With this book Stokes attempts to make sometimes complex philosophical arguments for belief in God accessible for general Joe Bloggs kinds people who might not have encountered philosophy much before. He stakes his claim that belief in God can be and is a rational thing. He pitches this against the "cranky", militant new atheists who seem hell-bent on eradicating God from all of (sane) life.
I'm not a scholarly philosopher so I can't comment on the strength of his arguments from a technical perspective but they all seem sound and useful. As such I think Stokes achieves his goal of equipping believers with a defense of God.
One thing I would say is that he tends to overplay some aspects of the God/Atheism debate. It seems to be inferred atheism will spread without these kinds of equipping people to debate the existence of God. Maybe it's because I'm in New Zealand, but then still, he does raise some good points.
The book wasn't so easy to read, engaging and really makes you look inward to your own beliefs to better understand and better come to a conclusion of where you stand in comparison to others. I do suggest that you start reading at the beginning to fully feel the force of his philosophy at the end. I would still recommend Stokes' book because we as Christians need to learn how to defend and understand our faith to some degree, especially in the relativistic, secular humanistic society we live in today. While this book is clearly embracing Christianity, it will be an interesting read even for someone who does not believe in Christianity because the book lists the most important and strongest arguments against Atheism that the author can think of.
this book, A Shot Of Faith To The Head: Be A Confident Believer In An Age Of Cranky Atheists, is wonderful. it was written by Mitch Stokes. Stokes is a smart guy; he's a philosopher, an engineer, a writer.
books by famed atheists Richard Dawkins, Sam Harries, and the late Christopher Hitchens have been best-sellers in the past decade. they've represented a new trend in atheism, or anti-theism, where they not only do not believe there is a God, they believe religion and believing in God is bad, harmful, and even dangerous.
Stokes' book is a wonderful counterpoint to the arguments made by the atheist/anti-theist crowd. he's an excellent writer/story-teller. the book is deep, and at the same time understandable and practical. he addresses the issues with both the mind of a philospher and a scientist; an important combination in the debate.
the three main sections of the book address specific concerns in the theist/atheist/anti-theist conversation.
Part One: "Belief in God is Irrational"
Part Two: "Science has Shown There's No God."
Part Three: "Evil and Suffeirng Show There's No God."
there's also an intermission after Part One, "The Art of Self-Defense."
A Shot Of Faith To The Head is a must-read in today's world. it's excellent material to know and think about.
the downside, however, is this kind of apologetics and debate sometimes doesn't work with postmoderns and younger people exploring religions and searching for God. always start with a relationship and being real. don't hit people over the head with this book. break this out when people are ready.
I chose to review this book because of the title. Who wouldn't want to be more of a confident Christian?! I loved the imagery that "shot of faith to the head" inspired and looked forward to some humor. However, it was deeper and harder to read than I had expected, even though Dr. Stakes does have a quick wit! He breaks his book down into three parts to address the atheists' and to help strengthen Christians' faith. Part 1 addresses "belief in God is irrational" with an "intermission" on self-defense. Then part 2 and 3 cover the claims that "science has shown there's no God" and "evil and suffering show there's no God", respectively. At the end of each chapter is a handy summary of what was just discussed.
It was well written and the information was interesting, some more than others. However, I do not feel like it is very practical to the average believer. Actually a class connected with this book would be an awesome suggestion. People could read a chapter then get together with a leader for discussion, more explanations when needed, and guidance on how to practically use this information. (This is a series suggestion I hope Dr. Stokes and Thomas Nelson publishing will look into. Christians need to be confident in this age. Dr. Stokes has lots of information to share, but how can I use this information?)
A Shot of Faith to the Head was not quite what I expected, but don't let that discourage you. There is a lot of great stuff in there to stretch you and make you put on your thinking cap! Doubts happen in all Christians' lives, but, as Dr. Stokes says... "All thoughtful believers - even those who faith is mature - encounter doubt. Not a single person has had unadulterated faith. In any case, it certainly won't do to ignore your doubts, and defusing them will only strengthen your faith. To be sure, doubts can be strong enough to become a trail in your life; but like all trails, they're meant to refine faith, not stifle it."
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Dr. Mitch Stokes is a Senior Fellow of Philosophy and a member of the College's graduate faculty. He teaches graduate courses in philosophy and undergraduate courses in mathematics and logic. His latest book, A Shot of Faith to the Head: Be a Confiident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists (Thomas Nelson Publishers) came out this year.
So right away, I want to point out that Dr. Stokes is a philosopher, so this is written mostly as a philosophy book. So if those kind of concepts are hard for you to digest, you might have to read this book slowly. A lot of books I read and review sometimes say, "this was an easy read" or "the author has an easy voice" I don't know that I would say that about this book.
The primal argument in this book is in the defense of the existence of God.
Dr. Stokes breaks his book into three major questions:
1. How can a rational person believe in God?
2. Doesn't science disprove God?
3. How can a loving God allow suffering?
And even though these questions have been answered in other books, I think with the rise of the new atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, a book like this is needed for a new generation.
Dr. Stokes does a good job arguing that a faith in God is rational, that science points to intelligent design and that morality and a supreme God is consistent with suffering and punishment in the world.
I love apologetics, so I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an overview or a refresher.
I received this book from Thomas Nelson/Book Sneeze for a fair and honest review.