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Announcing True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 by Tom Gilson

True Reason Book Cover

Announcing a new release today! True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism, featuring William Lane Craig, Sean McDowell, and eleven other authors, edited by Carson Weitnauer and me.


New Atheists claim to be the defenders of reason.

In their books, their websites, and their debates—and often on this blog—they’ve shown that they aren’t very good at it.

There’s a better place to discover True Reason.

Today I’m happy to the publication of True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism. Thirteen authors have teamed up to discuss what the New Atheists mean by reason, where they succeed at it, and how much more reasonable Christianity is at its best than the New Atheism is at its best.

Early reviews have been most encouraging. Speaker/author John Stonestreet says, “Reasonable people will take this content seriously,” and Tim McGrew, philosophy professor at Western Michigan University adds, “Anyone who engages with these arguments thoughtfully will discover that it is surprisingly difficult to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

The story of this book begins very early on Christmas Eve, 2011. I was lying awake in bed, for some reason thinking about the atheists’ upcoming Reason Rally, wondering how it was that they think they could claim the brand of reason for themselves. On this blog, in their debates, in their published work, what I keep encountering among atheists is a limited understanding of reason, and a surprising lack of competence where it counts the most.

Sam Harris is a great example. Reading through his material you find that for him, reason equates with (1) not believing what can’t be demonstrated by observable evidence, and (2) treating one another reasonably. He says almost nothing (a little, but not much) about the crucial underlying foundation of reason: the ability to connect one thought to the next, starting from evidence and/or premises, and come to a valid conclusion. Not only does he say little about it, but as I say in chapter five of the book, he doesn’t practice it at all well.

That’s the kind of thing I was thinking about that morning. Someone needs to write a book, I thought. Then I realized, I know a lot of someones who could do that. I contacted them, and a dozen of them joined with me. Today, exactly 80 days after it was first conceived, the book is available for you to purchase.

The short time frame meant we couldn’t produce it in a print version yet, but you don’t need a Kindle or a Nook to read it; you can use free software to read it on your computer.

We have priced this ebook so that you can afford it. Buy it now for $2.99, and be one of the first to discover True Reason!

Produced in cooperation with the Christian Apologetics Alliance

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23 Responses to “ Announcing True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism ”

  1. G. Kyle Essary says:

    This looks excellent! I’m picking up my copy right now. I went to university with John DePoe back in the day, and am pleasantly surprised to see his name on the list.

  2. ChrisB says:

    Sounds good; I picked it up.

    Style comment for the next edition: Put the name of the author with the chapter on the table of contents. It’s a good selling point when you’re advertising the big names.

  3. SteveK says:

    Will get mine when it’s available for the Nook. Amazing that you were able to get this out in such a short time.

  4. Victoria says:

    I just bought the Kindle version, and I’m looking forward to a thoughtful reading of it

  5. Charlie says:

    “He says almost nothing (a little, but not much) about the crucial underlying foundation of reason: the ability to connect one thought to the next, starting from evidence and/or premises, and come to a valid conclusion. ”

    This inability seems almost epidemic. You see it in even the arguments presented by people whom you would really expect to be expert at it – professional, trained and respected scientists.
    Having the wrong foundations and presuppositions seems to poison the entire process.

  6. d says:

    Ahh what the heck – the price was right. Got it.

  7. extremely agnostic says:

    The problem with BOTH theists and atheists have is that they equate God with eternal life. (apples and oranges) Q#1: If you were God, would you want a bunch of self-rightious schmucks who spent their physical existence constantly asking for favors, and thinking that they’re doing you a favor by spending 75 minutes a week “singing”? Q#2: If you discovered that there is no eternal life, would you still be doing God a “favor” by “worshipping” him? The point is, is that you don’t care about God because you’re doing what you’re doing to cover your own astral rear-ends.

  8. Tom Gilson says:

    Extremely agnostic:

    As agnostic as you are, you seem to know a lot about what God would want. It’s not a matter of guessing. He has told us. He has told us, for one thing, that he’s fine with “schmucks” but not with self-righteousness. He doesn’t want us to think we’re doing him a favor by singing; he wants us to know he needs no favors, but that praise is just fitting, that’s all.

    You are equally quick, and equally lacking in evidence, as you conclude that we Christians don’t care about God. Why don’t you ask instead?

  9. SteveK says:

    Got mine. Look forward to reading it.

  10. Tom Gilson says:

    Mr, Mrs, Miss, or Ms “extremely agnostic” has apparently not agreed to abide by the discussion policy, and will not be returning.

