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Customer Review

48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most accessible and complete introduction to apologetics, October 3, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences (Hardcover)
This is the most exhaustive introduction to apologetics. It is up-to-date, rich in sound arguments and yet accessible to those who are not so philosophically minded or who have not had the benefit of higher education. It reads very easily, it covers all issues, and even contains some discussions that are not easily found in apologetics books (see the excellent discussion on archeology). Any Christian who is not so intellectually minded should have this book!
A weaker part in the book is the introduction to apologetics (chapter one). The authords present apologetics as "preevangelism", but I think that apologetics belong to the gospel (as shown in 1Co 15, the evangelistic discourses in Actes...). Another problem with the introduction is that it presents apologetics only in the context of evangelization, and does not mention another very important aspect: strengthening one's faith so as to be able to resist periods of doubts, building a shield of faith capable of stopping the darts of the enemy. Anyway the introduction makes of very good job of showing the necessity of apologetics for evangelization in a very few pages.
Concerning the existence of God, the authors succeed in explaining the Kalam, design, moral and ontological arguments with simplicity and in dealing with many God-related issues.
The authors do also a good work of simply introducing and refuting the other worldviews. Concerning the problem of evil they present a combination of free will, "best-way" and soul-deciding theodicies. They treat well the question of miracles.
Instead of dealing with the historicity of the Bible, they very shortly explain why it should be considered a historical book, and then argue on this basis for the resurrection and deity of Christ, develop a christology and show Christ to be a better way than the other "great teachers". I wonder why the authors did not first argue for the historicity of the NT documents and the historicity of the resurrection (the argument based on the fact that women were the first witness is therefore not used here).
They then classically argue for the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, deal with diverse problems and end with the reliability of the manuscripts.
The other chapters (Bible difficulties, archeology, science, afterlife, truth, morals) seem perfectly treated to me, I have hardly anything to report. I wonder why the chapter concerning truth was not placed right at the beginning. I guess the authors estimated it to be difficult (too abstract) for the average reader, and therefore relegated it at the end.
My overall impression is that Geisler and Brooks greatly succeeded in packing a lot of information in a modest volume (about 350 p.), in dealing with many delicate topics and aspects, and in making many difficult subjects understandable, enjoyable indeed. I highly recommend their book. But more is needed and I hope that the readers of this book will then read more of Geisler's books, as well as Moreland's and many more. so as to be intellectually responsibl
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 10, 2009 4:13:14 PM PST
If you truly wish to be "intellectually responsible," that is, "able to respond to the promptings of your intellect," and enjoy discussions about the Bible, I suggest that you read _The End of Biblical Studies_ by Hector Avalos. If, however, you are afraid of challenges to your current belief system and prefer to remain comfortable in your faith without examining it critically, then be all means avoid Avalos's discussion!

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2010 3:51:12 PM PDT
mostserene1 says:
Isn't Avalos the guy who roughed up the brilliant debater William Lane Craig? I would avoid tangling with that individual. At all costs. Even WLC, in his opening statement in his debate with Avalos, called Avalos out on his tactics.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 9:04:40 PM PDT
Speratus says:
Most serene,

I don't agree that Avalos "roughed up" WLC. Common sense atheism had the following to say about the debate:

"Craig begins by embarrassing Avalos by showing how Avalos combated a previous opponent by demanding that he be able to recognize Biblical manuscripts by sight - which is not how scholars work with Biblical texts anyway. Avalos comes out swinging, citing very specific parts of Craig's work and trying to put Craig in uneasy situations. Craig responds calmly and confidently, and reminds the audience that almost nothing Avalos has said (1) builds a case against the Resurrection, nor (2) rebuts the arguments Craig gave in this debate. Avalos focuses on a linguistic disagreement with Craig - but of course nobody in the audience can tell who is right, and it wasn't even part of Craig's case in the debate.

Also, Avalos is kind of a dick at certain times, which doesn't help him. His language attacks Craig more than Craig's arguments. After Craig gives his final speech, Avalos jumps in on Craig's applause and says, without any humor, "I very much appreciate your applause for me, thank you." Smooth, Avalos."

It seems apparent that Avalos attack tactics do not work with a true scholar.

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