Book Plunge: True Reason

What do I think of Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer’s book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.


True Reason is being released today as a response to several of the new atheists. Why? Because the new atheists have championed themselves as the heroes of reason and as a result of reason, they’re atheists, and those who are reasonable will also be atheists.

Yet as I have observed, those same atheists making that claim are usually guilty of the greatest crimes against reason. This was best exemplified to me recently when a street epistemologist on Peter Boghossian’s Facebook page was asked if she’d read any books on logic and she replied by naming the new atheists that she had read.

This also consists in what I call “The Jesus Allergy” where atheists are afraid to admit anything whatsoever could be true in Scripture or that there could be anything good about religion or that intelligent people can be within their epistemic rights while being Christians. Want to see this best shown? Look at how many atheists are Christ-mythers. Even those who aren’t can often say that a reasonable case can be made that Jesus never existed.

No. No it can’t.

True Reason is meant to expose this. Now to be sure, this is a volume that I think is meant to be an introduction to people who are not familiar with the apologetics world. For those of us who have been in it for years, there won’t be much new here, but there will be a new formatting of it and a new presentation.

The book certainly has its range of excellent authors. William Lane Craig, David Wood, Sean McDowell, David Marshall, Matthew Flannagan, and Tim McGrew, for instance, each have their own say in it. There are also several chapters by people that you might not have heard of, which is fine to me because I think the apologetics community does need to promote from within.

Many of the chapters do cover subjects that I am pleased are being discussed. Slavery in the OT, for instance, is not often addressed in apologetics books. Flannagan’s chapter on the genocides of the OT will be extremely helpful as well. I enjoyed as well Tim McGrew and David Marshall’s chapter on the history of reason in Christianity and I appreciated that Marshall had a chapter devoted entirely to John Loftus’s “Outsider Test for Faith.”

There are areas I would like to see some more on for another edition of the book.

I think despite it being absolutely bunk, there needs to be a section on Christ-myth thinking and why historians and scholars view it as a joke. That could be a good focus on Richard Carrier and Robert Price. The Christ-myth idea is I think one of the greatest examples of the lack of reason in the new atheist movement.

I also think that since the new atheists target Christianity, we need a chapter on the central claim, the resurrection. There is one on the reliability of the NT overall, but we need something that is devoted to solely defending the resurrection and answering criticisms of it.

Yet since this one is also engaging several apologists together and some of them being new, I think that gives readers plenty of places to go to and I encourage that. We need to be building up others and it’s excellent to see noted names in the field working with names that haven’t been as well established yet, but are well on their way.

If there is someone out there who is wanting a good case against the new atheists claim to be the bearers of reason, I recommend this one. It will be a good start to demonstrating that the emperor truly has no clothes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 2/15/2014: Tom Gilson

What’s coming up Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.


I’d like to give a little caveat right at the start.

This show might not happen.

I’m going to treat it as it will. I’m going to be making my plans accordingly, but I’m wanting all to be aware of the possibility. Why might it not? Because Wednesday I was diagnosed as having an inflamed prostate, so bad that I had to go to the ER last night. (My wife and I were suffering both from this seeing as I was regularly screaming during the night making it hard to sleep.)

I went home yesterday afternoon and I have been recovering since then, but I have just been in a lot of pain from all of this and so I want you to know that if the time comes and there is no show going on, do not panic. I am sure my guest will be glad to come back another time, though it would have to be much later. I am thoroughly booked as a look at our podcast schedule will show.

But let’s assume the show is going on. What’s the topic?

My guest will be Tom Gilson and we’ll be talking about his reply to Peter Boghossian, author of “A Manual for Creating Atheists.” This could also tie in to an ebook he co-edited called “True Reason.”

Tom Gilson is the National Director for the Ratio Christi Students Alliance Ministry. This puts him in charge of 100 chapters. He is also the blogger who runs Thinking Christian. This blog is according to Technorati one of the top 100 influential blogs on the area of religion.

Peter Boghossian is an important topic to be discussing, not the least of which because he has a show coming out that he calls “The Reason Whisperer.” In this show, he will go out live with a television crew to record conversations he has with people to show how to deconvert. (To which, I’ve been hopeful that he will please come to my church sometime!)

Gilson and I have both read Boghossian’s book and we will be talking about the many problems that exist in it. (In fact, if anyone is interested, I have been over on Boghossian’s Facebook page enjoying dealing with the “street epistemologists” that he has on his side.)

And again, let me issue a reminder that it is my sincere hope that this show will take place. Even now, I do not feel my best, but I am sitting here working to bring you this post and to prepare a show just in case. I do sincerely ask that you be praying for me and for my family in this time. This has been a difficult time for us and I hope that it passes soon. As some can imagine, in the heat of the struggle, it feels like it will never pass.

