By John W. Loftus & Randal Rauser
Baker Books, $13.99, 202 pages
Blame this book on Guttenberg. When he printed the first Bible, he started the process of removing it from the exclusive use of the church and into the hands of everyman. The rest is history. This book is, perhaps, the billionth attempt to do the impossible: To convince a person of the existence, or not, of a supreme being who has nurtured His/Her (see? Here we go!) creation for somewhere between six thousand and thirteen billion years. Good luck guys.
Randall Rauser, the Christian and John Loftus, the atheist have chosen an unusual format to engage in their arguments. It takes the form of a debate: Opening statement, rebuttal and closing arguments. These are designed to keep the book to a reasonable length. The authors alternate the subjects for argument pro and con. It seems that Randall, the theist presents more open questions like: If there is no God, then life has no meaning. John goes for the more specific: The Biblical God required child sacrifices for his pleasure. In a way, this follows the style of the arguments too. Randall uses analogy a lot, while John refers more to scripture to illustrate his points. Surprisingly, even though I suspect they had advance knowledge of what the other had said, at times they seemed to talk past each other without dealing with some arguments of the other. In any case, it goes without saying that there are no knock-out blows. It’s not the best treatment I’ve seen on the subject, but if you’re looking for an exploration of the God question, that won’t blow up too many brain cells, you could do worse.
Reviewed by Norman West