OK, let’s get the disclosure out of the way – I know the author and am fairly well disposed towards most things he writes. I also own all his books and yet strangely this is the first that I’ve actually read!
In a post-Christian society it’s so important to discuss with those who don’t follow Christ in such a way so as to have more conversations about Jesus. We need to listen without caving in, disagree without being disagreeable, challenge without being arrogant and perhaps come to a fresh understanding of what a ‘win’ might be.
Wilson opens up the book with the admission that he was a fundamentalist (ie he was right and everyone else was wrong) but that had changed. The point now is not necessarily to ‘win’ the argument but perhaps to win a hearing. Christians may have a right to speak but they don’t have a right to be heard. The tone of this book is conversational, disarmingly honest and poses questions that engage the reader. This is less William Lane Craig and more Tim Keller for the masses.
I found particularly helpful the chapter on knowledge and the importance of forming conclusions that best fit the evidence, with of course an openness to new information. This disarms the ‘science has disproved God’ line of thinking because as Wilson, says ‘what kind of experiment would you need for that?’
Once we’ve worked out how we can know what we know, the book goes on to cover the reasonableness for believing in a Creator (not proof, mind you but reasonableness) and then for wondering about sin and suffering before going on to look at the reasonableness for the truth claims of Christianity and, of course, the key issue of the resurrection. The resurrection remains the most significant issue, the Bible itself says if it’s not true it all falls apart (the New Testament bit anyway) and generally one most ignored and not thought about by the despiser of religion.
The book should find lots of use amongst students (I’d give copies away at mission weeks), or given to those are considering faith but finding they’re getting stuck on some questions. It’s also a lesson in communication that church leaders and preachers would do well to learn and lastly anyone who has friends who don’t believe and are willing to chat, should read it and learn from it. So all in all, highly recommended.