Who Made God? Completely readable – completely excellent. Actually, one of my favorite reads this year. I thought, I could give this to anyone and they would understand it, enjoy it, and be challenged by it. Full of wit, humor, and sharp thinking. This definitely makes it to the top of my list. (review here)
Is God Just a Human Invention? Another book with a question for a title – but questions are good, and this book tackles about 18 of them that are being asked the most these days. Written by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow, with contributions from a ton of excellent specialists, this book is a phenomenal resource and doesn’t have to be read in any particular order. (an interview with the authors here)
On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision by William Lane Craig is excellent for personal study or group studies. Weighty material that is clear, precise, and put together really well. I’d give this to Christian young people in high school and college who want to strengthen their apologetics foundations. (review here)
And finally, here’s the stocking stuffer of the bunch: Kreeft and Tacelli’s Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics. The reason? Again, lots of material packed into a small book, organized and presented well.
My first choice is “Is God Just a Human Invention”, but I have not read “Who Made God?”, although I have it.
I’m not a big fan of Peter Kreeft’s book. I have never read anything by Kreeft that has the same evidential tone like the stuff that William Lane Craig writes. I am not a big fan of these G. K. Chesterton / C.S. Lewis / Phillip Yancey type people for apologetics. It’s just paper shields and foam swords – totally useless in battle. If you want real apologetics, you want experimental scientists, analytical philosophers and multi-lingual historians. You want guys like Mike Licona and William Lane Craig who have a lot of debating experience.
NOTE: Brian is giving away books to anyone who adds him on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribes to his newsletter.
I was supposed to work all through Thanksgiving on a project, but I ended up doing all my Christmas shopping. If you have a lot of people on your list like I do, you might want to consider the “Ministry Give-away” offers from Randolph Productions. They sell intelligent design DVDs and the new Illustra Media production of the Craig-Hitchens debate that occurred in Aptil this year at Biola University.
The ministry give-away packs are neat because they give you the DVD in a simple envelope. It doesn’t have the fancy packaging but then again, it costs $3 per DVD!! (or less, if you buy a bigger pack). I bought the 11-packs, which come with 1 full sized DVD ($20) and 10 give-away DVDs ($3 each!). Shipping is FREE. They have packages up to 100 give-away DVDs! But they don’t yet have Darwin’s Dilemma in Ministry give-away packs yet, so I bought a bunch of those at a discounted price from Amazon.
I have seen the Lee Strobel DVDs they are offering and I do not recommend them, as they are not as detailed as the Illustra/Coldwater DVDs. They try to cover too much in too little time, and some things get missed. Also, they are a bit too stylish and slick for my taste, with too much about Lee’s personal life experiences.
I haven’t actually got the DVDs from Randolph Productions yet, so… you might want to wait and see if mine are done right before you order anything from them! This is my first time ordering from them.
UPDATE: They shipped it by FEDEX ground and e-mailed me again.
The Greer-Heard Point/Counterpoint forum is an annual debate run by the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The only ones worth buying are the 2005 and 2009 ones, and they are both really, really worth buying. I will be writing about both of these pretty soon. The 2005 ones come on CD, although I e-mailed them and asked them to put up an MP3 version of it so y’all could all get it for a better price. No response yet on that.
J.D. Crossan and N.T. Wright — Jesus’ Resurrection – opening speeches and dialogue
R. Douglas Geivett — “What Should We Believe about Belief in the Resurrection”
Chuck Quarles — “The Gospel of Peter: A Pre-Canonical Resurrection Narrative?”
William Lane Craig — “Resurrection: Does it Matter?”
Gary Habermas — “Mapping Recent Trends in Critical Resurrection Theories”
Craig Evans — “The Place of Wright and Crossan in Jesus Research”
Ted Peters — “The Future of the Resurrection”
Concluding Comments from J.D. Crossan and N.T. Wright
Wright laid out his standard case for the 6 mutations, and Crossan tried to explain the resurrection as metaphor. Crossan was hard to pin down, but he eventually did come clean in the discussion time, and even allowed the empty tomb. Doug Geivett’s response was the jewel in a magnificent crown of debate. He was merciless. Chuck Quarles and Craig Evans were very effective and Craig and Habermas were OK. Ted Peters supported Crossan’s view.
