What's So Great About Christianity [NOOK Book]


In a world of facts and figures, can an intellectual have faith? Is it possible to believe anything the Bible says? Yes, and one man will show you how.

Amidst scientists’ attempts to debunk Christianity’s truths and atheists’ assuming the Bible is a how-to-be-virtuous self-help book, bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza resolves to both answer the tough questions and challenge believers as well as doubters to search for the ultimate truths about ...
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What's So Great About Christianity

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In a world of facts and figures, can an intellectual have faith? Is it possible to believe anything the Bible says? Yes, and one man will show you how.

Amidst scientists’ attempts to debunk Christianity’s truths and atheists’ assuming the Bible is a how-to-be-virtuous self-help book, bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza resolves to both answer the tough questions and challenge believers as well as doubters to search for the ultimate truths about theories of origin. D’Souza tackles subjects and events such as the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, the Big Bang theory and Darwinism—everything you always pondered but never scrutinized, now placed under the proverbial microscope and studied thoroughly.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596985414
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/4/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 348
  • Sales rank: 187,194
  • File size: 549 KB

Meet the Author

Dinesh D'Souza
Dinesh D'Souza, a former White House domestic policy analyst, is currently the Rishwain Research Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the bestselling author of What's So Great About America, Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader, and many other books.
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What's So Great About Christianity

By Dinesh D'Souza
Regnery Publishing
Copyright © 2007 Dinesh D'Souza
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59698-517-9

Chapter One

"The era of Western Christianity has passed within our lifetimes, and the day of Southern Christianity is dawning." -Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom

God has come back to life. The world is witnessing a huge explosion of religious conversion and growth, and Christianity is growing faster than any other religion. Nietzsche's proclamation "God is dead" is now proven false. Nietzsche is dead. The ranks of the unbelievers are shrinking as a proportion of the world's population. Secularism has lost its identification with progress and modernity, and consequently it has lost the main source of its appeal. God is very much alive, and His future prospects look to be excellent. This is the biggest comeback story of the twenty-first century.

If God is back, why don't we see it? The reason is that many of us live in the wrong neighborhood. "Visit a church at random next Sunday," Brent Staples writes in the New York Times, "and you will probably encounter a few dozen people sprinkled thinly over a sanctuary that was built to accommodate hundreds or even thousands." Yes, I've seen the "empty pews and white-haired congregants" that Staples describes. But then, Staples lives in New York and I live in California. We live among people who are practically atheist.

Of course my neighbors do not think of themselves as atheist. Very few of them belong to atheist organizations or subscribe to atheist literature. Some of them who are highly educated like to think of themselves as agnostic: they haven't made up their minds because the evidence simply isn't in yet. Others even consider themselves Christian, either because they were born that way or because they attend church occasionally. The distinguishing characteristic of these people is that they live as if God did not exist. God makes no difference in their lives. This is "practical atheism." We all know people like this. Some of us hardly know anyone not like this. And sometimes we live this way ourselves.

If we live in the wrong neighborhood, we risk missing the most important development of our time: the global revival of religion. It's happening on every continent. In my native country of India, Hinduism is undergoing a resurgence. So is Islam. As I have written about Islamic radicalism and terrorism I am often asked, "When will the Muslims understand the importance of secularism? When will we see an Islamic Reformation?" My answer is that Muslims will never understand the importance of secularism. Nor do they need to, because as we shall see, secularism is increasingly unimportant as a global phenomenon. Moreover, Islam is in the middle of a reformation. We see a resurgence of Muslim piety not just in the Middle East but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Turkey, and East Africa. At one time Turkey provided a model of Islamic secularism, but not any longer. No Muslim country is going the way of Turkey, and in recent years even Turkey has stopped going the way of Turkey.

Some Western analysts describe the religious revivals around the world in terms of the growth of "fundamentalism." This is the fallacy of ethnocentrism, of seeing the world through the lens of our own homegrown prejudices. Remember that fundamentalism is a term drawn from Protestant Christianity. It is an American coinage that refers to a group of early twentieth-century Protestant activists who organized against Darwinian evolution and who championed the literal reading of the Bible. Fundamentalism is a meaningless term outside this context.

There are, of course, Hindu militants and Islamic radicals of the bin Laden stripe, and they are indeed a menace to the world. But the growth of religious militancy and the growth of religion are very different. One may seek to benefit from the other, but the two should not be confused. The resurgence I am talking about is the global revitalization of traditional religion. This means traditional Hinduism, traditional Islam, and traditional Christianity. By "traditional" I mean religion as it has been understood and practiced over the centuries. This is the type of religion that is booming.

