Reading a Christian Apologetics Book After Becoming an Atheist

Coming out as an atheist to her family provoked an unsurprising response from reader Amanda‘s mother:

My husband and I came out to our respective families two weeks ago (Yay! No more needless pressure to pretend anymore! No more paranoia over what their reactions would be!) and my mom very sternly suggested that I read [Lee Strobel's] The Case for Christ “with an open mind and heart.”

So Amanda read the book. She had actually read a version of it when she was younger, but she was going to read it this time through skeptical eyes and more knowledge about the tricks Christian apologists use when trying to make their arguments.

And she took copious notes :) (At least until she had to put the damn book down because it was so awful.) Give them a read and let her know if she missed anything important!

Just FYI, Adam Lee at Daylight Atheism wrote a thorough chapter-by-chapter rebuttal to one of Strobel’s other books, The Case for a Creator. And atheist Jeffery J. Lowder wrote a lengthy review of The Case for Christ at The Secular Web years ago.

Have any of you reread a Christian book (besides the Bible) after you left the faith? What stood out to you when you read it through the new perspective?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Lance Finney

    Here’s my review of Greg Boyd’s “Letters from a Skeptic” that I reread recently, 13 years after reading upon first becoming an atheist:

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/187386714

    (tl;dr summary – it’s a book to convince Christians that they’re right, not to convince any informed atheist)

    • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

      Is there any other kind of apologetics anymore?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alewis2 Adam Lewis

    I wrote my master’s thesis on religious
    rhetoric
    with a particular focus on what I was personally familiar
    with — fundamentalist Christian rhetoric — so I’ve re-read piles of Christian
    apologetics books after becoming a non-believer.

    I could comment at length on many of them, but the one that stood out to me was
    Rick Warren’s  Purpose Driven Life.  It was
    insultingly stupid not just in its ideas, but in its third-grade reading
    level.  That can be contrasted to the time back in my fundamentalist
    church when it was passed about like a tome full of sage wisdom.   Warren commits elementary logical fallacies on
    nearly every page. 

    I actually passed on using it as a source in my thesis even though it was a
    great example of what I was analyzing because it was just too ridiculous.  I chose instead to focus on Al Mohler, Bill
    Craig, and Alvin Plantinga as I wanted a good cross-section of low-brow and
    high-brow sources (as far as those labels can be applied in this area).  Warren shouldn’t even be considered on that
    lower end and his book has sold more than 30 million copies.  That tells us so much about our culture.    

     

    • Kylemarsh2003

      I’d be interested in reading this.  Do you have a link?  Did you included Chesterton?  A friend of mine in seminary now swears by Chesterton.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alewis2 Adam Lewis

        I had thought about including Chesterton but as my main focus was current events and writing authors, ones from the past would have been out of place beyond brief mentions.

        Currently the entire thesis is inaccessible in my school’s database as I put it under embargo in case I try to publish something with it, but there is a chapter on the secular web that made it in modified form to the thesis and can be seen as part of the primary argument.

        Why Religion is Persuasive by Adam Lewis

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=679602924 Claudia Sawyer

      Angie the Anti-Theist does a chapter by chapter critique of Purpose Driven Life:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZUbf-gLCtU&feature=relmfu

  • http://profiles.google.com/ericehaas Eric Haas

    There are at least two books that respond to Strobel’s “The Case for Christ.”  Robert M. Price wrote “The Case Against the Case for Christ” and Earl Doherty wrote “Challenging the Verdict.” Both are very good. But it looks like Amanda has done a pretty good job of taking down Strobel on her own.

    • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

      I’ll have to check those sources out. Thanks! I considered reading them side by side, but then decided to just read C4C and make some observations on my own. I’d wager a lot of their objections are similar, though (I’m curious to find out!). 

    • Rob

      Robert M Price’s book is wonderful!  It’s especially good in Amanda’s case, considering that he was an evangelical pastor who lost his faith when attending seminary and holds 2 theological doctorates.  Price isn’t anti-theist and doesn’t tend to regard Christianity as a bad thing, just a wrong thing.  Although his witty sense of humor may sting Christians at time.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Robert Price also has a rebuttle for The Purpose Driven Life (The Reason Driven Life).  Its a good read.

