Justin Schieber just tweeted an extended endorsement for An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar courtesy of Dan Fincke. Ever mindful of my readers, I have reposted it below with Dan’s introduction.
And who is Dan Fincke? He’s an academic philosopher (PhD, Fordham University), an award winning teacher, a blogger (at Camels with Hammers), and an entrepreneur who has been teaching his own non-credit philosophy classes online for three years. In short, he’s a trained philosopher, an educator, and a populist (in the best sense) so this endorsement means a lot. So here it is, an introduction followed by an extended endorsement.
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I just sent in my blurb suggestion for An Atheist and A Christian Walk Into A Bar, co-written by Justin Schieber and Randal Rauser. I expect them to only use a tiny bit of this (if anything). I just wrote it this long because it was too difficult for me to figure out which point I was willing to sacrifice. I figured I would let the publisher decide what was most valuable or what portion of what I said complements rather than repeats what others are saying, etc. I also didn’t worry about erring on the side of repetition as, again, at least it gives them choices.
Anyway, that caveat about why this is so long aside, here’s how I would recommend An Atheist and A Christian Walk Into A Bar:
“An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into A Bar should launch a genre. It’s a book that balances accessibility, rigor, and probing creativity, with the potential to mainstream the sophistication and constructive insight of academic philosophy of religion often sorely missing from the preachers and polemicists who hog most of the attention in the theism/atheism debate. It’s vital that Christians and atheists alike see what happens when their favorite talking points get deftly countered by philosophically skilled and knowledgable people on the other side. It’s also crucial that the legion of people who want to disparage argument between believers and non-believers as inevitably pointless, destructive, or intolerant see just how instructive and illuminating it can be to read a constructive and careful back and forth about the philosophy of religion. By modeling superior arguments in philosophy of religion and a superior approach to arguing, this book has the potential to move its readers’ future debates about religious and secular ideas to an advanced starting point and to improve how those debates proceed from there. And by modeling a superior approach to presenting the philosophy of religion debate, hopefully it will inspire more co-written books in which authors don’t get away with the unchallenged monologuing and the one-sided presentations that only serve to reinforce the comfort of the faithful or the unfaithful but rather are forced to up their game, show how well they can respond to scrutiny of their ideas, and risk that members of their own side might struggle with the strength of their opponents’ arguments. Theists and atheists should read this together and pick up their conversations where the chapters on topics leave off, and other philosophically informed theists and atheists should starting writing more of their books together, following this one’s model of constructive criticism, collaboration, and debate.”