John Blanchard has written a largish book, the size of which, by his own admission, surprised him. And yet, there is very little dead weight here. Blanchard’s purpose is to interact with the claims of atheism. He frames this around the question, Does God Believe in Atheists? In the end, after all the disclaimers, he clearly answers, “No.”
The scope of the book is broad, sweeping the reader from ancient Greek philosophy to our present day. In the first chapter, he deals with monism (Thales et al), the big three (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), the Atomists (Democritus and Epicurus), the skeptics (Pyrrho), and Neo-Platonism (Plotinus). The reader is struck by the truth of Solomon—there is nothing new under the sun. These philosophies are the grounds of the New Age Movement (monism), naturalism (Atomism), postmodernism (skepticism), and pantheism (Neo-platonism). That was as tersely as I could summarize this chapter, and the book offers twenty-three others equally full of helpful and relevant information.
Accordingly, highlights, rather than a blow-by-blow summary seem to be in order. One highlight was the historical section, which traced the flow of ideas over the last twenty centuries. This clarified for me the question of why our culture thinks the way it does nowadays. His treatment of intelligent design (the modern teleological argument), and his interaction with modern atheists was gripping. It had the further benefit of confirming, of making very real to me something I thought I already knew--the reality that the God of Scripture really lives.
Blanchard ends on familiar territory for Christians. He argues that the Triune God of the Bible is the only God that can and does exist. While still good and informative, much of this constitutes a review for the Christian. But since his audience is much broader than Christians, it is important that his sections on the perfections of God and uniqueness of Christ are included.
Reading time is always limited, and must be doled out scroogishly. Readers won’t regret investing their minutes here. Blanchard writes with vigor and much clarity of thought. The book is well-researched (one wonders how he gets to the time)—a fact displayed by the extensive footnotes. My copy is bristling with self-stick markers.
Also gratifying was the fact that the author doesn’t shrink from the problem of evil, and that ultimately he answers it in the only way that is coherent: there is no problem of evil for naturalists, because they have no basis to call anything good or evil. This seems to be alluding back to the transcendental argument for the existence of God: God must exist because of the impossibility of the contrary.
In the end, one isn’t sure whether the book will be used to convert entrenched, hard-core atheists. Their problem is moral, and they are practicing culpable dullness (see Rom. 1). They have a vested interest in suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, so no matter how compelling the case may be, they have their fingers in their ears and are singing their national anthem with full throats. One also wonders if the unbeliever would have the patience to read nearly 600 pages from a Christian apologist. However, the book is a withering attack on unbelief, full of resources to equip the Christian apologist in the defense of truth. – Joost Nixon, Christian Book Previews.com
· Traces the development of atheistic and agnostic thinking from the ‘Golden Age’ of Greek philosophy to the present day.
· Pinpoints the influence of thinkers such as Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Neitzsche, Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell, and shows how their teaching has helped to shape modern atheistic and agnostic ideas.
· Traces the rise of Darwinian evolutionism and uncovers the weaknesses in claims made by its contemporary exponents such as Richard Dawkins and Peter Atkins.
· Exposes the fallacies of determinism, existentialism and secular humanism.
· Highlights the fundamental flaws in nine world religions and fourteen major cults.
· Shows why true science and true religion are not enemies, but friends.
· Examines the critical issue of how a God of love can allow suffering and evil.