Traditional religion is the mainstream, but it is not the only form in which religion appears today. There is also liberal religion. One can hardly speak of liberal Islam, as liberalism is essentially a nonexistent force in the Muslim world. But there are liberal Jews, whose Jewishness seems largely a matter of historical memory and cultural habits. Here in the West, there are lots of liberal Christians. Some of them have assumed a kind of reverse mission: instead of being the church's missionaries to the world, they have become the world's missionaries to the church. They devote their moral energies to trying to make the church more democratic, to assure equal rights for women, to legitimize homosexual marriage, and so on. A small but influential segment of liberal Christianity rejects all the central doctrines of Christianity. H. Richard Niebuhr famously summed up their credo: "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."

I have met liberal Christians who are good and sincere people. But their version of Christianity is retreating, in two senses. Liberal Christians are distinguished by how much intellectual and moral ground they concede to the adversaries of Christianity. "Granted, no rational person today can believe in miracles, but...." "True, the Old Testament God seems a mighty vengeful fellow, but...." "Admittedly religion is responsible for most of the conflict and oppression in history, but...."

This yes-but Christianity in full intellectual withdrawal, and it is also becoming less relevant. The liberal churches are losing members in droves. Once these churches welcomed one in six Americans; now they see one in thirty. In 1960 the Presbyterian church had 4.2 million members; now it has 2.4 million. The Episcopal church had 3.4 million; now it has 2.3 million. The United Church of Christ had 2.2 million; now it has 1.3 million. Traditional Christians who remain within liberal churches become increasingly alienated. Some have become so disgusted that they have put themselves under the authority of more traditional clerics based in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.

Unfortunately the central themes of some of the liberal churches have become indistinguishable from those of the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, and the homosexual rights movement. Why listen to Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong drone on when you can get the same message and much more interesting visuals at San Francisco's gay pride parade? The traditional churches, not the liberal churches, are growing in America. In 1960, for example, the churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention had 8.7 million members. Now they have 16.4 million.

The growth of traditional religion and the decline of liberal religion pose a serious problem for a conventional way of understanding religious trends. This is the way of secularization: the idea that as an inevitable result of science, reason, progress, and modernization, the West will continue to grow more secular, followed by the rest of the world. The more confident exponents of secularization believe, as Peter Berger puts it, that "eventually Iranian mullahs, Pentecostal preachers, and Tibetan lamas will all think and act like professors of literature at American universities."

For a good part of the last century, this secularization narrative seemed plausible. Secular people believed it and reveled in it, while religious people believed it and bemoaned it. But now we see a problem with the thesis. If secularization were proceeding inexorably, then religious people should be getting less religious, and so conservative churches should be shrinking and liberal churches growing. In fact, the opposite is the case.

Some scholars put this down to "backlash" against secularization, but this only begs the question: what is causing this backlash? The secularization thesis was based on the presumption that science and modernity would satisfy the impulses and needs once met by religion. But a rebellion against secularization suggests that perhaps important needs are still unmet, and so people are seeking a revival of religion-perhaps in a new form-to address their specific concerns within a secular society.

Of course the secularization thesis is not entirely invalid. In Europe, Australia, and Canada, religion has been expunged from the cultural mainstream. It has been largely relegated to a tourist phenomenon; when you go to Chartres and Canterbury, the guides tell you about architecture and art history and little about what the people who created those masterpieces actually believed. According to the European Values Survey, regular churchgoers number, depending on the country, between 10 and 25 percent of the population. Only one in five Europeans says that religion is important in life. Czech president Vaclav Havel has rightly described Europe as "the first atheistic civilization in the history of mankind."

The religious picture in Europe is not unremittingly bleak. Ninety percent of Greeks acknowledge the existence of God, and only 5 percent of Greeks are atheists. Ireland still has church attendance figures of around 45 percent, twice as high as the Continent as a whole, although Irish Catholicism has also weakened in recent decades. Along with Ireland, Poland and Slovakia are two of the most religious countries in Europe. And some commentators have noted that even Europeans who are not religious continue to describe themselves as "spiritual." These analysts argue that Europe has not abandoned religion in general but only "organized" religion.

