Wednesday, August 22

Faith to be an Atheist

Each year, as I plan out our school schedules, I include a class we call Religious Studies. I'm not sure this is an accurate class title. While we do study other religions within our history studies, this class is solely about Christianity and growth in the Christian Life. I suppose a Worldview class would be a more appropriate title.

Getting ready for our next class, I've had the opportunity to review the book and curriculum companion entitled I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. It would have been irresponsible of me to give my boys a book about our faith without previewing it first. I enjoyed it very much and I now plan to go through it again with them instead of assigning it separately. Part of this it is that I loved the book and want to read it again, but most of it is that I don't want to miss out on the amazing discussions that I'm sure will come up because of it.

The purpose of the book is to give Christians the tools needed to logically meet questions, to effectively communicate the gospel, and to bolster their own faith.The Bible calls us to be ready with answers for those who question our faith.
1 Peter 3:15
Always be prepared to give an answer 
to everyone who asks you to give the reason
 for the hope that is in you. 

Faith to be an Atheist gives that preparation. The introduction begins by giving an explanation of the basic religious beliefs that exist:
It goes on to give a brief logic lesson. For instance, "Christians claim that Jesus rose from the dead, while Muslims say that Jesus never even died. Again, one of these views is right and the other wrong. How can we know which one is right?" The book evaluates various conflicting truth claims against the evidence (and there IS evidence). Long before the end of the book, you'll agree that it truly would take more faith to be an atheist than it would take to believe the Bible. 

The entire book was a logic lesson. It is enlightening and entertaining. While it was an engaging read, it is also challenging, inviting readers to think, and to think logically. The first chapter defines the concept of truth. That there is such a thing as truth. It seems ridiculous that such a thing would need explained, but it is a fact that there is a huge push right now to discredit the existence of truth. It seems to be a "new" tactic that pops up every ten years. There is an idea that what is true for you might not be true for me and it would be very small-minded of you to try to push your truth on me. How can something be TRUTH and not be truth, depending on the person believing it?

Why does this matter"? Until someone believes the fact that there is such a thing as truth, there is little chance they'll believe your particular "truth" could be true for them. It matters very much.

The companion workbook (which is HUGE) is an incredible resource for an apologetics class. The book alone is wonderful, but the workbook reinforces what they've read and helps students to fully grasp the material rather than forgetting as they move on to the next chapter. The workbook is meaty and helps them really take the material to heart. Each chapter of the book is represented in the workbook and studied in four sections:

  • Hook - Reminding students what they read and warming them up  with a few questions.
  • Book - Takes them deeper into specific issues, tests their knowledge and comprehension.
  • Look - Research assignments and other activities that encourage students to find out the truth for themselves rather than take the author's word for granted.
  • Took - Summarizes the material and helps students apply the concepts studied to their own lives.

The workbook recommends students take 2-3 weeks to read each chapter and complete the study questions and assignments. There are 15 chapters in the book, some being easier to complete within 2 weeks than others. This equates to a full school year's studies in apologetics, and one high school credit. I don't know that I would recommend it for younger than high school. 

As you can see by the book's Table of Contents, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist covers the basics of apologetics very well. It defends creation and origin of life, moral law, the miraculous, historical evidence, prophecies fulfilled, the logical argument of Jesus own claims, and arguments that the bible is the Word of God. All of this is done, not through emotional appeal, but through logical argument, with evidence of science, history, and rational thought. It's fascinating and hard to put down. It is another quality work from Apologia, a company I've trusted for many years.

There are so many people I wish I could force to read this book, friends that don't know what they believe. Friends who are religious, who see elements of truth in many religions and assume all must be right in some ways. I would love to sit them down and make them see that different relgions make mutually exclusive claims. They can't both be right! But David Limbaugh said it best in his Foreward of this book: it's the best book he's seen "to prepare believers to give the reasons for their faith, and for skeptics who are open to the truth." If they aren't open to the truth, there is no amount of reading, convincing, or arguing that could be done to make them see truth.

In case you were concerned, the book is not an insult to the concept of faith. It clearly teaches that there are many things that need to be accepted by faith. There are also many things that are backed up with evidence. This book provides tools to defend faith while pointing out to skeptics that whether they realize it or not, they are using quite a bit of blind faith of their own.

You can order the book through Apologia. Currently, they have sold out, but they have ordered more and it will be in stock soon. If you are unsure, try the free sample chapter. I'm sure you'll agree it is an excellent book for everyone to read. The companion workbook is an excellent resource and necessary if you plan to use the book as a full credit course. There is no Teacher's Guide necessary; answers to the workbook are free online, as are chapter tests if desired.
Disclaimer: I received this material in exchange for my honest opinion as a member of the TOS Crew, and received no other form of compensation. For whatever they're worth, the opinions are mine and mine alone, as stated in my disclosure policy.


1 comment:

Jesse Lovelady said...

Excellent review, mama. This one was tough for me as it has given me a lot to think about..and a lot to ponder as an adult. It is hard to articulate that with strangers! Ha!

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