  • Bailey

    My aunt sent me Case for Christ (along with an engraved KJV and CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity) when I graduated from college. I bust out CfC whenever I am bored and in need of a good chuckle. I find that reading apologetics is one of the easiest ways to get myself out of a bad mood, but also to sharpen my own rhetoric in dealing with the BS that gets slung my way whenever I talk to Christians. Reading the actual sources forces me to come up with counter arguments, and exposes me to the types of thoughts I expect to see parroted all over the internet, which makes it easier to take them apart. 

    • dauntless

      That is such an alien concept to me. Reading apologetics makes my blood boil. I know how flawed it is, and that should make me laugh, but the fact that it works on so many people and gets them to stop asking questions is truly upsetting. I don’t know how people who are doubting could ever find the responses of apologists satisfying, but they clearly do.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fullphaser Shawn Miller

    I actually reread the left behind series sometime after falling out with the Catholic Church, and remember being younger any my thoughts on the book being somewhat similar to a worse version  of the Langaliers, but never quite understanding what the book was trying to get at. 

    Reading it now, I can’t help but think “Oh my, the writer was bat loco”

  • hmm

    I think I appreciated the Bible more after I abandoned Catholicism.

  • deong

    I never really had a religion to lose, but my (then) girlfriend recently asked me to read “The Case for Christ”, and I have to concur that it’s just really awful. I was prepared for the faulty logic and the general feel of a work of apologia — that is what it is after all. What I wasn’t prepared for was the dreadful writing. Strobel makes himself the lead character of the book, injecting himself into every interaction seemingly as intrusively as possible (e.g., at dozens of points in each interview, the book will contain things like, “I remember one time in Chicago when I blah blah blah, and this made me think of blah blah blah. So I asked him, blah blah blah…”). There’s nothing so obvious that he doesn’t feel the need to explain it to the reader over and over again. It’s hard to believe this is a person who made a living putting words on the page.
    I also planned to take copious notes, but I can’t imagine finding the fortitude to finish the book. I’ve only read three chapters so far, and my notes currently run about 11,000 words.

    • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

      The burden of note-taking for The Case for Christ is a heavy one to bear.

      I’m glad you were annoyed at Strobel’s character insertions in the book, too; I found it absolutely maddening (although it did serve to remind me that I was reading fiction).

      I say publish the notes that you have (especially if your method of note-taking eventually devolves into dictating the angry, muttering “conversations” you have with Strobel while reading along) and leave the wholesale criticisms to the people that have already done so. :)

  • Noel

    ugh, that reminds me of the time an anonymous coworker left a copy of Case for Christ tucked between the driver’s side mirror and door of my car

    HR was shut down for the day by then, but I handed it over to them, along with a formal complaint, the next day…

    • Noel

      More on point:

      The most interesting book regarding Christian apologetics I’ve read is Lewis’ Surprised By Joy, although I probably took it “the wrong way” from the author’s perspective.

      It’s about his journey “through atheism” to being a believer.  The parallels between his reasons for losing faith and his happy atheism and my own were startling, and by the end of the book I’d developed a fond attachment to his lack of faith.  Having him smash that all to bits was, in the end, incredibly frustrating.

  • Addison Ling

    Reading the Bible carefully to understand my religion better was one of the things that helped me become an atheist. So when I read it now, it’s not like I’m reading it with a totally fresh perspective; I read it during my “transitional period.”

    • Anonymous

      dood, right?

      my grandparents insisted i be baptized in a methodist church. so i was, at the age of 11. i was able, and required, to read large swaths of the buybull. whoa. 

      have you read that shit? it’s so absurd even a kid can understand it is bunk. sis and i were just talking about this; the fastest way to make an atheist is to give a kid who can read a copy of the holy book(s) and say, “so do you think this is real?” 

      imho, atheism begins with boredom. which is to say, read any “holy” text and eventually it just becomes silly and tiresome. the begats, the slaughter of the innocents, the ridiculous feats that lead to… no change, nothing. the more one studies the buybull the more one is interested in other ancient law codes which are equally ridiculous, from a modern perspective. i’ll take the rituals of Ba’al any day over those of El, who is sort of boring and jealous, like a pretty but drug addled lover. 

  • A. Ling

    Oh my bad: I misread the question…

  • Andrea

    I recently came out to my mom as “believing” in evolution and not creation anymore. I recently started getting the Answers in Genesis magazine. Let’s just say that it’s really entertaining.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      I especially like how their cartoons often unintentionally give the opposite message to the one they intend.