But if Europe generally supports the secularization thesis, the United States presents a much more problematic case. America has not gone the way of Europe. True, church attendance in the United States has declined in the past three decades. Still, some 40 percent of Americans say they attend church on Sundays. More than 90 percent of Americans believe in God, and 60 percent say their faith is important to them. Surveying the data on religion, Paul Bloom writes in the Atlantic Monthly that "well over half of Americans believe in miracles, the devil, and angels. Most Americans believe that after death they will actually reunite with relatives and get to meet God." All of this is a serious difficulty for the secularization thesis, because America is at the forefront of modernity. The thesis would predict that America would be the most secular society in the world. In fact, America is the most religious country in the Western world.

Perhaps the greatest problem for the secularization theory is that in an era of increasing globalization and modernization, the world as a whole is becoming more religious, not less. In a recent survey, Pippa Norris and Ron Inglehart sum up the evidence. Despite the advance of secularization in the West, they write, "The world as a whole now has more people with traditional religious views than ever before, and they constitute a growing proportion of the world's population." Consequently, the West is more secular but "the world as a whole is becoming more religious."

Even more remarkable is that the religious revival is occurring in places that are rapidly modernizing. China and India today have the fastest growth rates in the world, and religion is thriving in both places. Turkey is the one of the most modern of the Muslim countries, and Islam has steadily gained strength there. In Central and South America, the upwardly mobile classes are embracing Pentecostal Christianity.

The global spread of American culture, with the secular values it carries, seems not to have arrested or even slowed the religious upsurge. The reason is that many non-Western cultures are actively resisting secularism. A common slogan in Asia today is "modernization without Westernization." Many people want American prosperity and American technology, but they want to use these to preserve and strengthen their traditional way of life. They want to live in a world of multiple modernities.

We often read that Islam is the fastest-growing religion. Not true. Christianity is the fastest-growing religion in the world today. Islam is second. While Islam grows mainly through reproduction-which is to say by Muslims having large families-Christianity spreads through rapid conversion as well as natural increase. Islam has become the fastest-growing religion in Europe, which for more than a thousand years has been the home of Christianity. Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc wrote in 1920 that "the faith is Europe and Europe is the faith." Belloc was convinced that the future of Christianity lay in Europe.

Ironically, while Europe has moved away from Christianity, the Christian religion has been expanding its influence in Central and South America, in Africa, and in Asia. For the first time in history, Christianity has become a universal religion. It is in fact the only religion with a global reach. Buddhism and Islam, like Christianity, are religions with global aspirations, but these aspirations have not been realized. Buddhism never established itself even in the land of its founding, India, although it found adherents in the cultures of Southern and Eastern Asia. Even though it has a few followers in the West, Buddhism remains a religion with, at best, a regional impact. Islam is vastly stronger, but even Islam is regional, with little or no sway in the United States, Canada, Central and South America, or Australia. By contrast, Christianity is a force on every continent and in every major region of the world, with the sole exception of the heartland of Islam, the Middle East.

The new face of Christianity is no longer white and blond but yellow, black, and brown. "If we want to visualize a typical contemporary Christian," Philip Jenkins writes in The Next Christendom, "we should think of a woman living in a village in Nigeria or in a Brazilian favela." The vital centers of Christianity today are no longer Geneva, Rome, Paris, or London. They are Buenos Aires, Manila, Kinshasa, and Addis Ababa. "The era of Western Christianity has passed within our lifetimes," Jenkins observes, "and the day of Southern Christianity is dawning."

In 1900, more than 80 percent of Christians lived in Europe and America. Today 60 percent live in the developing world. More than two out of three evangelical Christians now live in Asia, Africa, and South America. Here are some numbers Jenkins provides: Europe today has 560 million Christians and America has 260 million, yet many of these are Christian in name only. In comparison, there are 480 million Christians in South America, 313 million in Asia, and 360 million in Africa. The vast majority of these are practicing Christians. There are more churchgoing Presbyterians in Ghana than in Scotland.

Oddly enough, this Christian growth occurred after the period of European conquest and colonialism ended. The old boys in pith helmets are long gone, but the faith that first came with them has endured and now thrives without them. It's just like the early times of Christianity. After Constantine converted and Theodosius proclaimed Christianity the state religion toward the end of the fourth century, Christianity was carried by the Roman empire. Yet the faith spread fastest after the collapse of that empire, and soon all of Europe was Christian. We're witnessing a comparable pace of growth for Christianity in the rest of the world.

