Book Reviews,  Doug Wilson,  Ian Markham,  Mitch Stokes

A Positive Note

I realize that much of my time on my blog is spent refuting something or other. So, for a change, I thought I would write something more positive. And for this blogger, a positive blog comes in the form of positively  reviewing three books by authors who are refuting something or other.

The first is a short, funny narrative of Evangelist, the character of the narrator’s dream, who encounters people heading in the wrong direction. Doug Wilson constructs imaginary conversations between the Christian protagonist and several instantiated worldviews. At only 95 pages, Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief is simultaneously light hearted and deadly serious. Wilson attempts to show that even unbelief must presuppose God’s existence in order to hold to unbelief. Every encounter leaves Evangelist’s interlocutor more self-conscious about his or her basic assumptions and with the impression that they are not as firm as he or she once thought they were.

The second book, A Shot of Faith to the Head by Mitch Stokes, is aimed at Christians and is written so that they may realize just how reasonable their faith is. Atheism, on the other hand, has less to say for itself. Turning the tables on “cranky atheists,” Stokes garners the arguments of philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, in defense of Christian theism – it is Plantinga lite and with bite. Stokes, following Plantinga, shows how the challenge of irrationality, made to Christian theism, assumes an indefensible starting point – the quest for some kind of evidence.

Finally, for those of a more academic bent, may I recommend Truth and the Reality of God: An Essay in Natural Theology by Ian Markham. How do we explain, given anything but Theism, the coherence of human communities and their ability to communicate with each other and speak about the world they find themselves in? You can’t, according to Markham. If there is such truth–even only the possibility of it–then God must exist. Markham’s use of MacIntyre and interaction with the “radical orthodoxy” of John Milbank serve well in the argument and his interpretation of Nietzsche is, in my mind, brilliant and well worth the price of the book (much cheaper used).

So there you have it, some positive reviews – three excellent books.

Refutation will return later this week. 

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.