Book Challenge

A while back, I wrote a post about a challenge given to me by a Christian proselytizer on my campus. If I read a book of their choice, they would read one of mine. Unfortunately, they never replied back to me after I emailed them, so it never happened. I don’t know what happened there. Maybe they changed their mind. Maybe the email got lost. No way to tell. But I was pretty disappointed about it, after having put a significant amount of effort into selecting a book.

However, another blogger recently took me up on the same challenge. He read my suggestion of Hemant Mehta’s “I Sold My Soul On Ebay.” This may have been the wrong book to pick for this particular person. I was hoping to share a bit about the atheist perspective with him, and a person I had recommended it to previously had found it useful. However, I think he read it as if it were written to de-convert people, as if it were The God Delusion or something. Oh well.

He took his time selecting a book for me to read. This was fine by me. If I’m going to read a book about Christian apologetics, I’d rather read one of the better ones out there. In the end, he picked William Lane Craig’s “On Guard For Students: A Thinker’s Guide to the Christian Faith.”

It’s taken me a bit to finally get started on it properly. If you’ve been following my blog lately, it should be pretty clear as to why. I did try to start reading it a few times, but, well, I’ve been having some difficultly concentrating on even light reading lately, and apologetics is not light reading. I really wanted to get started on this, though, so I’m giving it another try.

So far I have read the foreword, which is a brief discussion of logical arguments. Pretty basic stuff, and pretty useful. I don’t disagree with any of it, but some of the wording strikes me as, ah, foreshadowing of what is to come. Specifically, the way Craig frequently uses the word ‘denial’ when talking about the rejection of the premise of an argument and the way he talks about the ‘price’ of denying a premise.

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6 thoughts on “Book Challenge

  1. I’m imagining “the price” would be along the lines of “credibility damage” somebody would take for denying seemingly clear-cut premises or conclusion. It’s often considered argumentative on the part of Craig to dare use language like “price” or “denial”, when in reality it’s the conflict being brought by someone denying the premises where real combative elements lay. Anyhow, I’m glad to read you’re not disagreeing (not disagreeing yet) with the material. Hopefully you’ll find the “philosopher’s journey of faith” chapters more enjoyable than the hard going philosophy/theology. I certainly remembering breathing a sigh of relief whenever the odd one would interrupt Kant or Hume or Humever. 😛

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  2. No one can really prove anything about God to you or anyone else. That’s why these things are called “Faith”. Just as you have faith that you are a guy, I have faith that there is a God.

    A couple of things got me there.
    1. I couldn’t really explain where everything, and I mean everything, the world, universe etc. without it being created.
    2. J. Christ is a known historical figure.
    3. The closer I am able live to the Christian ideal, the more satisfied with life I am.

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    • I don’t have faith that I am a guy. Gender identity is not something that is based on faith, just like sexual orientation is not based on faith. I’m not sure how you got the impression that a person’s gender is somehow faith based.

      But more on topic, if one is supposed to take the existence of God on faith, then how does one arrive at the conclusion of which god(s) to have faith in?

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    • I’d imagine, though Alex can of course clarify being in a position neither of us wholly understand, that their life choice to change and be a certain sort of a thing is due to something experiential, the Christian belief in God is too involved in experience, for which there’s faith in the promises of God. So, I’m unsure if I’d be so bold as to say Alex has “faith” they are what they perceive their ideal self as, rather that’s what they feel they are by way of experience. I’d like to think they know what they were born as, they simply interpret the entire situation differently from how you or I would, for which we’d have to talk out whether or not their understanding of things was reasonable. Of course they can say further.

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  3. I did that same challenge with one of my former coworkers. He gave me a book about the apostolic faith and I gave him why evolution is true by jerry coyne. I read, summarized, and analyzed his book with him. He said he would do the same with coyness book but never did. Ive never read mentha’s book but possess craig’s book, the adult version. iv’e watched some of his debates and have been turned off to even looking at his material. reading your post makes me want to dust off that text and actually read it. 🙂 thanks for your post

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  4. Alberto, I’m curious, why would you be “turned off” by so polite, articulate and friendly an individual as William Lane Craig, if anything, on a personal level, I’ve never seen or read anything but praise from his debate opponents when speaking of him. Similarly, with regards to their arguments, Dr. Craig being “The one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists.” (as said by Sam Harris) should be well liked on both fronts, the intellectual and personal. Why the distaste?

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