I certainly didn’t know what I was getting into when I signed up for this one! From the title and description, I assumed that I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist would be just another apologetics book. Most of the non-Christian people I know or have met fall into one of three categories — 1)people who believe they are saved because of their good works; 2)people of other religions; and 3)agnostics. I don’t know that I have ever had a conversation with a true atheist. However, I was hopeful that I would strengthen my ability to contend for the faith.
I should add here that I think the title of the book is a bit limiting. This book doesn’t just confront the faith that atheist must have for their beliefs, it is a storehouse of defense against any beliefs contrary to true Christian theology. And although I believe the authors to be Arminian, the information is not specific to one Christian doctrine.
In the book, authors Norman Geisler and Frank Turek walk the reader through “The Twelve Points that Show Christianity is True”. They use reason (logical deductions) and science to carefully prove each of these points. This was so encouraging because so many times as Christians we are told that we believe because of our faith, but the science proves differently. This is just not true. It takes faith to believe in the One true God, but it also takes faith to believe He doesn’t exist. It really is just a matter of where you place your faith. And if used correctly, science points to the wonders of God’s creation.
I absolutely loved one of the quotes used in the book to demonstrate this point. Robert Jastrow, who is an agnostic scientist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, ended his book God and the Astronomers with this:
For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
Sadly, it will end like a bad dream for too many people.
One of the things I was thankful for while reading this book is that it shows that you don’t have to choose one over the other–being a scientist or being a theologian. The two complement each other. Geisler and Turek show over and over again how the two go hand-in-hand. And the authors do an excellent job at illustrating their explanations in ways that even I could understand.
For example, when explaining the Anthropic Principle (highly precise and interdependent environmental conditions), they interweave the failed space mission of Apollo 13 and how anthropic constants allowed the astronauts to make it home. This helped me tangibly see that the precise levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere couldn’t be there by chance. The gravitational interaction of the moon and the earth effects so many aspects of our lives and must be perfectly balanced. It reminds me of a song by Nicole Mullens which says,
Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?
Along with the book, Apologia has developed a curriculum to help students retain the knowledge learned through studying the book. The book is a hefty 400 pages, but using the curriculum you slowly work your way through them both over the course of 9 months. This may seem like a long time, but I have discovered that there is so much information packed into the book that it really takes to time to let it sink in.
The curriculum is a worldview course that walks you through each chapter of the book and offers additional help with the material. Personally, I really appreciated the workbook because some of the material presented in the book is very deep and requires a great amount of thought to grasp. The workbook breaks down some of the more complex thoughts and offers additional explanations.
I also appreciated the mini historical biographies scattered throughout the workbook. They offer a glimpse into the lives of historical figures and some of their personal beliefs. I think sometimes we learn about people in history, but don’t really relate those people to the time in which they lived. I was reading about Albert Einstein and was surprised to find that he died the year before my mother was born. His General Relativity theory shows that time and matter came into existence at the same time, which we know as creation.
The curriculum also teaches students to look up the material presented and research it for themselves. So many times we are presented with “facts”, but the Bible tells us to be “wise as serpents”. We need to check things out for ourselves and not depend on others to feed us what they feel is important. I felt like the curriculum helped me understand the basics enough that I can then go and weed through other information without feeling like I haven’t a clue as to what they are talking about.
Last, I felt like the curriculum (and the book) showed me many of the arguments that are presented against creationism. Like I said before, I haven’t had conversations with atheist, or many agnostics for that matter, and sometimes I just don’t understand their beliefs. When you don’t know where they are coming from, it makes it difficult to present information that can dispel their beliefs.
While I thoroughly enjoyed most of the information presented in both the book and workbook, I was concerned with the authors beliefs concerning the Big Bang theory and the age of the earth. The authors have taken a middle ground approach, not endorsing either a specific belief but showing how several theories could prove true.
I am somewhat dogmatic when it comes to the age of the earth how it was created. I believe God’s word and I don’t think, as the workbook states, that sticking to our dogmatic beliefs will limit God’s ability to save the lost. I also don’t think it does justice to God’s work in creating the universe, to call it by the name “Big Bang”. This is a term coined by men who scoff at the work of the Lord. To me, using their terms will only confuse believers, giving Satan a foothold in this area.
What Ages Should Use the Curriculum
The book and accompanying curriculum is geared toward high school and older, but depending on your student you could possibly use it with junior high students. If possible, I would recommend going through the material with your student and discussing the information. This is the time our kiddos are learning to contend for the faith themselves and we should really be a part of arming them for the battle. It also helps to discuss the areas that we disagree with, so that our they understand why we disagree and what we believe about the issue.
The cost of the book is $16.00 and the cost of the workbook is $33.00.