Two More Humiliating Reviews of the Book "God or Godless"

The book "God or Godless" isn't doing too well right now, even after the free promotion on July 1st and subsequent reduction of price through the month of July. The paperback on Amazon is ranked almost 600,00th, whereas the Kindle version is ranked 150,000th. In Canada it's doing better but not that well. I think it's because of the reviews. For the life of me I cannot understand why potential buyers place more weight on reviews by no-names over the blurbs written by credentialed scholars, but they do. Here are two humiliating reviews of the book on Amazon:

This one is by a young kid on Canada's Amazon named Steven Martins (just look at his picture):
Having one Atheistic Ex-Christian John W. Loftus debate with Randal Rauser in God or Godless was a pleasure to read, but it was also a horrifying experience. The concept was a great idea, the questions were truthfully controversial and intriguing, but its results were terrible.

They did a great job in nominating John W. Loftus for the atheist side of things, he exhibited great class and professionalism. Randal, however, was quite the opposite. His inability to answer hard and deep questions was embarrasing, considering I knew the answers to the questions being asked. He would revert to mud-slinging which ultimately robbed him of all class and respectability. Whoever nominated him for this book was purposely seeking to humiliate him. Nonetheless, a good read, and food for thought for my fellow apologists.

This one is on Amazon US by a Christian, CMM:
First I have to say that I very much appreciated the format of the book. As the authors suggested in the introduction, it was a lot more satisfying (and fun) than listening to a two-hour debate. Additionally, the twenty questions addressed in the book were mostly unique and interesting, and the strict format required that they stay on topic, leaving little room for rabbit trails or repetition.

For me, it's usually hard to name a winner in a formal oral debate, but much easier to say who wins when the arguments are on paper. I have to admit, even as a believer, that Loftus out-argued Rauser in at least 18 out of 20 topics (#15 on objective beauty, and #17 on miracles, were each pretty much a wash). I felt that each debater posed a couple of topics that were near irrelevant (e.g., Rauser's #15 on objective beauty, Loftus's #12 on the Bible's treatment of animals) because no matter the winner, the outcome had little impact on the overall debate.

Ultimately, Rauser's arguments failed because he refused to engage the biblical text in the same way Loftus did. At certain points (#s 4 and 6) Rauser punted, acknowledging Loftus's scriptural observations and responding with a half-baked claim that our best option for dealing with these troubling passages is to simply believe that they can't be understood the way they're written. I'm no philosopher, but I believe it's hugely problematic to argue the existence of God purely from philosophy when the entire Judeo-Christian belief system is derived from scripture. Rauser's willingness to cherry-pick biblical texts did him serious damage in these debates. Additionally, his tendency to overuse analogy, metaphor, and illustration began to seem like a silly way of avoiding the topics presented.

So why would I, a Christian, post a review claiming that the Christian debater lost? Because I think it's time that Christians who engage in such debates get their proverbial crap together and (1) stop relying on the same old tired arguments (that ultimate meaning requires belief in God, for example), and (2) figure out a convincing way to argue for the existence of God from history, scripture, and scripture's origins.

Overall, this was an interesting and worthwhile read.

Did I say these reviews were humiliating? ;-)

The thing is that Christians are more likely to buy this book than atheists. So when they read reviews like these they are less likely to do so. Rauser may have lost, depending on your theology, but he doesn't deserve these kind of reviews (nor do I coming from some other reviewers). I'm sure Randal could take these two reviewers to task quite easily if they sat down to discuss the book. These two reviewers probably couldn't answer his questions too well at all.

Here's the thing. Get the book. It may infuriate you depending on your views. But it will educate you depending on your level of understanding. Rauser, as I have said before, is one of the best apologists out there, and I mean it. I'm not just using rhetoric. He willingly engages the opposition. He accepts a few things that make him a much more reasonable apologist than others. But he's better than what these two reviewers say of his performance. As far as I can tell, his theology will be the theology of the future. If you want to know what that is then get the book. He provides a bibliography of books for further reading too. If you are a Christian and are unpersuaded of his theology in "God or Godless," then it behooves you to read a few of the books he lists at the end of it.

Get it!