A century ago, less than 10 percent of Africa was Christian. Today it's nearly 50 percent. That's an increase from 10 million people in 1900 to more than 350 million today. Uganda alone has nearly 20 million Christians and is projected to have 50 million by the middle of the century. 12 Some African congregations have grown so big that their churches are running out of space. While Western preachers routinely implore people to come every Sunday to fill the pews, some African preachers ask their members to limit their attendance to every second or third Sunday to give others a chance to hear the message.


Excerpted from What's So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza Copyright © 2007 by Dinesh D'Souza. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

A Note on the Interpretation of Scripture     xi
Preface: A Challenge to Believers-and Unbelievers     xiii
The Future of Christianity
The Twilight of Atheism: The Global Triumph of Christianity     1
Survival of the Sacred: Why Religion Is Winning     13
God Is Not Great: The Atheist Assault on Religion     21
Miseducating the Young: Saving Children from Their Parents     31
Christianity and the West
Render unto Caesar: The Spiritual Basis of Limited Government     41
The Evil That I Would Not: Christianity and Human Fallibility     55
Created Equal: The Origin of Human Dignity     67
Christianity and Science
Christianity and Reason: The Theological Roots of Science     83
From Logos to Cosmos: Christianity and the Invention of Invention     91
An Atheist Fable: Reopening the Galileo Case     101
The Argument from Design
A Universe with a Beginning: God and the Astronomers     115
A Designer Planet: Man's Special Place in Creation     127
Paley Was Right: Evolution and the Argument from Design     139
The Genesis Problem: The Methodological Atheism of Science     155
Christianity and Philosophy
The World Beyond Our Senses: Kant and the Limits of Reason     167
In the Belly of the Whale: Why Miracles ArePossible     179
A Skeptic's Wager: Pascal and the Reasonableness of Faith     191
Christianity and Suffering
Rethinking the Inquisition: The Exaggerated Crimes of Religion     203
A License to Kill: Atheism and the Mass Murders of History     213
Christianity and Morality
Natural Law and Divine Law: The Objective Foundations of Morality     225
The Ghost in the Machine: Why Man Is More Than Matter     239
The Imperial "I": When the Self Becomes the Arbiter of Morality     251
Opiate of the Morally Corrupt: Why Unbelief Is So Appealing     261
The Problem of Evil: Where Is Atheism When Bad Things Happen?     273
Christianity and You
Jesus among Other Gods: The Uniqueness of Christianity     283
A Foretaste of Eternity: How Christianity Can Change Your Life     293
Acknowledgments     305
Notes     307
Index     335
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Customer Reviews

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( 42 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 25, 2010

    Incredible Read !

    The author uses logic , science , philosophy , and wit to lay out an iron clad case in favor of faith.
    Atheists who are intellectualy honest would have a rough time mounting a defense.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    D'Souza Builds a Mighty Fortress of Inteligence

    Dinesh D'Souza musters the great intellect, education, and formidable persuasion he used for his political volumes and marches them out to promote the Christian Faith. In fact he has become one of the a predominate debater of the major atheism advocates.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2007

    A reviewer

    Whether to believe or not to believe, Dinesh explores the facts with a fair and objective balance that makes this book an enjoyable one. I challenge you to read it for yourself and make a decision based on the facts within the book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2008

    An articulate exposition but . . . .

    Mr. D'Souza's description of the impact of Christianity in the history of the world is persuasive. He tends to gloss over the failings of the church where its warts are all too apparent, however, in order to minimize claims that organized religion in general and Christianity in particularly are the cause of much suffering in the world. As only one example, D'Souza acknowledges the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition but attempts to downplays its impact, claiming that the Church did not target Jews but only those who had claimed to convert to Christianity but in fact still practiced their original faith. He totally ignores why so many Jews and Muslims converted or claimed to convert to Christianity in the first place - after the Spanish/Christian conquest of Granada from the Moors, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella dispossessed all Jews and Muslims from their property and drove tens of thousands from their homes and out of Spain altogether. Thus, to say that the madness of the Inquisition was limited to lapsed Christians is blatantly misleading and only adds fuel to the fire that rages between the fundamentalist Christians/Muslims/Jews on the one hand and the fundamentalist atheists on the other. This discussion is best served by a more balanced presentation of the facts.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2008

    defending truth

    the arthur dinesh dsouza has writtion a very indepth and most hard to put down best seller that gives exellent research to show that christianity has alot of truth and this page turner give it a great defence and what I found fasinating from this best seller was the arthur showed some intresting documentation that athiest goverments are the ones that through out history have committed the most mass murders the writer brings to mind the goverments of communist china, nazi germany,commuinst russia and commusist north vietnam. I find athiest groups dont want to menchion this fact . great book for a Bible study or perhaps a gift for someone special.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2009