So be listening in hopefully this Saturday from 3-5 PM EST to hear Tom Gilson on the Deeper Waters Podcast. The call in number will be as always 714-242-5180. The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Reason Rally: True Reason

Is there a response to be brought to the Reason Rally? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Lately, I’ve been presenting my own defenses against the unreason that will take place at the rally. Today, I do not have to do that. Instead, I am going to be writing about a small ebook that has been put together for the purposes of giving a response to those at the Reason Rally.

To be fair, I was not able to do an exhaustive reading of the work. As it stands, my family is in the process of preparing to move and as I’m busy packing boxes and running out and getting supplies to do that and making arrangements and still trying to make time for my wife and my own personal reading, it can be difficult to do this. I did briefly examine the document to see where it was going overall and what I thought.

I was pleased to see first off that a response has been put out and it is a response emphasizing reason. I do agree that the new atheists give the implication that if one is a disbeliever in God, then one is ipso facto automatically reasonable. The reality is I’ve met far too many who are atheists who are in fact quite unreasonable.

I was also pleased to see that several issues were addressed in the work. There were sections that could be found on faith and science as well as sections on the problem of evil, the question of slavery, and the conquest of the Canaanites. Many will be pleased to see that someone of the caliber of Craig in fact has added his work to this volume.

For that, I do commend the authors. I believe this is a fine step forward in the dialogue unlike what we usually see from the new atheist side. The writers have actually taken what the new atheists have said and they have been in dialogue with it, which is different from the way new atheists handle evangelical works.

I would have however liked to have seen more arguments that I think get to the heart of the issue. I do not think it’s always best to argue against the conclusions of the new atheists but rather their methodology. What is their approach to study and research?

Here at Deeper Waters, for instance, I have already received questions about the Bible implying that I interpret it arbitrarily or depend on the Holy Spirit. The Bible is treated like an all-or-nothing game. Either it’s all literal and absurd, or it’s all metaphorical and thus irrelevant.

What would help is to have a section on how to read not just the Bible, but any piece of literature. Why? The way one reads the Bible is really the exact same way. It can only be different by degree due to difference in time, place, culture, and language. This would be akin to learning how to read Plutarch, Aristotle, or Sophocles.

If we could get past the hermeneutical question, I believe that would also deal with many other objections. The first question to ask is if the text really has any meaning. If it does, then what does it take to get to that meaning? Is it hard some times? Yep. That’s why there’s differences of opinion. If one wants truth, one will work at it.

This also comes with the study of historiography. I was pleased to see a chapter on the reliability of the NT, but i do not recall seeing in there a central question. Many new atheists deny even the existence of a historical Jesus. Forget denying the miracles and the resurrection, which while false is more understandable. These believe that the whole story is a myth from start to finish.

Unfortunately, people who study historiography don’t take this seriously. Even Bart Ehrman is coming out with a book this month to argue that Jesus existed, probably because too many atheists have been asking him this question and some have even listed him as a source.

What needs to be done then is to show how history is to be properly done and this not in a way going all for or all against the events known as miracles. An atheist can still be an atheist while being open to miracles. He doesn’t have to have a dogmatic stance against them. Besides, we all know atheists don’t like dogma. Right?

As for the parts on evolution, I more and more think that the argument should not go on whether evolution is true or false, but rather evolution truly does make God superfluous. I was pleased to see that Tom Gilson in the work realizes that evolution and theism could both be true. Indeed, that is the glaring problem of Dawkins’s “The Blind Watchmaker.” I could grant all the evidence for evolution and that would still be a problem.

Thus, we do need to indeed go after the physics in studying what comes next, metaphysics. We need to establish our arguments on metaphysical reasoning. This is actually the version of the Kalam that I do consider the strongest. Many atheists think when I present Kalam that I’m presenting Craig’s formulation of it. Not at all. No offense to Craig. Craig I find to be a great mind and I’m glad he’s on our side, but I do not agree with all of his stances. I think the way it is for him is that you have to depend on the science largely to demonstrate that Kalam. Since I think science is inductive at best, I prefer to rely on the metaphysical which I consider to be deductive.

It is my concern that when we keep it where it is, we are letting the other side set the rules and then they will ask for scientific evidence. One cannot really do that. God is not in the subject matter of science since God by definition is not material. We need to start with the question of if science is the final arbiter of truth. To be fair, this is done in the book. While many atheists deny scientism with their hearts, with their lips they give full credit to it. It is hard to take their denial seriously when they keep asking for scientific evidence for everything.

These concerns do not go against the overall goodness. I also show these concerns to let atheists know something else. We have this great freedom in Christianity. We can think freely and disagree with one another. I can mention what is positive and what is negative without marrying my view to someone else. I don’t even agree with my own ministry partner on everything.

For those who are interested in the book, feel free to go to and ask about it. A link is included at the bottom.

In Christ,
Nick Peters