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A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists Paperback – April 16, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Over the past decade, New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor J. Stenger have answered these questions affirmatively. Their best-selling books have promoted the ideas that Christian faith is based on insufficient evidence; that in light of scientific advances, God is a "failed hypothesis"; and that suffering--when not actively caused by believers--disproves God's existence.
Stokes disagrees. Building on the philosophical insights of Alvin Plantinga (who blurbs the book), Stokes argues that theistic belief is rational, that science points to a designed universe (and where there's a design, there's a Designer), and that the problem of evil actually points to an incoherence in atheism (for how can there be moral law without a Moral Lawgiver?). One-sentence summaries don't do justice to the nuances of Stokes's arguments, but they point in the right general direction.
Although New Atheists can read this book with profit, its subtitle points to Stokes's intended readers, namely, Christians. He aims to help them "be a confident believer in an age of cranky atheists" (and I would've added, "atheist cranks"). It is less a book of apologetics, then, than a book about apologetics. And that's a shame, for the Christian book market is saturated with apologetics books written for Christians, and Stokes writes clearly and winsomely enough to directly engage nonbelieving readers. Nevertheless, the book is still worth reading, if only for its discussion of evidentialism.
In epistemology, evidentialism is the notion that, "to be rational, a belief must be supported by sufficient evidence.Read more ›
It turns out, however, that only one or two layers beneath the overly confident surface lies a surfeit of good ideas. With a little guided and informed examination it is revealed that their bark does not measure up to their bite. Mitch Stokes' book is that examination, and is a very well-guided tour of the problems with the so-called new atheists.
But the book begins in an unexpected place. In fact, I'm not sure I have read a non-technical or popular level book on Christian thought or apologetics that begins where he does. You might expect a book like this to open by dealing with the major arguments for God's existence or the reliability of Scripture or even a blow-by-blow examination of the new atheist's arguments. Instead, Stokes begins with the issues of argument, reason, and knowledge in the first place. Specifically he uses the epistemological work of Alvin Plantinga to argue against the evidentialism, Enlightenment rationalism, and scientific provincialism inherent (and necessary) to the work of the new atheists. In essence, he pulls the rug out from underneath their entire scheme.
From there Stokes deals with what are probably the two most popular and potent attacks on the faith - the assertion that science has `disproved God' and the problem of evil.Read more ›
The book is divided into three sections, each one addressing a different argument for atheism: that belief in God is irrational, that science has shown that God doesn't exist, and that the existence of evil in the world shows that God doesn't exist.
One of Stokes's central tasks here is deconstructing evidentialism - the argument that any belief must be supported by sufficient evidence to be rational, and which is used to criticize belief in God. This is probably the highlight of the book. In fact, Stokes generally does an excellent job of picking apart atheistic arguments. He doesn't do near as good a job, however, on his pro-Christian arguments, which are often too cursory. That this book was put together solely with Christians in mind makes this understandable (Stokes explicitly assumes a Christian worldview on the part of the reader), but it also means that this isn't really a book you can hand to your atheist friend to read.
While he covers a wide range of atheist scientists and philosophers in his discussions, Stokes leans too heavily on Plantinga for his pro-Christian arguments. A Shot of Faith to the Head thusly serves well enough as an introduction to Plantinga, but it would have been nice to get some other perspectives. However, Plantinga is always Stokes's go-to guy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a well argued book intended for believers who might feel nervous about the arrogant assertions of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the like. Read morePublished 2 months ago by David A. Denny
It his is my first Mitch Stokes book. I am now a fan. He writes in a easy to read manner. He takes you down a road of learning the circular arguments of the unbeliever. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A fantastic walk through the reasonable nature of the Christian faith.Published 3 months ago by Michael P. Fordon
Great book, very complex and hard to swallow intellectually, but still good.Published 9 months ago by Will Taylor
As long as you are going to argue the reality of God and Jesus from the plane of philosophy, this is a good tool. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Rob
Mitch Stokes is an Engineer-turned-Philosopher and that's easy to tell because of his eminently pragmatic approach to apologetics he displays in this book. Read morePublished on December 20, 2013 by Fred
Let me start by saying this book is heavy. One of the reasons it is called a shot to the head might be because your brain might hurt after a while. Read morePublished on August 23, 2013 by Cameron
While reading "A Shot of Faith to the Head," by Mitch Stokes, I can't help but smile. While seemingly intent on bringing up the most difficult questions that atheists can whip up,... Read morePublished on July 9, 2013 by Andre Rook
Mike Tyson once said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Our time is one where atheists bully us around, claiming we're delusional if we believe in a God. Read morePublished on April 8, 2013 by Ryan Adair