Here’s a review of The Swedish Atheist from the “Thinking Christian” blog. Since I’ve had serveral glowing reviews and one extremely negative review (thanks Mr. Holding!), I suppose it was about time for a “Meh” review.
Since I tend to focus on the negatives, I made special note of the criticisms raised by the reviewer (Steve Parker). So far as I can see, Mr. Parker made two notable criticisms, one signaling the “worst part” of the book and the other the “most disappointing part”. (Too bad they weren’t the same thing, eh?)
Here’s what he said about the worst part:
“The worst part of the book, in my view, was the discussion of providence which failed to explore the logical implications of the author’s view and strained credibility.”
Personally, I found Mr. Parker’s analysis of the worst part of my book the most disappointing part of his review since he doesn’t explain what he means here. That’s too bad because his comment certainly piqued my interest.
Ah well, on to the most disappointing part. Mr. Parker writes:
“The most disappointing aspect of the book is that it pits a well-read, well-informed, contemporary professor with a wide background in philosophy against an “average” educated guy who has to constantly admit not knowing concepts and offering weak arguments in order for the apologist to teach the reader basic ideas of Christian apologetics. If, instead, an equal “opponent” had been the dialog partner, some serious objections could have been raised against the arguments offered.”
This was the second most disappointing part of Mr. Parker’s review. You see, I also wrote the book he wishes I’d written here. Actually, I co-wrote it and it’s called God or Godless and if you read my blog at all then you already know about it. (Incidentally I just heard this morning that it should be shipping to bookstores the beginning of March. And at only 7 bucks a book on Amazon.com, it’s a steal!)
But that raises an important question. Is the Swedish Atheist book to be faulted for not being a dialogue with an expert? The fact is that Swedish Atheist aims to be an introduction to apologetics conversation by immersion by illustrating the kind of conversation you are likely to have today with an average self-described atheist-agnostic-humanist-skeptic. I think this kind of exercise is enormously important and practical. Indeed, I think it is just as important to have an introduction to the kind of arguments you’re likely to hear from an average intelligent person as from an expert. And so I wrote the former kind of book here.
Consequently, I feel a bit like the exhausted accordian player of a polka band who is looking out at a disgruntled audience that is disappointed because they thought they were paying to hear some rock and roll. Dripping with sweat, huffing and puffing, I gave it my all and (if I do say so myself) I played a mean accordian. But hey, if you didn’t come to hear polka to begin with…