    Very poor

    I have read the "What So Great About Christianity" and it is lacking in all areas to give well reasoned and sound proofs for why christianity is great. He asks us to have an open mind as we read through his book, but he writes from a closed-minded approach with his opinions being correct and those who oppose him as wrong. He sets up straw-men then proceeds to knock them down without giving tangible proof that supports his claims. He succeeds to confirm for me why christianity IS NOT GREAT! It stands with all other faiths to hold people in slavery. Christianity along with their holy book are great myths.

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    The author spoke at our school today and he has very intelligent and educated answeres as to why he believes what he believes and it's really something to hear him speak. It's a great book and I really reccommend it for anyone who is lost or for someone who just wants to strenghten their faith!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    You need to read this book!!!

    To be honest I am not much of a reader. But this book really cought my eye. Once I started reading it I had trouble putting it down. This book is great for helping you defend your faith. If you are a believer or non believer this book is for you. D'Souza talks a big game and backs it up! Great book!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    A Refreshing Breeze

    The reason we teach of course is so we can reach. The insight that reverberated in my mind as I read this book was this: Is what I'm living for worth dying for? Before I forget, I am certainly hopeful that what is offered in this book can facilitate more dialogue between Atheists and Christians. I had the opportunity to observe some of the recent debate between this author and Christopher Hitchens. It felt conclusive to me. Use your free will and examine your conscience in this exemplary and timely dissertation concerning reality and the signs of the times. I must say that I found zero dichotomies in this most gracious book. One can clearly see that man is fallible, but Christianity offers hope. Conversely, it seems to me that Atheism offers only missing-link Darwinism. Dear reader, I'm quite sure that your intellect will rise a few notches by reading this bestseller. This read is quite a companion in dealing with adversity, and maybe even to understand a little bit about these times of uncertainty. I doubt you will find anything abstruse as you immerse yourself in this informative and verdure filled journey of these modern times. Find out where morality begins, because it doesn't end. I have walked away from the last page with this thought: 'Hope deferred makes the heart sick.' From this book I ask myself: At my death which is inevitable, what is next?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    Great Debate Book

    This book will you load you up for any debate you may have with an unbeliever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009


    I was very disapointed in this book. It comes off, in my view, as simple pandering to Christians. Frankly, as a Christian I resent it. I have read some of the books cited in this book and I do not believe the author has read those books. I also found the reasoning to be a little thin. If however you want a book that will make you feel good about Christianity this is it.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009


    I was very disappointed in this book. It comes off, in my view, as simple pandering to Christians. Frankly, as a Christian I resent it. I have read some of the books cited in this book and I do not believe the author actually read those books. I also found the reasoning contained in it to be a little thin. If however you want a book that will make you feel good about Christianity this is it.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    Idiotic book

    This book is a bunch of illogical smarmy drivel. The great sin here is that an idiot like Dsouza manages to make a living peddling his stupidity and bigotry to the ignorant masses.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2012

    Read this excellent book!

    This is a brilliant, illuminating, fascinating book that reveals the historic facts about a faith that has changed the world for GOOD. I learned so much by reading this book! History gets rewritten so often in our fake politically correct world but D'Souza can be counted on to give us an education in the facts and an enjoyable read at the same time. I have reread this book several times now and plan to give this book for Christmas gifts next year.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This book may not convince many atheists, but it's good nevertheless.

    In this book, the author tries to prove that Christianity is the world's one best religion. Unfortunately, when he uses philosophical arguments to try to prove that Christianity is without a doubt true, he falls flat; his line of reasoning is difficult or impossible to follow and doesn't always make sense. I also didn't think that some of his comparisons of Christianity with Islam are accurate or fair. He falls into the trap of comparing Christian ideals with Islamic reality. This is not fair, as one needs to set one group of ideals against another group of ideals or one world's reality against that of another world. One also needs to make sure that one is comparing ideals or realities from contemporaneous time periods. After all, if one were to contrast medieval Christian religious tolerance with medieval Islamic religious tolerance, Islam would come out far ahead. Finally, one of his stated reasons why we all should be religious is plainly ridiculous. He says that religious people in today's world are the ones having children, so that from a Darwinian point of view, the religious life is clearly superior. However, it should be mentioned that he himself has only one child!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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