Wow. What else can one say in regard to this book? Dr. John Blanchard traces the history and development of atheistic and agnostic thinking from ancient Greece through to the present, showing us, in the process, why Christianity is a much more coherent and viable worldview.
Our culture has been radically changed by atheism, particularly the atheism inherent in Darwinian evolutionism. Blanchard highlights the naturalistic, materialistic assumptions of evolutionism, and critiques the contemporary arguments for evolutionism coming from people like Richard Dawkins and Peter Atkins.
But evolution is only one of the many atheistic philosophies and worldviews which have altered our culture (for the worse). Blanchard brilliantly exposes just how widespread atheism is in our contemporary culture, particularly as it is seen in several major world religions and almost all cults. Then he highlights the major flaws evident in worldviews like secular humanism, materialism, relativism, determinism, and existentialism, which are all just thinly veiled atheism (often not even veiled). He examines the writings of atheists like Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Camus, Sartre, and Russell, and discusses how profoundly they have impacted both atheism and modern culture.
After showing the deleterious effects of a widespread atheism, Blanchard turns to the figure of Jesus. Jesus is the pivotal point in the history of the universe, according to Blanchard (and many others, however grudgingly). Because the teachings of Jesus have inspired more people in the course of history than those of any other religion or teacher, we can't ignore them. Thus, Blanchard reminds us of the veracity of the gospel accounts (the extant stories of Jesus' life and ministry) and of the historicity of Jesus. He challenges the atheist to deal with the Jesus presented in the gospels, realizing that in the course of history, no atheist has been able to adequately deal with the reality and truth of Jesus.
In the end, the only choice we have is between theism and atheism, since the only viable choice for theism is biblical Christianity. Blanchard has compiled a truly compelling case against atheism, and a compelling case for Jesus. All that is left is for people to make their choice.
Does God believe in atheists? With deep insight and cogency, British author John Blanchard challenges atheists and agnostics while helping believers to defend their faith. A landmark book that's destined to become a classic.
John Blanchard has written a largish book, the size of which, by his own admission, surprised him. And yet, there is very little dead weight here. Blanchards purpose is to interact with the claims of atheism. He frames this around the question, Does God Believe in Atheists? In the end, after all the disclaimers, he clearly answers, No.
The scope of the book is broad, sweeping the reader from ancient Greek philosophy to our present day. In the first chapter, he deals with monism (Thales et al), the big three (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), the Atomists (Democritus and Epicurus), the skeptics (Pyrrho), and Neo-Platonism (Plotinus). The reader is struck by the truth of Solomonthere is nothing new under the sun. These philosophies are the grounds of the New Age Movement (monism), naturalism (Atomism), postmodernism (skepticism), and pantheism (Neo-platonism). That was as tersely as I could summarize this chapter, and the book offers twenty-three others equally full of helpful and relevant information.
Accordingly, highlights, rather than a blow-by-blow summary seem to be in order. One highlight was the historical section, which traced the flow of ideas over the last twenty centuries. This clarified for me the question of why our culture thinks the way it does nowadays. His treatment of intelligent design (the modern teleological argument), and his interaction with modern atheists was gripping. It had the further benefit of confirming, of making very real to me something I thought I already knew--the reality that the God of Scripture really lives.
Blanchard ends on familiar territory for Christians. He argues that the Triune God of the Bible is the only God that can and does exist. While still good and informative, much of this constitutes a review for the Christian. But since his audience is much broader than Christians, it is important that his sections on the perfections of God and uniqueness of Christ are included.
Reading time is always limited, and must be doled out scroogishly. Readers wont regret investing their minutes here. Blanchard writes with vigor and much clarity of thought. The book is well-researched (one wonders how he gets to the time)a fact displayed by the extensive footnotes. My copy is bristling with self-stick markers.
Also gratifying was the fact that the author doesnt shrink from the problem of evil, and that ultimately he answers it in the only way that is coherent: there is no problem of evil for naturalists, because they have no basis to call anything good or evil. This seems to be alluding back to the transcendental argument for the existence of God: God must exist because of the impossibility of the contrary.
In the end, one isnt sure whether the book will be used to convert entrenched, hard-core atheists. Their problem is moral, and they are practicing culpable dullness (see Rom. 1). They have a vested interest in suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, so no matter how compelling the case may be, they have their fingers in their ears and are singing their national anthem with full throats. One also wonders if the unbeliever would have the patience to read nearly 600 pages from a Christian apologist. However, the book is a withering attack on unbelief, full of resources to equip the Christian apologist in the defense of truth. Joost Nixon, Christian Book Previews.com
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