- Use promo code PRIMEBOOKS18 to save $5.00 when you spend $20.00 or more on Books offered by Amazon.com. Enter code PRIMEBOOKS18 at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism Paperback – February 1, 2014
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
“The essays in this volume show why the atheists’ ideas are not at all reasonable, whereas Christian beliefs do indeed deserve this description. If the press clippings of the New Atheists bother you, you may acquire some ammunition in the pages of this text.” (Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor, Liberty University & Theological Seminary 2014-11-01)
“With a clear message and respectful tone, this book challenges and convincingly refutes the claim of the New Atheists to own reason.” (Michael Licona, PhD, Associate Professor in Theology, Houston Baptist University and author 2013-11-01)
“This book explains the clear difference between the weak thinking represented by the atheists at the Reason Rally, and the strong reasoning accessible through biblically informed thinking.” (Rick Schenker, President, Ration Christi―Student Apologetics Alliance 2013-11-01)
“A compendium of fresh scholarship from contributors who are on the front line of apologetics today.” (Alex McFarland, Director, The Center for Apologetics and Christian Worldview 2013-11-01)
“For my whole Christian life I’ve been saying, ‘My heart cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects.’ Today’s New Atheists seem to be saying something like that: that we should only believe what’s within the bounds of evidence and sound reason. For them, that means we should choose atheism, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. True Reason explains clearly and deeply how New Atheists have both missed and misunderstood the evidence that exists, and why Christianity is by far the better choice for the thinking mind and worshiping heart.” (Josh McDowell, Author & Speaker 2014-01-01)
"The New Atheists claim the high road of reason, yet for all their bluster about rationality, careful, balanced, logically valid thinking has not been their strong suit. True Reason, by contrast, genuinely lives up to its title, and so much more. It takes on the stoutest challenges from the most notable voices on the other side and systematically dismantles them, yet with a grace, respect, and even-handedness rarely seen from their intellectual opposition.” (Greg Koukl, President, Stand to Reason (str.org) 2014-01-01)
"Another important work in the growing list of books rebutting the New Atheism, True Reason is a refreshing, crisply argued critique of this movement’s frequently ill-informed and ungrounded assertions about science, faith, and reason.” (Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University 2014-01-01)
About the Author
Tom Gilson is the Vice President for Strategic Services for the Ratio Christi Student Apologetics Alliance. He is the monthly Worldview and You columnist at BreakPoint, and has written articles for Discipleship Journal, Touchstone Magazine, and Salvo. He blogs at Thinking Christian and The Point. He enjoys canoeing, sailing, and long walks in the woods. He lives with wife Sara and their two college-aged children in Lebanon, Ohio.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Maybe one should first ask a fundamental question. In our time, why do atheists think as they do, and do they even know why? What makes an atheist tick? Though it's at least as old as the Scriptural observation, "the fool says in his heart there is no God," atheism was a rarity in our civilization before the philosophers of the 18th century Enlightenment center-staged the "cult of reason", which developed in the next century into a steadily growing materialism--the idea that the material world is all there is or ever was, and its corollary that God is a human invention. Then in 1859 came a philosophical game-changer, "The Origin of Species." Darwin's immediately influential tract fertilized readied minds. Its theory that a blind natural process accounted for the origin and development of life and all human reality appeared to place a seal of science on the growing materialist worldview.
If not "settled" science, Darwinian evolutionary theory was convincing to much of the educated world through the late 19th century, and even more so in the 20th. It also proved most welcoming as a materialist affirmation for new, totalist class, race, and human behavior theories--ideologies freed from the moral guides of Christian belief to define new moral notions. The 20th century bears tragic witness to the terrible human harvest of the God-denying ideologies ("substitute religions", Churchill called them), whose theory and practice claimed its own higher moral authority to justify the gulags, killing fields, and extermination chambers needed to clear the way for Communist utopias and a Nazi racial order to last a thousand years.
That descent into modern barbarism is history, but the atheist strain in the church of materialism endures, producing new acolytes, notably in the New Atheism advocates who, in March 2012, staged a "Reason Rally" in Washington, D.C. that prompted the writing of this book.
"True Reason" is the brainchild of the student apologetics alliance Ratio Christi's national field director Tom Gilson and Christian Apologetics Alliance president Carson Weitnauer. Readers will find rewarding the eighteen informed, astute and often witty essays they collected on topics such as atheism's irony, its gaps in logic and reason, and the emptiness of naturalistic explanations of reality, for example for human consciousness. Reason, it's pointed out, is ingrained in the Scriptures, pervasive in Christian theology and apologetics from the writings of St. Paul and the early Church Fathers, through Augustine and Aquinas, down to modern apologists like Etienne Gilson, C.S. Lewis and, one might add, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Other essays treat the unique intellectual home that Christian Western Civilization provided for scientific inquiry, hence the birth of modern science in the West and nowhere else. Christian doctrine posed a God-created universe and world of purpose, an ordered Creation that was thus discoverable and comprehensible by the inquiring mind. A historic unity of Christian theism and scientific inquiry marked the work of the major science pioneers of the Western World.
Among further topics are history's evidence in the Gospels, a textual analysis of the quixotic nature of the Israelites' conquest of Canaan, Christianity's historic role in ameliorating and ultimately ending the ancient institution of slavery, and the resolution of the problem of evil--in free will and, citing C.S. Lewis, as God's reminder of man's dependence: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Not missing in these interesting selections is a dismantlement of the illusions and "free speech for me but not for thee" nostrums of New Atheism's avatar of intolerance, British biologist and militant atheist-writer Richard Dawkins. All together the essays of the Christian philosophers, historians, and writers presented in this volume provide an eminently reasoned and learned handbook of Christian apologia which, with scholarship and skill, effectively dismantles the tendentious materialist screeds of the Dawkinses of our time.
