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That's Just Your Interpretation: Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith Paperback – November 1, 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Beneath the clichés of our culture lie some unsettling questions about God. Paul Copan, with genius and simplicity, uncovers the struggle and constructs his answers on a firm foundation." Ravi Zacharias, author and speaker

"It's all relative."
"Everything is one with the divine."
"Why would a good God send people to hell?"
"The Gospels contradict each other."

In our relativistic society, Christians more than ever before are bombarded by skeptical comments such as these. You hear them on college campuses, in the workplace, and from your neighbors and friends.

That's Just Your Interpretation
provides incisive answers to challenges related to truth and reality, worldviews, and Christian doctrine. Similar to his well-received "True for You, but Not for Me," this book by Paul Copan will help you defend your faith, even when you're confronted with the toughest questions. You'll be able to respond with intelligent, powerful answers that direct people toward a personal relationship with God.

"The book is accessible to non-specialists, yet Copan clearly brings to each subject careful research and scholarly reflection."
J. P. Moreland, Talbot School of Theology

"Paul Copan manifests the conceptual skills of a fine philosopher and theologian as well as the heart of a sincere Christian. This combination is potent indeed, illuminating a wide range of pressing issues about the Christian faith."
Paul Moser, Loyola University of Chicago

"Paul Copan writes with clarity, force, and insight about the credibility of Christianity."
Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College

About the Author

Paul Copan (Ph.D., Marquette University) is a ministry associate with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. His books include Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? and "True for You, but Not for Me." Copan lives in Suwanee, Georgia.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801063833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801063831
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I hate to say this about a Christian apologist like Paul Copan, who has put out some very good apologetic material, but this book was horrendous. I mean it was absolutely terrible. I can't even begin to describe how many poor conclusions were reached and how many poor answers were given to problems raised with Christianity. He had EXTREMELY simplistic and EXAGGERATED explanations of what other faiths held (especially Eastern Pantheism, which he completely misrepresented).

On pages 98-99 Copan discusses the problem of natural disasters. Copan’s explanations in the previous parts of this chapter seem to deal only with moral evils which result from human choices, so here he attempts to address the issue of evil which seems not to stem from human choices. He argues that natural disasters are actually necessary to keep life on this planet alive (98). For example, earthquakes are needed to recycle essential nutrients back into the continents (98). I personally do not find his argument very convincing. I think that any Christian would need to tie natural evils into the Fall as Schaffer does in Genesis in Space and Time, where he presents natural evils as stemming from a rift which developed between man and nature as a result of sin. If we do not do this, it does not make much sense for God to curse the ground as a result of Adam’s sin, for it would already have been cursed if nothing in nature changed as a result of the Fall. Further, as a philosophical objection, surely God could have created a world where natural disasters were not necessary to sustain the earth. Copan responds to this by saying that we cannot know that a world with this condition is possible (98-99), but does he really believe that there will be natural disasters on the new earth?
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Format: Paperback
Having bought and/or read a number of books in this vein, Copan's work seems to be accessible and understandable by the lay person, yet at the same time offers enough depth for the person interested in deeper treatments of various subjects. The chapters are brief enough to keep the average person interested. I would recommend it as a primer for the non-academic who wants an introductory treatment of critical worldview issues.

I do have an issue with "Ben J"'s review of the book and its mischaracterisation of Copan. After browsing his other reviews, it seems he doesn't like ANY of the Christian books he's reviewed and seems to include the same hyper-critical elements in most of his reviews - as if he's working from the same template for all of them (including the non-orthodox position that the Bible teaches that everyone, Christian and non-Christian, will be saved, which runs absolutely contrary to the orthodox Christian position that has been held for 2000 years. How Ben pulls that out of Scripture is beyond me. The fact that Copan disagrees with that view makes Ben attacks his work. But I digress.....). But specifically here, his accusation that Copan's attitude in this book is to preach some message of "win the argument over the 'poor pitiful non-Christians' at all costs" is so offbase that it seems to me he threw that in there to mischaracterise Copan and throw the on-the-fence person off from considering it as a reading possibility.
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In this book Paul Copan offers apologetic responses to twenty-one different criticisms of Christianity. Written in a clear, informal style, each chapter includes a summary of its major points and a short list of further reading. Copan writes from an evangelical perspective but generally avoids taking a hard line on issues like inerrancy (he accepts Big Bang cosmology and doesn't believe in a literal six-day creation) and the theory of evolution (which isn't really discussed). He adopts the "worldview" perspective that's been popular in Christian apologetics in recent years, in which most people are seen as falling into a number of broad belief system frameworks. However, Copan is not as rigid in his portrayal of these worldviews as some other apologetics writers. For instance, many evangelical writers crate an elaborate portrayal of a "naturalistic" worldview, claiming that its proponents are essentially extreme nihilists, and making little more than a straw man argument with a limited connection to what anyone really believes. Copan, however, takes a softer approach, and although he criticizes "relativism," he avoids creating rigid categories.

The content and quality of Copan's arguments is something of a mixed bag. His treatment of the subject of hell once again shows his soft approach: he denies the existence of literal physical torture in hell, suggesting instead that the eternal torment will instead be merely some sort of emotional anguish over being cut off from the presence of God. Copan also avoids explicitly claiming that all non-Christians will go to hell, though it's unclear whether that's simply an omission or if he really allows for the possibility that the Christian God will show mercy on good people who choose the wrong deity to worship.
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