Ratio Christi Recommends | Does God Exist? Why it Matters
Ratio Christi is pleased to recommend a recently published resource aimed at equipping all Christians for action. Authors Eric Chabot and Chris Van Allsburg recently published the book, Does God Exist? Why it Matters, as a concise introduction to articulating and defending God’s existence.
Both authors are Ratio Christi Chapter Directors. Eric Chabot represents RC at Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College, and Chris Van Allsburg leads at Lenoir-Rhyne University. The writing of this book was in response to a recognized need identified by the authors:
We wrote this book as a general introduction to the question of God’s existence. We cover a wide range of thinkers and ideas. We are keenly aware that many books covering the existence of God are too academic for readers new to apologetics. They tend to presume too much and surpass the reader’s comprehension. Our intent is to provide a primer that whets the appetite and compels deeper study. This little tome fills a well-defined niche.”
Does God Exist? is written at a level that will resonate with those new to apologetics and with those already possessing some fluency. Multiple chapters offer an intermediate course in several heady problems in the philosophy of religion. Terms like worldview, proof, evidence, science, metaphysics, and epistemology are laid out in an easy-to-understand way. For example, to make a conversation meaningful requires examining one’s worldview. But what is the structure of a person’s worldview, and how do we uncover it? As these questions are considered, the reader is postured to capture a birds-eye-view of why people think in certain ways about the Big Questions of Life. This book couches readers in the world’s intellectual landscape while explaining fundamental reasons why God’s existence is rational, justifiable, and desirable.
A book like this is important because Christians need to be apologists. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Apologetics is therefore an imperative for every Christian. And apologetics is simply this: making a case for what we believe with a view to proclaiming the gospel. In a post-Christian, and often intellectually hostile society, Christians cannot underestimate the need for apologetics. Some of our biggest challenges today include
1) skepticism and the existence of God
2) the historical reliability of the bible
3) science and the bible
4) the morality of the bible (to include violence in the Old Testament, feminism, homosexuality, and patriarchy)
5) Christian attitudes and hypocrisy towards social issues
6) the problem of suffering and evil.
While all of these topics merit careful examination, Does God Exist? focuses in on the first challenge. According to Chabot and Van Allsburg,
“We begin with common objections related to the human desire of experiencing a “sign” from God. We interlace these points with personal stories, including one about [spoiler alert] a murder charge against one of the authors of the book! We also cover rational demonstrations of God’s existence with a brief explanation of Aquinas’s Second Way and his argument from being and essence. To understand Aquinas requires a familiarity with new vocabulary, and we explain terms such as efficient cause, act, and potency. In addition to Aquinas, we cover Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason, the fine-tuning of the universe, human longing, morality, consciousness, biological information, and God’s actions in history. All of these, we think, will lead readers to a strong case for God. The history section includes a comparison of Christianity with other religions, centered upon the figure of Jesus of Nazareth.”
The end of each chapter includes footnotes, and the end of the book has a suggested reading list for deeper study. While the book stands well as a singular resource, the comprehensive lists of references provide readers a streamlined way to identify and access additional material.
From the authors:
We hope this small treatise will cause people to stop for a quiet moment and ponder one of life’s biggest questions, “Does God Exist?” And fitting with the subtitle, we hope readers will discover why it matters whether God does or does not exist.
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