Harold A. Netland and Paul F. Knitter — Religious Pluralism – opening speeches and dialog
Paul Copan — “Is the World Religiously Ambiguous? No, and Neither Is Religious Pluralism”
S. Mark Heim — “No Other Name: The Gospel and True Religions”
R. Douglas Geivett — “The Futility of Neutrality: The Uniqueness of Jesus in a World of Religions”
Millard J. Erickson — Evangelical Philosophical Society Plenary Address
Terrence Tilley — “Principles for Assessing Theologies of Religious Diversity”
Keith Yandell — “Does Religious Pluralism Have Sufficient Rationale?”
Concluding Comments from Paul Knitter & Harold Netland
I just downloaded this set and it is extremely addictive. I’ve listened to it THREE TIMES! Netland was pretty moderate, and Knitter was a pretty typical religious pluralist – irrational and indifferent to evidence. Copan’s response was the best of a great bunch – it was vicious. Yandell’s paper a close second (his paper had to be read by someone else – if he had read it, he might have surpassed Copan!) Geivett was pretty moderate this time, but still good. Heim was OK and Erickson just made some general comments about postmodernism that were OK. Tilley supported Knitter’s view.
The upcoming 2010 forum on “The Message of Jesus” is set for February 2010. They got Crossan to come back, which is great, because he is a fine speaker and a good participant in these dialogs. I can’t stand his positions, though. And his opponent is Ben Witherington, who is a well-respected historian. Non-Christian respondents are Amy-Jill Levine and Alan F. Segal. Christian respondents are Craig A. Evans, Craig Blomberg, and Darrell L. Bock. All 3 of them participate in debates before.
John Dominic Crossan & Ben Witherington III — opening speeches and dialog
Darrell L. Bock — response
Amy-Jill Levine — response
Craig Blomberg — response
Craig A. Evans — response
Alan F. Segal — response
I’ll probably get this set as MP3s if they keep the price down. It looks like this will be a good one.
I like Craig Evans and Darrell Bock MORE than Witherington and Blomberg, because I think they”ll be more aggressive. All four of these Christian scholars have participated in debates before. Blomberg and Witherington were respondents to the Craig-Crossan debate (the book version). Craig Evans responded to Crossan in the 2005 Greer-Heard forum. And Darrell Bock responded to Borg in the Craig-Borg debate.
The best books of 2009, and some older ones you might have missed
If you haven’t bought “Signature in the Cell” yet, what are you waiting for? This is the book of the year. It was named to Amazon’s top 10 science books and to the Best Books of 2009 list compiled by the UK Times Literary Supplement, (selected by the brilliant and honest atheist Thomas Nagel, who is the atheist I would most like to see become a Christian, now that Anthony Flew has left atheism).
I recommend the 1960s spy series “Danger Man“, starring Patrick McGoohan. They’re about $25 from Amazon. McGoohan’s character John Drake is the anti-James Bond. He always put the mission first – he never allowed himself to be manipulated or distracted by enemy agents. And it’s filmed in black and white – exactly the way secret agent John Drake operates.
Here are a couple of videos to give you an idea of what it’s all about.
John Drake infiltrates a murder-for-hire ring based in Italy:
John Drake attempts to kidnap a professional assassin behind the Iron Curtain:
I hope talking about Danger Man doesn’t prevent Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 from adding this post to his Twitter feed. His list of recommended books is here.
UPDATE: Welcome visitors from IMAO.us! Thanks for the link Harvey!
Have you ever heard an American-Idol-watching Dummocrat approve of Obama plans to tax the rich? Watch this video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity (H/T Hot Air) and learn the facts you’ll need to defeat them in a debate.
Here are a few more videos from America’s golden age when everyone could explain why the country was founded, and why our free market capitalist economy was the envy of the world. (I stole these from IMAO.us)