An Atheist and a Christian Walk into a Bar: Talking about God, the Universe, and Everything

Randal Rauser and Justin Schieber. Prometheus, $18 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-63388-243-0
Theology professor Rouser and YouTube personality Schieber offer complex, rigorous arguments that will challenge the thinking of believers and atheists alike. Through one long conversation presented in transcript form—complete with digressions and calls for clarification—the duo avoids the simplistic attacks or hasty reasoning found in many polemical works. Although Rauser speaks from a Christian perspective, the authors focus on a more inclusive classical theism: the notion that an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent God exists. They argue about whether testimony is valid evidence, what the major theological disagreements between religions suggest, what the creator’s seeming hostility to the universe means, whether the neat mathematical pattern of the universe proves intentional design, and how to best explain the problem of human suffering. The dialogue format lends authenticity but can become tedious, especially when either author cracks a joke. Though at times the philosophical talk gets thick, Rouser and Schieber are generally adept at unpacking concepts for nonexpert readers. They never reach consensus, but their model of listening to and respectfully challenging each other provides a refreshing, hospitable break from heavy-handed demonization and overly simplified apologetics. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2016
Release date: 12/06/2016
Genre: Religion
Ebook - 978-1-63388-244-7
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