      (Are the cartoons in the magazine or just on their website?)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      I especially like how their cartoons often unintentionally give the opposite message to the one they intend.

      (Are the cartoons in the magazine or just on their website?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684125632 Aaron Harmon

    I read one about 12 pages of one that my brother gave me. I can’t remember the title now (It might have been Geisner’s “Christian Apologetics”), but somewhere around page 10 the author states pretty plainly that he believes in God because it make him happy, and used that as the basis for the rest of his arguments. I had to read the paragraph about five times to make sure that was what he said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    I haven’t read a christian apologetic since becoming an atheist. But I did have the experience the other way round. I first read The God Delusion as a christian.

    When I re-read it as an atheist it was like reading a completely different book. I just couldn’t see what had made me so angry the first time. On second reading, freed from the need to defend the indefensible, I found it a gentle good humoured thoughtful book.

    • Valhar2000

      To me it was a whole book dedicated to pointing out the obvious. I really don’t understand why people are so exercised over it (well, maybe I do, in the case of people who suspect its arguments are correct but would rather not admit it).

      For this reason, I found Dawkins’ other books much more interesting.

  • StarStuff

    My mom sent me some Sylvia Brown woo when I came out.  She inscribed it “I know you don’t believe in god but god believes in YOU!!!!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!”

    • Predator Handshake

      I get emails like that from my mom all the time!  After I came out as atheist to her, she was convinced that I would come back to Christianity if I would just read Case for Christ.  

      Unfortunately I only got through the first chapter before I got too bored to read any more of it, and I have to agree with one of the other commenters here who mentioned the softball questions.  The way he presented his “conversion” was so transparently phony that I just didn’t feel like reading on would be a good use of my time.  I had school to worry about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lindsay-McLellan-Smith/551535902 Lindsay McLellan Smith

    My mother-in-law used to give my kids storybooks from the Christian bookstore all the time, and I’d read them at bedtime without thinking twice. 
    My kids are older and beyond bedtime stories now, and my 12-year-old daughter is actually a fabulous skeptic.  She pulls out the books sometimes to look at together and pick apart. 

  • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

    I’ve never read much Christian apologetics – at least, not in the original and not in defense of Jesus – but I read plenty of Jewish apologetics in my teens and early twenties. Some I liked enough to actually buy the books (after having first read borrowed copies). I re-read a couple about a year, year-and-a-half ago. What seemed to be impressive year ago now reads as logical fallacies and retreading of long-ago refuted arguments.
     
    The  strangest thing is constantly coming across versions of Pascal’s Wager used in defense of Judaism, despite the argument having been first articulated by a Catholic arguing in favor of Catholicism.
     
    I went through about a third of an apologetics book that I got as a gift and posted my analysis: http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/2009/12/search-judaism-critique-introduction.html
     
    I don’t know if anyone here is interested in apologetics for Orthodox Judaism, though the truth is that most of the arguments in the book apply to religion in general, and much of it is standard creationism.

    • Valhar2000

      A lot of the apologetics arguments I see, indeed most of them, are arguments for the existence of some sort of nebulous god-like concept. How you go from that to Christianity (or whatever) is rarely explained. The rest of the arguments are of this sort:

      Believer: The Bible says such-and-such right here!
      Unbeliever: How do you know that Bible is correct in the first place?
      Believer: [does not compute; brain resets] The Bible says it right here!

      • Kaylya

        Well, you have to accept some sort of nebulous god-like concept before you can accept the beliefs of any particular God-based religion.

        I’ve never been religious though I was raised going to Church; I did figure I’d give the religious side a chance and read a few Pro God books after reading Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris. I do think it… mellowed me a bit – the Horsemen left me feeling fairly anti-religious.

        The closest thing I found to convincing is the “the universe is just right” argument, that I believe Antony Flew gets into, but there are plenty of cosmologists who disagree with the necessity (although there is lots we don’t know about how our universe came to be), and such a God is really only of practical interest to cosmologists and philosophers and is a long way from requiring worship, prayer, etc.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    I’ve had people recommend “The Case for Christ” to me a number of times, so I actually did read it once to find out why they found it so compelling. My assessment of the book is that at no time in his life could Strobel ever possibly have genuinely been a “non-believer.” Aside from his overt claims to have once been an atheist, nothing he writes bears even the slightest resemblance to what an atheist actually would have thought or said. It betrays none of the thinking which is the hallmark of a non-believer (even a putative ex-non-believer).

