The debate between Christians and Atheists has been ramped up in recent years with the emergence of some of the more vocal atheists such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. In some ways, they have take to an evangelism approach towards the promotion of atheism. Despite their zeal for promoting the life of “unfaith,” Norman Geisler and Daniel McCoy have found what they consider to be a chink in the armor of their arguments, their thinking, and their ideology. In their book, “The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw,” Geisler and McCoy address the apparent discrepancies.
The authors introduce terms and ideas in the introduction, making sure that everyone is on the same page moving forward through the book. This is helpful as they continue to point back towards certain terms and ideas throughout the book, this provides a clear path forward to understand their arguments and rationale.
One of the terms that Geisler and McCoy use, borrowed from C.S. Lewis, is God-in-the-dock, the family of arguments used by atheists that put God on trial for defying or contradicting his own nature. Atheists have come to find God immoral for his lack of intervention and for his creation of less than perfect creatures.
As you move through this book, the Geisler and McCoy use arguments from the atheists themselves to build their case. Other than Hitchens and Dawkins, other known atheists from history past and present are used such as Carl Sagan, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, among others. It’s helpful to see these arguments from those who oppose the idea of a Divine Creator in order to know how best to combat them. Geisler and McCoy do a sufficient job of providing these arguments from the other side and then they proceed to refute them.
The big case that Geisler and McCoy make against the atheists is that atheists seem to blame God for not intervening in the moral evils prevalent within the world yet they would be critical of any Divine Being who would come in and take away our autonomy. In many ways, the authors paint the picture of atheists that they are anti-authoritarian and refuse to give up their freedoms and autonomy. Geisler and McCoy also say that atheists have no problem with the intervention of humanity to solve the evils and woes of the world, which seems inconsistent considering that these same interventions would be immoral if used by God.
It seems that atheists want God to be made in their image (something that Christians can easily be accused of as well), being tolerant of all of the things that they are tolerant of, yet when they are in need, they want to be able to simply rub the magic lamp and have a “god” at their disposal, ready to fight for them. Over and over, based on the arguments that the authors present, it seems that the atheists in question are more averse to what God stands for rather than the idea of God at all.
Geisler and McCoy provide a good approach towards rebutting the arguments of the atheists using their own words. The book was a little slow to get into because of the need to set up the rest of it, but once I got into it, it moved along fairly quickly. Geisler and McCoy present their case in a fairly easily understood format, enabling even the novice thinkers to follow along. While all of the arguments seemed to be well laid out and thought through, I would have liked the conclusion of the book to have felt less abrupt than it was. In some ways, it felt as if they ran out of thoughts and ideas and just ended it, providing for more of a sudden stop rather than a gradual and summarizing conclusion.
Overall, it was a worthwhile read, especially for those who are new to the discussion with some of the more current atheists. Geisler and McCoy didn’t attempt to argue by simply lobbing Scripture at the arguments but by using the actual arguments presented by the atheists to begin with, a much more effective way to approach the argument.
(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Bethany House Publishers. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)