Answering Atheism

Answering Atheism January 22, 2014

In the aftermath of the slew of books by the so-called new atheists there has been a wealth of material in book-form in reply. Of the several books I have read they have all provided good material in answering atheism.

The main weakness of the majority of the books I have read regarding atheism in apologetics is that I also found that these books were not ones that I would really suggest an atheist to read. While reading them I reflected that if I was still an atheist that I would have found the tone to be too condescending or confrontational. My only previous exception to this I found was New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer S.J. Although this book was not a general apologetics work and almost entirely confined itself to where the philosophical and the scientific arguments intersected.

When I first heard that Trent Horn from Catholic Answers was putting out a book on atheism I had high hopes that maybe here would be a book that I could recommend to atheists who were interested in hearing arguments against atheism. I have greatly enjoyed Trent Horn’s answers on Catholic Answers especially when they spend a whole show dialoging with atheists. I am very happy to report that Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity is exactly the book I have been waiting for.

I liked almost just about everything about this book and the serious effort it makes to take atheist objections seriously. You can certainly see the St. Thomas Aquinas approach here where objections are put forth accurately before the “on the contrary” reply to the objection. There are always going to be tensions between writing an apologetics book for a popular audience while addressing technical philosophical and scientific questions. Trent Horn has navigated these tensions rather well and solved part of this problem by moving some more technical discussions to appendixes without leaving out meat in the main chapters. I also really enjoyed some of the arguments employed and some of the nuances that he used that I had not encountered before.

So as the subtitle of this book focused on using logic and charity I think the really hit this out of the park. This is a great book for anybody that wants to brush up on or explore the arguments/ways of knowing that God exists.

This is also a book that can be easily recommended to atheists and not have them just dismiss it in frustration. At one time I was naive enough to believe that a solid book of this type would of its own be a great conversion tool. I have since learned that grace, disposition, and timing is even a more necessary requirement before logic. Yet this book at least will help towards fertilizing that rocky soil.

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