    Thus, the attraction of his book to believers, is that it neatly coincides with all of their prejudices and suppositions about atheists and non-believers, because that’s the stereotype Strobel was playing up to. It’s a very good example of “preaching to the choir” which never actually has anything of value to say to anyone who truly is a non-believer or religious skeptic.

    For the most part, all the other apologetics materials I’ve ever read since departing from fundamentalist Christianity, have had more or less the same appearance to me. They’re written toward a Christian-stereotypical kind of non-believer, not toward any true non-believers. There’s nothing a Christian apologist can tell me, because they refuse even to begin to address me and my concerns directly.

    Having said that, I have to admit that not all apologetics is completely without any value. C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters” is an amusing work. It’s a kind of apologetics, to be sure, but it’s written to other Christians, not to non-believers, so it’s not trying to address a worldview that doesn’t exist. It’s directed at “casual Christians” whose hearts aren’t in their faith. Of course, as such it holds no value to me, but it would have meaning for many Christians and as such has a meaningful message for them. As an ex-believer, though, I do appreciate its humor.

    • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

      “Thus, the attraction of his book to believers, is that it neatly coincides with all of their prejudices and suppositions about atheists and non-believers, because that’s the stereotype Strobel was playing up to.”
      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. After reading this quote from C4C I completely abandoned any idea that I was reading a book from an actual atheist-to-Christian convert:

      “I had read just enough philosophy and history to find support for my skepticism – a fact here, a scientific theory here, a pithy quote, a clever argument. Sure, I could see some gaps and inconsistencies, but I had a strong motivation to ignore them: a self-serving and immoral lifestyle that I would be compelled to abandon if I were ever to change my views and become a follower of Jesus.”I don’t think Strobel was ever an atheist. I think he was an intellectually lazy individual who hasn’t (and doesn’t) had any good reason to believe the things that he does. He wasn’t searching for truth; he papered over serious issues in order to continue his “immoral lifestyle” (whatever that means) by the easiest means possible.

  • Charming Senorita

    The only reason Lee Strobel wrote that shit is to sound convincing to his jesus-junkie wife so that she would not divorce him

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    A Christian friend of mine gave me the Case for Christ and I thought about taking some notes as I read through it, but it seemed like my notes would have been longer than the book so I stopped pretty quickly. That is probably one of the worse books and yet is is one of the most recommended to me. The following year I gave that friend a copy of Letter to a Christian Nation and he didn’t even read it despite the fact that Harris’s book is probably a third of the size of Strobel’s book. I feel cheated. 

    • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

      That is so frustrating – I can relate. I’ve been “out” for about three weeks now, and I have since been trying to gently reopen the topic for discussion. I’ve sent emails, youtube videos, lots of text messages and phone calls, and even a family counseling session, to no avail.

      I’ve been nearly overwhelmed with a sea of “reading suggestions” since coming out,  and since the act doesn’t seem to be reciprocated frequently (I have a sneaking suspicion that, deep down inside, they have the same doubts that I did but are afraid to explore them), I think I will politely opt out the next time a Christian recommends that I read an apologist text.

    • Anonymous

      I picked up Letter to a Christian Nation at a time that I was feeling deeply angered at what our country had become after 9/11, Iraq invasion, Patriot Act…ultimately the gut wrenching loss of freedoms that was happening all around.  Prior to that book, I’d spent 30+ years of my life believing in things I was never quite sure about, always seeking out the “right” religion.  I read that book faster than anything I’ve ever read but still quite thoroughly, shouting “yes, exactly!” to myself the entire time.  By the close of that book I felt completely relieved and officially began to state, “I am an atheist!”  It was the perfect nail in the coffin of my “faith”.
      It is really sad that your friend seems to expect you to correct your position by reading something that has obviously influenced him but cannot even face a slight challenge of his beliefs by such a short but fantastic book that I’m guessing you found profound as well.

  • Ryan Ritson

    This wasn’t an apologetics book, but I do remember a book called the Bondage Breaker having an effect on me when I was a Christian in high school.  The basic premise is that by doing un-Christian things, you actually invite demons into your life, who then can exercise control over you.  Most of the demon-baiting activities are the ones you’d expect (witchcraft, Ouija boards, etc), but non-Christian music, Dungeons and Dragons and even martial arts made the list.  I took it seriously, too, throwing out a couple hundred dollars worth of D&D sourcebooks and most of my secular music.

