I’m delighted to announce that Patheos Press has released True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism. Initially, the book was conceived of as a response to the upcoming Reason Rally, but we have since realized that it speaks to a broader, ongoing discussion about the relationship between Christianity, reason, and secularism. Featuring contributions by Dr. William Lane Craig and Sean McDowell, and co-edited with Tom Gilson, the book:
- Provides a thoughtful explanation of how Christianity properly accounts for and encourages both reason and being reasonable.
- Explains the inherent clash between atheism as a worldview and the existence and use of reason.
- Carefully documents that the New Atheist leadership claims the brand of reason, but often fails to offer reasons or be reasonable towards others.
To learn more about the book, you can visit the True Reason website, where you can read excerpts, author biographies, and more. Of course, the best way to learn more is to buy a copy and read it for yourself!
Having worked closely on this project, I can assure you that each chapter is an eye-opening look into some of the most important questions of our day. The book covers questions like:
- What is faith? What is reason? How and why are the two related to one another?
- Is atheism a better alternative to Christianity? Specifically, do atheists live up to their claim to be better at reasoning?
- Has science proved that Christianity is wrong and atheism is right?
- Are Christians theocratic fanatics – or activists who sacrificially work to advance the common good? Is that really in there?
Our society is hungering for a civil and reasoned dialogue about these questions.
But, as we show in the book, many of the New Atheist leaders habitually avoid reason in favor of ridicule and rhetoric. This isn’t a mean-spirited accusation but a fact that True Reason scrupulously establishes.
As the book documents, the New Atheist attitude is a real problem for our world, a world that needs people from different perspectives to respectfully get along with one another. Unfortunately, as we repeatedly demonstrate in True Reason, the New Atheists are just terrible at getting along with most of the world’s population – the 84% of the global population that has some kind of religious commitment. To make this point, True Reason provides many examples of their biased and unjustified comments about religion and people of faith.
Is there a better way?
From my own experience, having talked to many students who have been thoroughly indoctrinated by books like The God Delusion and god is not great, even considering the possibility that atheism is not true will be difficult. I am very much aware that, for some, it will be an intellectual shock to thoughtfully ponder the detailed, logical arguments of True Reason.
Why is this?
Because in today’s world, there are many skeptics who primarily learn about religion from its meanest critics. When your understanding of Christian doctrine comes primarily from Richard Dawkins, you are bound to be surprised by what thoughtful Christians really believe. And you will be caught off guard by serious arguments in defense of the Christian worldview.
For instance, True Reason concludes that Christianity – even faith in Jesus! – actually supports the very existence and use of reason. It establishes that Christianity is a religion that promotes the common good. It shows that Christians are reasoning and reasonable people. To many atheists, these conclusions seem so absurd that they are only worthy of ridicule (to gather evidence in favor of this claim, all you need to do is read a sample of posts from the 500,000+ atheists on reddit).
However, True Reason doesn’t establish its conclusions by making fun of others. It doesn’t blindly assert its conclusions. Instead, it gathers evidence. It employs the tools of logic. It offers reasons. In short, it practices what it preaches. In defending reason, it uses reason. In advocating for respect, it offers respect.
Unfortunately, one of the painful conclusions we have reached is that the New Atheist leadership claims the brand of reason, but often fails to practice it.
This is really too bad. Reasonable people of all faiths and no faith need to graciously confront the poor behavior of the New Atheists and call them to a higher standard – a standard of respect and reason instead of ridicule and rhetoric.
I’m not the only one who recommends True Reason. John Stonestreet, an author and radio host who works for Chuck Colson at Breakpoint, has said of True Reason that “Reasonable people will take this content seriously.” Dr. Tim McGrew, a professor at Western Michigan University, wrote, “Anyone who engages with these arguments thoughtfully will discover that it is surprisingly difficult to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
If you consider yourself to be a reasonable person, and you are interested in joining an ongoing and respectful dialogue between people of faith and the New Atheists, I encourage you to buy a copy of True Reason. Think about the ideas. Discuss it with friends. And let us know what you think.