Book review: God or Godless?

by John W. Loftus and Randal Rauser

★★★★★

Definitely a contender for The Dubious Disciple’s top-10 religion books of 2013. Even the cover is magnificent.

John, an atheist, goes head-to-head with Randal, a Christian, on twenty controversial topics. Each topic is covered in debate fashion, with the contestants presenting their arguments, counter-arguments, and closing statements. It’s friendly for the most part, but the gloves do come off in a couple places.

Two very different philosophies shine through. Rauser’s penchant for imagination and storytelling contrasts John’s trust in cold, hard probability. It’s classic, almost stereotyped … great stuff.

For my own amusement, I rated and tallied up the score. My scoring was 6-4, with 10 ties, in favor of….

Wait a minute. If there’s one single debate that is critical, that reaches down to the core of Christianity, it’s #19. Did Jesus rise from the dead. This is also head-and-shoulders the most interesting of the twenty debates. And the winner on this one is … unfortunately, nobody. A push. No decision.

Another way to choose the winner is to read the book’s concluding remarks. Rauser’s passionate plea for meaning versus Loftus’s argument that Christianity has hardly risen to the surface above all the rest of the world’s religions to earn a debate against atheism. It was such a fitting close to the book that I couldn’t help awarding both contestants a win.

Ah, well, I guess that’s why I’m known as an “agnostic Christian.” Thanks, John and Randal, for a great time.

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