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May 5

A Shot Of Faith by Mitch Stokes

Posted on Saturday, May 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Mitch Stokes, in his book A Shot Of Faith (To The Head), takes on the doctrines of Sam Harris, Victor J. Stenger, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins, among others.

A Shot Of Faith is not a light afternoon read, a relaxing bedside read before lights out at the end of a long day, this book is thought provoking and challenging.

Challenging intellectually stimulating atheists is not for the light at heart. Stokes takes us through three eddies of philosophical influence as he wades into their water.

Stokes argues that “there are three concepts — rationality, design, and absolute standards — connected through the notion of proper function.”

A rational belief is one that is formed by a cognitive faculty that is functioning properly (in the appropriate environment).

The proper function of something depends on how it was intended to function, on what it was designed to do.

The design is the standard by which we measure whether something is functioning properly.

Stokes argues that “either there’s no such thing as rationality (or irrationality) or else atheism is irrational. But atheists will heartily agree that there is such a thing as irrationality; they point to us as examples of it.”

Whether Stokes arguments are an intellectually satisfying “shot of faith” or an unsatisfying circular reasoning depends largely on how the reader responds to one of Stokes statements: “Rationality and irrationality require a divine designer.”

If you accept his statement as valid then you’ll agree, “if the atheist is right, and there’s no divine designer, then there’s no such thing as rationality (or irrationality, and so belief in God isn’t irrational). If the atheist is wrong, on the other hand, and there is a divine designer, then the atheist is irrational…”

While I enjoyed much of Stokes book I wasn’t always convinced by his reasoning.

What I did agree with is that the “atheists are damaged goods. Of course, all of us are damaged goods. Sin has caused some degree of irrationality in us all. And given the extent of the damage, it’s no wonder atheists don’t believe. The real wonder is why anyone believes. The explanation, of course, is that God has begun to repair humanity, at an unimaginable cost to himself. And this is really good news.”

This book is well-referenced and well-researched, but as an added value it needed a study guide to continue the dialogue with Christians, Atheists and anyone else.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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