- Hardcover: 111 pages
- Publisher: American Vision; 1st edition (April 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0915815664
- ISBN-13: 978-0915815661
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 4.5 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,067,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Letter from a Christian Citizen - A Response to "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris 1st Edition
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It's about time an informed, Bible-believing Christian explained to the growing number of skeptics and gnostics and relativists how America, the freest country in the history of the world, could only have been birthed and sustained through a Christian worldview. If you want to bring this great experiment in human liberty to a screeching halt, the fastest way is to eliminate the salt and light contributed by Divine inspiration of our heavenly Father and His Word through His children. --Joseph Farah, Editor and Chief Executive Officer of WorldNetDaily.com Inc.
Douglas Wilson has written a book that can give Christians a place to stand in regard to Sam Harris book Letter to a Christian Nation. The primary usefulness of Wilson's book is that it gives readers a point-by-point response to the arguments advanced by Harris in an engaging and compelling way. --Dr. Leland Ryken, Professor of English at Wheaton College
Douglas Wilson has done the near impossible. He made me glad that Sam Harris wrote his anti-God tract because it provided an occasion for Doug to write such a literate, compelling, and engaging response. I hope Bible study groups and Sunday school classes across the country set aside their normal lessons for a few weeks and gather together to study and discuss Wilson s Letter from a Christian Citizen. --Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D., Director, Master of Arts Program in Christian Apologetics, Biola University, La Mirada, California
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One of the biggest strengths of the book is that it points out the overall inconsistency of the atheistic position. On one hand, atheists assert that there is no God. On the other hand, they complain about the injustice and evil in the world today, and tend to be very angry because God doesn't prevent or bring an end to the evil. Yet there is absolutely no justification for this anger if God is just "imaginary." If God is only imaginary, then, as Wilson puts it, "stuff just happens" - deal with it.
In fact, I've never heard a convincing argument to the contrary from atheists. They may say "We're not angry at God; we're just angry at Christians who mindlessly believe in God!" But again, what is the basis of this anger? If God doesn't exist, what does it matter what Christians believe or say? Is there a universal standard that says that what Christians are doing is wrong? And what is the source of this standard?
I suspect that those who call themselves "atheists" are not truly "atheists" at all. They believe that God exists - they just don't understand Him at all, and they basically hate His guts, so they reject Him. That would explain the anger.
One reason I couldn't give this book a higher rating, however, is that I believe that Wilson's Calvinistic world view weakens his arguments. As I sat there reading where Wilson basically blamed God for Hurricane Katrina, I said to myself "Yeah, I'm sure that will convince Sam Harris and other atheists to forsake atheism and come to Christ." NOT. I understand that this approach may make perfect sense in Wilson's mind, but I can't picture many atheists being persuaded by it. And since he is writing this to Sam Harris, the audience is an atheist, and you want to have an argument that can be reasonably persuasive to an atheist. "God was responsible for Katrina," doesn't cut it.
I read this book right after reading Letter To a Christian Nation, and, I can't wait to read other material by Mr. Wilson. In a careful (almost page by page) way, Mr. Wilson shows why Mr. Harris' book comes up short in its intentions. There is much to be learned in the way and manner this book was wrote. I enjoyed the presentation of the gospel in the last few pages as well.
As I said earlier, one will come to this book with a their own baggage and, more than likely, already have decided whether or not they will agree with the material. I would love to read a response from Mr. Harris to this book.
Wilson does a point-by-point response to Harris and points out numerous contradictions or inconsistencies. For example Harris advocates following the Jain philosophy of not hurting a single living creature. Yet he has no problem with defending the killing of human fetuses in abortion or using human embryos for research.
Wilson adds: "You are an atheist, an evolutionist. And yet you praise the utter morality of non-violence, which would have gotten the evolutionary struggle absolutely nowhere."
Harris, an atheist, wrote that "one of the enduring pathologies of human culture is the tendency to raise children to fear and demonize other human beings on the basis of religious faith." Wilson nails him, saying "the same thing can be said about people despising others for even having a religion at all."
Wilson does address the verses in the Bible that appear (from a surface reading) to allow slavery. I think he could have gone into more detail. He does explain with e.g. Ephesians 6:5, Paul was working to subvert the system spiritually from within as opposed to politically from without. When all Christians are equal before God, that is inconsistent with slavery. Paul told us that within the Christian faith there is "neither Greek nor Jew, male or female, slave or free." (Gal. 3:28)
Wilson then asks how atheists could condemn slavery, considering their philosophy on the universe: "There is nothing wrong with it (slavery) based on your principles, where the universe is just time and chance acting on matter. What does it matter if the master matter acts on the slave matter? Who cares?" (p. 22)
In general, he asks how atheists can have ANY absolute standards of morality when they believe the creation came about through blind, chance processes.
There is one part of Wilson's book I disagreed with. That is when he addressed the challenging issue of evil and suffering. Wilson is a Calvinist (I am not). He writes that evil exists "because God wills it." I practically cringed, though he does acknowledge that some Christians believe (as I do) that God allows evil to happen but doesn't decree it. With his fatalistic perspective, Wilson further writes that "We solve the problem of evil by kissing the rod and the hand that wields it." I would argue that Christians are to be active in fighting evil, including by putting on the whole of armor of God (Ephesians 6) for spiritual warfare against the demonic realm and engaging in the Great Commission, which Christ commanded, to take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth.
But that's an in-house debate. For the most part, this is a good book. I recommend this work, Metcalf's book, and a third answer to Harris: "Letter to an Atheist" by Michael Patrick Leahy.