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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book, November 20, 2011
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This review is from: On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision (Paperback)
I just wanted to start my review by saying that this book quite possibly saved my faith. Right now I'm a senior at Princeton and I've recently been going through the period where I had to stop believing things because that was what I had always been taught and start believing them for my own reasons and an objective appraisal of the truth, no matter where it led me. I'm still working out the kinks, but I'm on the right track now.

To me, the strongest parts of this book are the beginning and the end: the parts that deal with the philosophical arguments for God's existence and the responses to the two problems of sin and the fates of the unevangelized. Those were very strong and, after having read several atheist authors (Quentin Smith, John Loftus, Richard Dawkins, etc.), I believe that Craig offers much stronger arguments than they do. He also represents their views pretty accurately, and doesn't resort to setting up straw men.

The weaker part of this book has to do with the peculiarly Christian aspects of God: Jesus' teachings and his resurrection. I found his attempts in such a small amount of space to be overly ambitious and a bit too unnuanced. I personally preferred Michael Licona's excellent work The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. While Licona makes strong arguments for his personal beliefs, he confines his main analysis to the facts that are agreed upon by almost all biblical scholars, both Christian and atheist: the historical "bedrock." I've listed them here for those who are interested:

1. Jesus existed.
2. Jesus was a man regarded as a prophet and moral teacher who performed what many interpreted as miracles, magic, or exorcisms.
3. Jesus believed himself to have a special role with God as a prophet or son.
4. Jesus died on the cross.
5. After Jesus died, many of his apostles, in different times and places, had experiences that led them to believe and proclaim that Jesus had been resurrected and had appeared to them.
6. A few years after Jesus died, Paul, a devout Jew with a history of persecuting Christians, had what he interpreted as a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to him.

Licona then examines the various atheist explanations for these known facts and finds them seriously lacking in merit (as did I--the cases against Jesus' resurrection are very tenuous). Ultimately, I found Licona's case more persuasive than Craig's, although a large part of that simply has to do with the fact that Licona's work has much more room to make a serious case, since it is much longer and devoted entirely to one subject. I simply mention it here as an avenue of further study for people who are interested.

In short, I have a newfound admiration for Craig. His thoughts are clear, logical, and insightful. I currently still disagree with him on some matters (primarily on the issue of biblical inerrancy), but I will engage in further research before coming to any firm conclusions.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 21, 2011 11:09:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2011 11:10:46 AM PST
Cornell says:
Great review!!!

I think that churches should raise awareness on theology and apologetics, it seems as though Christianity has pulled away from that over the last 100 years, but now it is slowly coming back.

Posted on Jul 6, 2012 9:02:15 PM PDT
Madrilenyo93 says:
Interesting summary of this book and Licona's - I believe I've heard Craig refer to him. Thanks to your suggestion, I will read Licona, too.
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