In the third millennium of the Christian Era, a funny thing has happened to materialism--and atheism--on their way to the future. They have encountered an unexpected shock: the sub-cellular world of the DNA double helix. In that startling meeting with a dawning 21st century biological science, we witness the highest of ironies. Philosophical materialism and its secular acolytes stand before new and staggering realities.
We are today witnessing an ongoing collapse of the natural selection-random mutation mainspring of Darwinian evolutionary theory under the impact of the revelations of the molecular biological revolution. An unsuppressible inference flows from the fact that the encyclopedic information that directs the great plenitude of living cell types through the data-storage and transmission mechanisms of the DNA double helix, that that information is non-material, thus can have no material origin, but must originate in design by a great, super-ordered intelligence orders of magnitude beyond the collective mind of humanity.
We are entering a transition to a new paradigm of science and human reality. Attention, New Atheists: The returns are in. The philosophy of materialism that underwrote your atheism is dead. Read this handbook--and turn your life around.
After quoting Christopher Hitchens’ depiction of religion, Carson Weitnauer says, “To demonstrate that Christianity offers a coherent, reasoned explanation for the most important features of life, as this book argues, is enough to show the hollowness of these descriptions… This book argues that the existence of reason depends upon the existence of God, and furthermore, provides abundant proof that atheists are as guilty of irrationality as any religious group may be. Still, our hope is that atheists’ rightful concern for honest inquiry is what will eventually lead them to embrace Christianity as the bearer of true reason.” (Pg. 29)
Chuck Edwards observes, “Overall, [Richard] Dawkins shows a considerable lack of knowledge of the genre, content, and content of the Bible. Instead of interacting with the scholarly material on the subject, he reverts to straw man fallacies.” (Pg. 46) He continues, “How does Dawkins account for the origin of life? Dawkins’s explanation is an ‘initial stroke of luck’! (I’m not kidding, those are his actual words.) But that’s not all… Dawkins acknowledges there are a number of other unique, one-off events in the history of life… Dawkins admits the need for a ‘stroke of luck,’ ‘sheer luck,’ ‘some luck,’ and ‘major infusions of luck.’ … This is an unabashed appeal to chance. It is a scientific ‘explanation’ that lacks any semblance of explanation., much less science.” (Pg. 50)
David Wood points out, “Naturalists hold that beliefs, awareness, thoughts, emotions, hopes, and decisions are simply brain states. But what sense does this make? Our beliefs are true or false. An arrangement of particles in a brain cannot be true or false… If naturalism is true, human consciousness cannot exist, because the only explanations naturalists can appeal to involve particles, energy, and natural forces. But the human mind is inexplicable in these terms. Human consciousness is therefore inexplicable in naturalism.” (Pg. 114-115)
Samuel Youngs observes, “Our subjective, lived experience of the world… is hugely important… The question to be asked … is, what view of the world makes the most sense of this reality in our experience? IS it a philosophy that cannot articulate a basis for evaluating other beliefs, formulating moral norms, or describing the relationship between beliefs and actions? Or is it a belief system founded on an ultimate and external-to-self source for truth, goodness, and action? Naturalism offers the former: a bleak outlook where confusion muddles those things that we ought to be able to see most clearly. Christianity, and philosophy based on it, offers the latter: a sun to see by.” (Pg. 182-183)
John DePoe says about skeptical objections about the Problem of Evil, “[this] presumes that a wholly good Being would desire to eliminate all evil. This… [assumes] that a wholly good Being would desire his creation not to experience any pain, suffering, and other challenges presented by the existence of evil. While a wholly good Being would desire no UNNECESSARY or GRATUITOUS evil---that is, evil that does not have some morally sufficient justification---there are no rational grounds to think that a wholly good Being would desire the elimination of all evil at all costs. If there are sufficiently beneficial goods that can be attained through the existence of evil, then it follows that a wholly good Being would, in fact, desire the existence of evil in order to bring about those goods.” (Pg. 208)
Later, he adds, “What makes these natural events evil is when their existence intersects with moral agents. A tornado that touches down in a trailer park and results in the loss of human life, for example, is an evil event. But if no humans were there ,the tornado would be viewed as a morally benign event. The implication of this insight is that what is often called natural evil is ultimately due to the exercise of free agency. If people had not chosen to settle in an area prone to tornado activity or on a fault line, there would be no associated evil event such as tornadoes or earthquakes. Thus, even these natural evils are a result of exercising free will… the claim is not that people who have chosen to live in proximity to potentially dangerous natural events necessarily deserve the natural evil that befalls them. The point is that natural evil is a consequence of free agency.” (Pg. 219)
Matthew Flannagan suggests, “I contend that the widely held view that the book of Joshua teaches that God commanded the genocide of the Canaanites is questionable… Taking the account of total annihilation of the Canaanite population as a literal description of what occurred contradicts what is affirmed in Judges to have literally occurred. Moreover, it conflicts with how the command is described elsewhere in Judges and in Exodus. The writers would have known this and, not being mindless, could not have meant both accounts to be taken literally. This means one must be nonliteral. The literary conventions found in Joshua are highly stylized and figurative, and contain hyperbolic, hagiographic accounts of what occurred. The conventions in Judges are less so. Consequently, the so-called genocide in Joshua and the command to ‘utterly destroy’ the Canaanites should not be taken literally.” (Pg. 270)
This diverse collection of essays will be of great interest to those studying apologetics.