“How to Talk to Atheists” – Review

“How To Talk to Atheists” CD set

Patrick Coffin w/ William Lane Craig, Fr. Robert Spitzer, and Jennifer Fulwiler

Catholic Answers, CD or MP3
 
 
Since launching StrangeNotions.com, I’ve been inundated with requests. Most take the same form: “Can you help my atheist son?” or “Can you respond to my atheist friend on Facebook?” or “What do I say to my anti-Christian professor?”

I respond as much as possible but I can’t reply to all of them. There’s simply no way to personally engage every atheist argument. But that doesn’t mean I ignore them. Even if I can’t respond to the atheist myself, I point people to good resources that will help them to respond. I believe the old adage is true: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

How to Talk to AtheistsPatrick Coffin’s new CD set, “How to Talk to Atheists”—also available as MP3 downloads—is a great new way to “teach a man to fish.” A former atheist himself, Patrick brought in three of the top Christian experts on atheism to discuss the most common arguments and issues.

The first interview is with William Lane Craig, an Evangelical philosopher and today’s top Christian debater. Each year, Craig visits universities and conferences around the world to debate atheists on topics like the existence of God, objective morality, and Jesus’ resurrection. Friends and foes alike respect his acumen. One atheist praised Craig’s performance against the infamous Christopher Hitchens, saying, “Frankly, Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child.”

In “How to Talk With Atheists”, Craig unpacks some of his go-to arguments, like the Kalaam cosmological argument and the moral argument. He also probes the concept of infinity, using analogies and philosophy to show why an infinite universe is logically impossible.

Patrick’ second interview is with Fr. Robert Spitzer, a true Renaissance man. Fr. Spitzer is a Jesuit priest, a gifted poet, a world-class physicist and philosopher, the former president of Gonzaga University, author of several great books, and a strong advocate of both faith and science.

Building on Craig’s philosophical points, Fr. Spitzer take a scientific approach, covering quantum physics, multiverses, and complex scientific theories. He spends a good amount of time on the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, which shows how all models of the universe must have a beginning—a beginning that points to God. What makes this interview so fruitful is that Fr. Spitzer explains tough scientific concepts in easy, down-to-earth language.

Popular blogger Jennifer Fulwiler rounds out the interviews. She offers the unique perspective of an ordinary, educated laywomen who also used to be an atheist. Jennifer grew up in a non-religious home where she was raised to pursue truth through science and reason. However, through online comment boxes, discussions with her husband, and books on Christian apologetics, she later came to believe both ultimately pointed to God. In 2007, she entered the Catholic Church.

Her background allows her to speak from firsthand experience about talking with atheists. She gives practical suggestions like not assuming that someone has denounced God for intellectual reasons, or that a particular apologetics book will resonate with all atheists. It may be true, for example, that the book doesn’t speak the same “language” as the atheist—it may be too scientific, too basic, or too pejorative.

Jennifer spends much time on the emotional and social elements of atheism. Often, she says, people embrace atheism because of their environmental conditions or personal experiences. To effectively dialogue with atheists you first need to understand why they became atheists.

Overall, the audio set brings tremendous value to anyone hoping to talk with non-believers. Patrick Coffin has gathered three top experts who each focus on one facet of atheism: Craig on the philosophical, Fr. Spitzer on the scientific, and Jennifer on the personal. Together they cover atheism from many angles and give the listener an array of practical insights and strategies. If you’re wondering what to say to an atheist friend or family member, this audio set is for you.
 
 
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Download the interview here (1 minute)
 
 
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Each guest has written at least one book on their primary topic. From William Lane Craig check out Reasonable Faith, or the popularized edition, On Guard: Defending Your Faith With Reason and Precision. From Fr. Robert Spitzer you’ll want the challenging New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy. And while it hasn’t been released yet, Jen Fulwiler’s spiritual memoir recounting her conversion will be published by Ignatius Press in early 2014.

  • Qurat Ul Ain

    MUHUMMED (PBUH) : Is a true prophet of God according to

    the Bible

    (a) “. . . Every spirit (meaning every prophet) that confesseth that

    Jesus Christ is come in flesh is of God.” 1 JOHN 4:2

    Compare with Holy Qur’an 3:45 and many other Qur’anic references

    where Jesus (pbuh) is referred to as the CHRIST.

    MUHUMMED (PBUH) MENTIONED BY NAME IN THE BIBLE:

    (b) “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is (Muhummed-im)

    altogether lovely, this is my beloved, and this is my friend, O

    daughters of Jerusalem.” SONG OF SOLOMON 5:16

    From the original Hebrew manuscript the word “MUHUMMEDIM”, is

    translated as “altogether lovely” which is actually the word

    MUHUMMED with “im” added. “IM” is the plural of respect in the

    Hebrew language.

    MUHUMMED A “COMFORTER” LIKE JESUS, PEACE BE UPON

    THEM:

    (c) “And I will pray the father, and he shall give you ANOTHER

    Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” JOHN 14:16

    Jesus (pbuh) was the first Comforter, and ANOTHER would have to

    be one like him, of the same kind as Jesus, a man and not a Ghost.

  • KidCharlamagne

    How to talk to atheists? Are you kidding me? That should be a one page book. First page: talk to all people respectfully. the end.

  • Johnathan

    I’d generally think you speak to atheists exactly the way you would speak to any other human being on the face of the earth. Just because someone doesn’t share your ideals doesn’t make them an alien.

  • Michelle

    Doesn’t it strike you as a little weird that “How to Talk to Atheists” only interviews Catholics (who, even if they’re converts, are still now viewing atheism from the viewpoint of a devout Catholic)? Wouldn’t you want to hear that from atheists themselves? I’d be very surprised if any atheist read this and said “yes, that’s how to talk to us.”

  • Grammy60

    Brandon, yes we should and should do both, but lately, Christians have been so busy trying to force everyone to live the way they want, they’ve turned many supporters off. Christ didn’t force anyone to follow him. He preached love and service…not more laws and condemnation.