  11. WesM says:

    I’ll read it. But as an ex-evangelical missionary who let “Jesus reign in my heart” for 46 years, I am now an atheist/agnostic. I expect that every argument and point of “logic” that you raise in the book, I have utilized myself when witnessing to non-believers. Let me warn you, your witnessing to them will be almost pointless and fruitless. They are thinkers of the most profound kind, not responsive to facile arguments that I used to employ as a missionary. But no doubt you will find someone there who is toying with non-belief, is in deepest despair and therefore vulnerable to your emotional “altar calls”.

  12. Ranger says:

    Hey Wes,
    I’m a current evangelical missionary, but am unfamiliar with letting “Jesus reign in my heart” evangelism. 46 years is quite a time on the field, so I’d love to hear your story sometime.

    Unlike your experience, my evangelistic methods have largely worked. I currently am a church planter with a mix of former Buddhists, Hindus, atheists and Daoists. I honestly think I’m the only second-generation Christian in our congregation although there is a Nigerian brother who might have had Christian parents.

    Obviously, you believe you’ve thought through your position deeply. As such, can you give me your main three reasons for rejecting Christianity, and at least one positive reason for accepting your current position of unbelief. I’d be interested to hear them and discuss them with you…no altar calls or emotional pleas…just some rational discourse.

  13. WesM says:

    Ranger, absolutely! I’d love to do that for you! I’m at work now, so I’ll have to wait a few hours until I can devote a little more time to it and give you a full answer. (And I was only a missionary for 7 years, but I was an evangelical Christian for 46 years total.)


  14. […] Announcing True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism by Tom Gilson Click here for Ratio Christ’s blog to see more about the reasonable Christian response →   […]

  15. […] Announcing True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism by Tom Gilson Click here for Ratio Christ’s blog to see more about the reasonable Christian response → […]

  16. As a co-host of The Atheist Experience television show, who will be attending the Reason Rally, is it possible to obtain a review copy of this book, or are none being made available?

  17. Tom Gilson says:

    Mr. Wagner, thank you for the question. You can obtain a copy of the book here for only $2.99. I have never been offered a free review copy of anything written by Krauss, Coyne, Harris, etc.; I have paid for such books with my own funds, mostly, or in some cases found them in the library. That seems to be the norm.

  18. Okay. For future reference, most mainstream publishers are willing to provide review copies to reviewers and relevant media outlets (including blogs) if you query their publicity departments.

  19. SteveK says:

    It’s $2.99 for heaven’s sake!

  20. Yeah, no big deal. Grabbing it.

  21. Ranger says:

    Are you still out there? I’d love to hear your reasons. Let me remind you that I’d like to hear your primary three reasons for rejecting Christianity, and your best positive reason for accepting atheism.

  22. WISmith says:

    Ah, the emotional tension of a spiritual discussion! Like most discussions, much will revolve around the blindness of the participants. What are the parameters we place on the evidence? How will we spin the definitions of words to justify our position? Will we recognize our biases and prejudices? We never seem to start on a level playing field because we talk at cross purposes.

    Take empirical evidence for a start. What exactly constitutes empirical evidence? This seems relative to the individual. We create a hypothesis and then establish, through reasoned deductions, what the most plausible solution is to the problem. String theory is a good example. It is based on reasoned mathematical and scientific probabilities. At this time it cannot be “empirically proved” to the masses. It is at this point simply a belief in how the “Theory of Everything” should look – multiple dimensions and all. Yet many people will devote their lives to establishing its validity and for some, it becomes a worldview and not just a theory. Christianity is another example. It is based on reasoned statistical and scientific probabilities as well. It, too, cannot be empirically proved to the masses but it offers a valid plausible solution for many of society’s questions and dilemmas. It has the added support of many other social disciplines – once again – depending on one’s definition and criteria.

    Here is the issue, if one starts out with the predetermined mind-set that spiritual things cannot exist, based on this prejudicial foundation one can never provide enough reasoned examples to convince the naysayer of Christianity’s viability. It seems ironic to me that there is a strong following in the scientific community for the belief in extraterrestrial life forms – as long as they aren’t God or angels. If string theory is correct, do we really expect that the multiple dimensions suggested will function under the same exact same scientific laws of our dimension? Why couldn’t there be a spiritual dimension? It is pretty arrogant of humankind to worship science and then put it in a box and say we know all there is to know and it will never provide the evidence to prove that God does exist.

    One cannot legislate Christianity. One must live it. If we don’t have the ability to defend our faith in Christ, Christianity may well become culturally irrelevant in a secular society.

    The book is a very good read!

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