    Now, I keep the book on my shelf and crack it open occasionally just to remind myself of the sheer lunacy a faith-based worldview can lead you into if there’s no anchor in reality.   There was no real argument in the book, it was all scripture quotes and bad analogies.  It’s embarrassing that I took it so seriously (and that I had to re-buy NIN’s Downward Spiral), but it also provides a good motivation for wanting to engage the world in a skeptical manner. 

    • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

      Wow, what a good Christian you were, getting rid of the “secular influence” in your life. The church I grew up in preached a similar “garbage in, garbage out” philosophy, but by the time I got to high school I was more attached to my music collection (in CD format!) than I was pandering to the congregation. I somehow rationalized that, despite the messages to the contrary, that I could be a good Christian regardless of the music I listened to (or movies or whatever).

      However, in the process I also carried a whole bunch of guilt – that my stubbornness to purge my music and book collection represented me treating them as “false idols” (has anyone else heard or been taught this stuff?). But I wondered where it all stopped – after I get rid of my music, then what? Corduroy skirts? Wearing doilies on my head? “Modest” swimsuits? Courtship instead of dating? The carrot religion holds out is a pretty impossible one to grab, that’s for sure.

      Glad we both got out, though. :)

  • Russell

    When I first noticed my faith begin to waver, I dove into the popular apologetics to help myself  “stay saved”.  Lee Strobel totally pushed me over the edge.

    His softball questions and totally clued in and prepared “experts” convinced me that his “search” was completely phony.  No journalist with any self-respect would ever conduct an investigation in such a shabby manner.

    I re-read the others, Josh McDowell, C.S. Lewis, even Rick Warren (gag), and I could now see that they were all vacuous gasbags.  I figured, if the best apologists can’t do any better than this, maybe the whole religion was a sham.  Jesus fell off the cross and soon all of the other religions followed.  Within a year I was an atheist.

    Lee Strobel’s buffoonery set me free.

    P.S.  I do still read apologetics books as an atheist.  I continue to live by the bible’s admonition to, “always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you.”   Actually, “continue” is the wrong word.  I now find, as an atheist, that I can do it for real and not just pretend.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      “His softball questions and totally clued in and prepared “experts” convinced me that his “search” was completely phony.”

      I feel the same way whenever I see an Alpha Course poster that says something like “Explore the meaning of life” – as if to imply that the direction and destination of the course is unknown. It isn’t exploring to be led by a guide down a path of half truths, lies, aqnd empty promises.

      Another of their posters: “Does God Exist? – Yes, No, Probably” – how generous of them to include two yes answers!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      “His softball questions and totally clued in and prepared “experts” convinced me that his “search” was completely phony.”

      I feel the same way whenever I see an Alpha Course poster that says something like “Explore the meaning of life” – as if to imply that the direction and destination of the course is unknown. It isn’t exploring to be led by a guide down a path of half truths, lies, aqnd empty promises.

      Another of their posters: “Does God Exist? – Yes, No, Probably” – how generous of them to include two yes answers!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always been an atheist so I’ve only really got one perspective on these kinds of books.  I think that it is important to be informed on a subject that I reject so thoroughly so I read a few CS Lewis books which are just full of fallacious arguments that require that each stage be accepted before moving on to the next argument.  Having not accepted the very first argument in Mere Christianity (absolute moral law) I wasn’t able to accept anything that was built on it and I came away feeling like I’d watched a magician fumble through a trick.  He was a good writer despite the poor subject though.

    I’ve read The Shack.  Now that is one piece of utter shite.  I’d been told by various Christians that it was some kind of revelatory explanation as to why Christians believe in their god but when I read it all I wondered was why the lead character didn’t question the god he was talking to.  Where was his anger?  Where was his curiosity?  Where was his honesty?

    I was going to read Strobel but after Hemant’s series of questions a couple of years ago I decided that I’d rather pluck out my own eyes than read one word of this dishonest individual.

    That said I did enjoy Jim Henderson’s book “Jim and Casper go to church”.  It is well written and balanced and the author isn’t trying to sell a belief system.  He’s more about looking at how the system is broken so he can work to fix it and make Christians better people.  “Make them atheists” I hear you cry but make them good Christians is a close second.

