-- in this case Friedrich Nietzsche-- and he proceeds to rail against various aspects of that person's philosophy, character, and influence. Unfortunately, Zacharias displays a poor understanding of all of these areas. First, atheism is not the result of Nietzsche's views. There were atheists long before, centuries before, the "god is dead" movement. Thus, refuting some of Nietzsche's views, insofar as the view refuted is not the claim that there is no god, is pointless. It is also a mistake on the part of Zacharias to assume that atheists share a worldview. He often talks of the atheist worldview as if there is a particular set of beliefs which all atheists share. This is sheer nonsense. Atheism is defined by its denial of a worldview-- the theistic one-- not by its adherence to certain beliefs. Zacharias's obvious ignorance of the views of atheists displayed in his attacks on them, his unwillingness to develop any coherent argument against atheism, as well as his penchant for making strong claims without bothering to support them, make the portions of his book in which he attacks the views of specific atheists completely ineffective. Zacharias also attacks evolution. Atheism does not entail the theory of evolution, and evolution does not entail atheism. Many theists are evolutionists. They believe that god has guided evolution. So of what use is an attack on evolution when the target is atheism? It seems at times that Zacharias will discuss any subject in his book as long as its not atheism. Zacharias makes much of the supposed hopelessness of life if there is no god. But would it be hopeless? Why? Zacharias states again and again that it would be, but he gives precious little support for this assertion. He quotes a lot of poetry, and he quotes a lot of people restating his assertion, but where is the evidence that life would be hopeless? Many atheists are excited about living and enjoy full, rewarding lives. Zacharias does not give an accurate portrayal of the view which he pretends to attack. Zacharias also tries to present xianity and the Bible as a coherent, tidy, well-structured package, but they are not. The radically differing denominations of xianity, and the scores of major and minor biblical contradictions, attest to that. Zacharias's version of xianity is extremely vague, and his use of the Bible is often confused and misleading. His presentation of xianity as a solution to all of the hurdles which atheism supposedly fails to cross, is unsuccessful. In summation: Ravi Zacharias does not provide any reasons for thinking that atheism is false. His exposition of the views of atheists shows serious misinterpretations, important factual errors and oversights, and unjustified conclusions regarding the consequences of their philosophies. His attack on evolution reveals an astonishing lack of understanding of both the nature and history of science and of the claims of, and evidence for, evolution. His exposition of the ill effects of atheism on the meaning of life and other related issues both avoid the real issue of the truth of atheism and fail to realistically and conscientiously represent the beliefs of humanists. Zacharias's proposed xian solutions to many of the problems which he tried to develop with regard to atheism suffer from a striking lack of clarity and coherence, and his final attempts to present arguments against atheism are clumsy, ineffective, and obviously not well thought out. Peppered throughout the book are scores of mere assertions, innuendo, wild and unfounded speculation, and assorted non sequiturs. Zacharias must not have much respect for his readers, xians, if he thinks that such shoddy scholarship and misrepresentations are good enough for them. Why not tell the truth about atheism and let xians decide for themselves? END
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on April 11, 2008
This book first went to print in 1990. I have the updated version from 2004 retitled, The Real Face of Atheism. To sit down with a book from Ravi Zacharias is one of my quiet pleasures in life.

In this book, one of my favorite's, he brilliantly dissects the central issue of our time what do we do with God. The God of the Bible. The first couple of chapters is a recent history of the rise of atheism. The influence from Freud, Nietzsche, Darwin, Galileo,[although the man was a strong theist, his discoveries rocked the church, temporarily] on the events of the 20th century, and the repercussions since then.

Ravi can draw the dots and connect them like he has an anointing from God to do that. He has a passion for this subject that I hope gets out to a broader audience. They say in science that it's just a hypothesise unless you can predict the results to a certain degree in repeated experiments. Ravi sounds a warning to us if we continue in the current direction. So, if we don't hear, it's only because we want our cake and to eat it too.

I was in grade one in 1963 and the tranquil peace that filled the assembly every morning as the school recited the Lords prayer together, now seems like that calm before the storm. Life for a kid was a breeze compared to now, broken homes were rare. Then latter in that decade the sexual revolution hit and the social problems it produced have been like watching a train derailment in slow motion.

This book puts a spotlight on some of our assumptions. For example why have we broken free of what was once a pain avoiding moral leash, the 6th commandment, "Thou shall not commit adultery." Sceptics will immediately put up their guard and argue trivial truisms of evolution but what Ravi is stressing is "lets be reasonable." God calls people to reason. Statistics bear this out. Most of the men in prison come from a one parent home or a home where the couple co-habits. Marriage has taken a beating in the last 30 years. God is not saying those children aren't loved by Him, He's telling us, if we selfishly ignore Him we will suffer and just look around. The distinction in society is as stark to me as is the distinction of my changed life. God can not be mocked a man reaps what he sows. We are free to choose our master, but we are not free to manipulate the consequences of our choices.

I love men like Ravi who take a courageous stand. I've heard him on Cd's debate thinkers in the most hostile anti-Christian environments in the world. Muslim countries and western universities. Not only does he shine and hold his own, he arrests our attention and causes us to reconsider some of our cherished beliefs. He wins over hearts and minds because he has allowed himself to be a conduit of Jesus. I have most of his books. They are an immense help to me. Read one and you too may, "get hooked."
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on February 26, 2008
Reading some of the other reviews before reading this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. Having now read the book, I can see that most of the negative reviews were nonsense. There is no "vitriol" against atheists. Anyone who refers to this work as a "diatribe" probably does not know the definition of that word. Instead, Zacharias engages in a very gentlemanly deconstruction of the logical bases for atheism, one which is tinged more with the spirit of the Harvard debating society than it is the spirit of Vox Day. Neither is Nietzsche the only atheist with whom Zacharias deals. Indeed, the reviewers who said that probably never got past the first chapter (which is where the author deals with Nietzsche and the effect which his philosophies had on the 20th century). If you actually read the entire work all the way through, it seems that the author refers to and cites Bertrand Russell more than he does Nietzsche.

This work is a class act. It is geared towards the lay intellectual - someone well-read and intelligent enough to grasp and understand important philosophical concepts, but yet who hasn't had the "formal" training of acquiring a degree in philosophy from a major university. Ravi Zacharias has a way of forcing atheistic arguments to be seen to their logical conclusions without coming off as using cheap rhetorical tricks to force a reductio ad absurdam. Chapters 2-5, in which he addresses each logical conclusion of atheistic speculation concerning (respectively) origins, morality, the purpose of life, and hope or hopelessness in the face of death, are masterfully done, and I especially enjoyed them. The whole work, however, is well worth the money.
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on June 4, 2006
Dr. Zacharias has laid out in this book the logical consequences of a death of God. If God is out of the equation what basis does humanity have for morals, for meaning, or even love? Zacharias delves into these, and other questions dealing with atheism.

In respnce to other reviews, yes Zacharias has met and delved into deep philisophical quesitons with atheists. He recants many instances in the book. In addition, he used to be an atheist, who after setting out to explore these quesitons himself ended up refuting athiesm and embracing theism.
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