Review of True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism

Leah Courtney
True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New AtheismTrue Reason is a collaboration of several prominent Christian thinkers and writers. It was written in response to the 2012 atheist-secularist Reason Rally. The authors look at the New Atheist claims that atheism is founded on reason and that religion- especially Christianity cannot be reasonable or rational.


The authors of True Reason do not shy away from using technical language or deep thought. But their line of thinking and writings are organized well to make it easy to read and understand. In the first chapter, Tom Gilson lays out the plan for the book divided into four main parts. This provides a framework for reading and understanding the thinking throughout the book.

When I was growing up in a Christian home and school and church, I was usually just taught to believe in God because He was true. There wasn't much of an emphasis on thought or reason. In fact, many of the adults and teachers didn't seem to want us to look too hard at science and deep thought in case it would sway us from the Truth. And so, for most of my growing up years, I thought that Christianity was on one side of a great divide with science and reason on the other. I was willing to accept this, but I knew many who grew up with me who couldn't accept that and so abandoned the faith of their youth because they wanted to be reasonable, rational, scientific people.

In more recent years I've come to realize that science and reason are not at all incompatible with Christianity. In fact one can be a great thinker and a great scientist and a Christian. True Reason helps to bring home this point and does it in a thoughtful and logical way.

There are many authors contributing to True Reason. In the first part of the book, thinkers William Lane Craig, Chuck Edwards, Carson Weitnauer, David Marshall, Lenny Esposito, and David Wood take a look at the works of prominent New Atheists and examine just how their reasoning is flawed. In the next section Peter Grice, Timothy McGrew, Samuel Youngs, and Sean McDowell are added to the collection of authors, and they consider how closely faith and reason are connected and take a look at the works of Christian thinkers and at the connection of science and Christianity. Then John DePoe and Randy Hardman look at the supposed contradiction between a good God and evil in the world and at the reliability of New Testament Scripture. In the last section Matthew Flannagan and Glenn Sunshine take a look at two topics that are often used to support the fact the Christianity is not reasonable- the accusation that God commanded genocide in the Old Testament and the charge that the Bible supports slavery.

The fact that there is a large collection of authors means that the topic can be approached by a variety of viewpoints. The different authors have different styles and focus on different things in their respective sections. Some writers were easier to read than others because of their styles, but all of them have a different contribution.

I appreciate the completeness of True Reason. The authors have done an excellent job dissecting the arguments of the New Atheists. They spend much time analyzing the logic and thought processes. And they do in a way that makes it easy to understand.

I think there can be two audiences who benefit from True Reason:
1. If an atheist thinker is truly willing to be open-minded and to discuss logical arguments and fallacies and reasonable thinking, I think he may be enlightened by reading True Reason. And he may understand the problems inherent in the thinking of these prominent New Atheist thinkers.
2. I think Christians can be strengthened in their faith by reading True Reason because they can understand that embracing faith in God does not mean that they have to abandon all reason.

I've enjoyed reading True Reason. I enjoy the well thought out arguments and the creative illustrations. I give this one 5 stars.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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