  • Duo

    My boss handed me “There is a God” by Antony Flew when he found out I was an atheist. It was SOOOO horribly bad. :-/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000415374149 Glen Sitton

    One of the books that led me to become a Christian was C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”. His “thinking man’s” approach made a lot of sense to me.  But after a decade or so of living and breathing evangelical faith, the more I read the Bible, the more I tried to apply the Bible to real life, the more I taught Bible classes, the more I prayed and the more God was silent, I began to lose my faith.  It was pretty scary.  I prayed more, “waited on the Lord”, read the Bible, meditated on the Bible, consulted pastors.  As the specter of losing my faith grew, I went back to Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” looking for that clarity that was missing.

    I got clarity alright.  As I read his book again, Lewis’ words fell apart like wet tissue paper.  He was just making stuff up.  His argument from morality was plainly errant.  As I made my way through the book the second time, I recall being angry at myself for having been so easily swayed by fluff in the first place.  

    That was the tipping point where it became possible for me to consider that my faith was simply wrong.  So in a manner of speaking, I have to thank C. S. Lewis for helping me *out* of my Christian faith and into a confident, mature real life without theism.

    • Michael Thelen

      Interesting, I had almost the exact same experience with Mere Christianity. The first time I read it, it was totally convincing and solidified my faith. The second time I read it, many years later and after losing my faith, it made almost no sense at all.

    • Yemophil

      Very Sad to hear that Glen :(. I’ve been thru such hard time with God where I prayed and prayed and prayed for a need!!! And it felt that LIKE THERE WAS NO GOD. I NEARLY AND LIETRALLY GAVE UP ON GOD.

      Until this word!!! Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts [James 4:3]. I came to find out that I was praying AMISS because my FAITH did not match my works… The BiblE says [James 2:17,KJV] Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
      Weymouth New TestamentSo also faith, if it is unaccompanied by obedience, has no life in it–so long as it stands alone. So I’m guessing like me, you did not do the right actions…

      So if you claim what you are saying is true (and the absoute), I still believe you are still seeking (WAITING ON GOD) for the answer to this NEED OF YOURS. That’s when this scripture empowers me…
      [Isa 40:31] But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

      Although you have chosen to be an athiest, I bet a million dollars there’s something still in you searching for THAT NEED! I believe STRONGLY THAT ME sending you this message is to help you RENEW YOUR STRENGTH IN GOD!!!!

      The bible says in 1 Corin 2:9-10, 9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
       10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

      God has revealed this to me in the Spirit, and hence I’m passing it to you. So if you want more clarity. Please contact me on my phone number 00447754324589 or facebook (yemophil@yahoo.com). Take care and STAY BLESSED!

  • Rich Wilson

    I just picked up a free copy of “The Case for Faith” (garage sale leftover) and plan to give it a go.  Years back my mother gave me a heavily annotated copy of “More than a Carpenter”.  I started out counter-annotating, but soon gave up.  It was too much work, and as likely to change her as her notes (didn’t) change me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nele-Abels/1127827774 Nele Abels

    When reading the bible, I exhaustively make use of commentaries and glossaries to the text. But those are of scholarly type, because as an atheist historian, I am deeply interested in understanding the thinking of the people who collected these stories in the first place. I am interested in the cultural aspects of the texts, at the interrelation of the different mythologies which led to the Judaeic and Christian syntheses. Questions, e.g., like why is god talking in the 1st person plural in the genesis, or who are the Nephelim, the “sons of god”.

    What I am normally not interested in, is any theological ponderings on the scriptures, which I deem intellectually worthless. The only reason to read them would be to analyse the ideology behind them.

  • Anonymous

    I actually never read apologetics as a Christian, except CS Lewis Screwtape letters if that counts. But I’ve read parts of a few since and they are pretty bad.  I felt particularly masochistic and I watched Lee Strobel’s movies on netflix.  In the same week I watched Expelled.  I think my brain shriveled from it.  

    We had a creationist book written for teens and I read it before and after learning about evolution. I was really mad at how it frames the discussion in a way that encourages kids to stop looking, questioning, thinking.  Its very heavy handed and hedges creationism as necessary for your immortal soul.  So kids learn it the wrong way, and then are essentially brainwashed into not ever question anything about it.  At least, that’s the hope.  I grew out of it pretty fast.

  • oambitiousone

    These type of conversion books reference the Bible as *the source* of their wisdom, which assumes the Bible is irrefutable.  Since the Bible * is* refutable,  the argument crumbles.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I wouldn’t take kindly to someone just handing me a book and expecting me to read it. It’s too lazy on their part. I would demand that they read the book too, and then we could together discuss the book, and they would have to defend the arguments in it.

