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The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief Paperback – February 1, 2010

3.2 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Making of an Atheist is a helpful book that introduces the reader to a biblical analysis of the nature and roots of unbelief. While not disparaging the use of apologetics in laying out a case for theism, Spiegel shows that the central issues influencing disbelief are often more a matter of a commitment to moral and spiritual independence than to an objective assessment of the evidence."

Greg Ganssle, Yale University department of philosophy and the Rivendell Institute

"Most of the work being done today in response to atheism focuses on intellectual issues and arguments against belief in God. In The Making of an Atheist, James Spiegel has crafted a clear, crisp, compelling case that there are non-rational moral and psychological dynamics that lead to unbelief. Rooted in Scripture and argued with the precision of a trained philosopher, this powerful little book is a must read for theists and atheists alike!"

Chad Meister, Bethel College philosophy professor, author of Building Belief and co-editor of God Is Great, God Is Good

About the Author

JAMES S. SPIEGEL is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He has published several books, including The Benefits of Providence, Faith, Film, and Philosophy, Gum, Geckos, and God, and the award-winning How to be Good in a World Gone Bad. Jim and his wife, Amy, blog together at www.wisdomandfollyblog.com. They have four children and live in Fairmount, Indiana.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802476112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802476111
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief (2010) is an interesting apologetic text by philosopher James Spiegel. Typically, apologetics books deal with arguments themselves whereas Spiegel's book examines atheism from the perspective of morality. Working from biblical evidence such as Romans 1, he contends that the reason individuals reject God is because of their immorality, which causes them to reject the clear evidence for God.

He begins by referencing the atheists themselves, such as Thomas Nagel who has said that he doesn't want God to exist. They are willing to accept wild theories rather than accepting the evidence for God. For example, both Francis Crick and and Richard Dawkins are open to the notion of directed panspermia, which is that life appeared because aliens planted it here.

He also argued that certain factors, specifically fatherlessness and immorality, predispose people to reject God. I suspect that these factors led to significant resistance to Spiegel's hypotheses, though probably for emotional, rather than logical reasons.

At the end of the book, he concludes with a short chapter on The Blessings of Theism. A common ploy from many of the new atheists is to talk about how theism is bad for society. Reality proves otherwise.

If you have an interest in why people think the way they do, this may be a good read for.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book The Making of an Atheist, author James S. Spiegel looks at how morality or the lack thereof plays an important role in the rejection of God. Can immorality lead to unbelief? Surprisingly, as Mr. Spiegel documents, many well-known atheists are not reticent in acknowledging the volitional aspect of their atheistic beliefs.

But what about those of faith? To my mind that is the bigger question here. Does a lifestyle which rejects the basic tenants of Biblical morality lead to a rejection of God by those of a Biblical world view? Does moral compromise through generations insidiously erode the foundations of faith? After reading The Making of an Atheist, I believe you’ll find the answer to that question is an unfortunate yes.

I think the history of higher education in this country is a good example of Mr. Spiegel’s premise. Who doesn’t know that Harvard, Yale and many of the most prestigious institutions of learning in the US were started by those of a Biblical world view to promote not just higher education but a Biblical moral standard? And today? Those very same institutions are bastions of secular humanism which is the very antithesis of their founder’s intentions.

Morality by its very nature is a God attribute. Without God mankind’s competing self-interests are ultimately destructive. Without God each of us becomes merely the next meal in an endless evolutionary food chain. Is that really how we want to see the beauty and mystery of the world around us?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review will provide a critical critique of James Spiegel's book The Making of an Atheist to fellow believers in the God of the Bible, the intended audience of the book. More specifically, it will articulate Spiegel's central thesis and an overview of each chapter will examine how Spiegel supports this thesis. This review will also highlight the significance of the book as a response to the New Atheism and emphasize the book's strengths and weaknesses.
Spiegel wastes no time describing the New Atheists' opposition to Christianity. At the beginning of the book, he cites the belligerent quotes of three prominent players in the movement. Sam Harris declares, "The biblical God is a fiction, like Zeus and the thousands of other dead gods whom most sane human beings now ignore." Christopher Hitchens said, "Religion poisons everything." Richard Dawkins calls God a "delusion" and labels Him "a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, blood thirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." Spiegel points out that the only new thing these men offer the atheist position is their "degree of bombast" and a prose that "seethes with outrage." Though their intellectual arguments have been repeatedly rebutted by Christian and non-Christian philosophers and theologians over the centuries, they present themselves as having arrived at their conclusions by intellectual inquiry. Spiegel's central thesis contradicts this very idea.
Spiegel explicitly states, "I want to show that atheism is not ultimately about arguments and evidence." He elaborates further, "Atheism is *not at all* a consequence of intellectual doubts.
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Spiegel takes on Paul case that disbelief spring forth from going against God created order. He did a brilliant job to show that " Atheism is not at all a consequence of intellectual doubts. Such doubts are mere symptoms of the root cause—moral rebellion. For the atheist, the missing ingredient is not evidence but obedience."

J. Budzisewski would concur with Spiegel that : "It’s a funny thing about us human beings: not many of us doubt God’s existence and then start sinning. Most of us sin and then start doubting His existence."

I will recommend this book to those who wish to view atheism from a Biblical point of view. This book does not offer case for or refute case against God but try to find the moral reason that ground disbelief in God.

It is different from other apologetics books I have read before, and I am glad to have come cross it.
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