Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: A Shot of Faith to the Head by Mitch Stokes, PhD

Every year there's a book that comes across my desk of which I have little or no expectation but ends up being one of my favorite books of the year.  In 2009, it was Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson (you can buy it here). In 2010, it was Marks of the Messenger by J. Mack Stiles (buy here). In 2011, it was A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester (buy here) and Red Like Blood by Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington (buy here).

Without a doubt, the strongest contender for the title so far this year is A Shot of Faith to the Head by Mitch Stokes, PhD. While I had heard nothing about the book (or the author, for that matter) before receiving it, once I had picked it up and started in, I couldn't put it down.

"Finally," I thought to myself as I read, "someone who's matching the atheists not only on the level of arguments (which many good Christians apologists have done), but also on the level of wit, sarcasm and biting intellect." After all, if the New Atheists have done anything well, they have so ridiculed the supposed anti-intellectualism of Christianity that even smart Christians feel they must compromise or live a contradiction. Stokes has now begun to level the playing field and not only show that we have reason on our side, but that the New Atheists should be ashamed of their scathing condescension and perhaps consider their own contradictions for once.

If I may give a spoiler by way of summarizing the book, A Shot of Faith to the Head broadly covers three areas: rationality, design, and absolute (moral) standards. Stokes shows how the atheist depends on one or more of these ideas every time they present their arguments, yet all three of these ideas have no grounding in the atheist's world, only in the theist's. As Stokes concludes:
"The notions of design, rationality, and absolute standards cannot exist in a naturalistic world, the world of the atheists. Without absolute standards—of which there must be many—their worldview would entirely collapse.

"And this poses a serious problem for any atheist who claims that belief in God is irrational. In fact, it takes the legs right out from under such a claim. If there is no designer, then there is no proper function, and therefore there is no such thing as irrationality. But then there’s no such thing as rationality either. There’s only a sterile, impersonal “desert landscape. Beliefs are neither rational nor irrational. They just are."
 This book was a delight to read and an honor to recommend.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Apologists, philosophers, anyone challenged or threatened by the ideas of the New Atheists

This book was a free review copy provided by Thomas Nelson. 

1 comment:

debbie wilson said...

ok...I WILL read this now, along with his others I've been eying. Thanks for the review.