  • Nakattack

    As an atheist myself I tried reading Strobel’s book one time, as my then fiance (now wife) who is a liberal theist said I should give it a go. I only made it to Ch. 3 before giving up, it was so bad. I wish I had that quote from Billy Madison where the moderator for the contest at the end goes on that long rant about how stupid everyone now is for having heard Billy’s answer, I would say those words to Mr. Strobel.

  • Prof Mxptl

    After buying a Kindle, I found myself “collecting” free books I wouldn’t normally bother with – including the Bible.

    Although I was fed religion at school (it was even called “religious instruction”, so no hiding its purpose!), I hadn`t actually read it, so decided to have a go.

    OK, so much of it is very, very boring (Numbers – sheesh), but God definitely comes across as a capricious, vindictive, mysoginistic mass murderer.

    I`m up to Deuteronomy, so maybe he`ll improve?

    Having said that, he has to put up with the Israelites – what a bunch of whinging barstewards! Moan, moan, moan all the time! Pretty stupid as well – you`d think after the first few smotings, they`d have the sense to keep their traps shut – but no, off they go, moaning again, followed by the inevitable plague and pestilence!

    I preferred Harry Potter.

  • ZAROFF3

     My own perspective is very different, in that I am a Christian but not an Evangelical who actually doesn’t like most Christian Books written in today’s happy clappy fashion. I cut my teeth on St. Augustine’s “City Of God” and have read since then St. Bail and Thomas Aquinas. I also fully understand the Historical context of them. I also like Rene Des Carte, and while I disagree strongly with John Locke, find his work vastly superior to Lee Stroebel from the limited exposure I have had to him.

    That said, I don’t get why even an Atheist would like Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” and have spoken to numerous Atheists who agree that his “good natured and good humoured” book was filled to the Brim with horribly skewed perspectives, bad argumentation, and chap sarcasm used to cover up the flaws.

    Which brings me to why I am posting here now.

    I am a Psychology Student working toward a Doctorate. Its gradual as I must work and don’t have the funds to take more than two classes at a Time.

    Still, what I have been most fascinated by was this sot of topic. It seems to me that the reason you may originally find a Christian Apologetics work strong, only to later see it “as it truly is” and weak and unconvincing may be more a reflection of your own internal biases and conflicts being projected onto the pages you read, and not really the result of coming to a True Realisation based on honest examination.

    I do not mean this as an insult, but the internal biases we carry in our thoughts as well as a tendency to try to read into texts our own thoughts and feelings ultimately can’t be ignored. If any of you came back to Christianity you may yet again have an opinion change.

    To use an example, Politics has the same basic patterns we see in Religion.

    I think that this is like Politics. A Lifelong Democrat may become disgruntled at one policy the Democrats have, say regarding their affiliation with the Unions. This disgruntlement, and exposure to political corruption within the party, may lead him gradually to the Republican Party instead. There, over Time, he may gradually be convinced of Republican Platforms that extend past his initial problems with the Democrats, and later come to identify himself as a Republican himself, thus changing.

    If this man also had read a Book by a Republican that he had thought was weak and made no sense, and another book by a Democrat which he thought had all the solutions and made perfect sense, he may upon his change of parties find he no longer thinks the Democrat Written book is all that sensible, and may in fact reject it now as sheer nonsense, whilst coming to a greater appreciation, even stalwart agreement with the Republican Book he once spurned.

    The same is of course True in Reverse with a Former Republican who becomes a Democrat, or a former Labourite who becomes a Tory.

    What you are describing is not a growing of your minds into greater logical analysis of the books, but rather a shift in the paradigm you use to understand the world and how you must make the information now fit into that new Paradigm. So you read into the books your current perspective. In books by Atheists you now align with, you find them saying what you want to be True so are less prone to Question it, an as you have doubts, or have wholly rejected Christianity arguments for it will now seem weaker or unconvincing.

    Often these reactions are just reflective of our own inner mentality and what’s happening inside our own minds.

    This doesn’t mean thee can’t be valid criticism for Christian Apologetic works, but the same can be said of the Atheistic Religion you now hold. (Yes I know most of you say you have no Religion…) Its not like Atheistic Arguments are particularly stronger, and often I’ve seen very poor ones indeed.


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