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Average customer rating:
3.0 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0801065119
Manufacturer : Baker Books|
Release data : September, 2004
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A Great Thinker, but a Not-So-Good Book Editor. Great IDEAS but Weak Overall Book Cohesion in Print.
I always enjoy author/preacher/speaker Ravi Zacharias on the radio, but I don't hear him broadcast on a regular basis, so I thought I would look into a few of his books, lately. I was going to give this one a 4 star rating, but since other (non-)readers have unfairly trashed his rating with a 1 star rating (and hateful comments which say nothing specific about this particular book), I will give this book the benefit of the doubt, with a 5 star rating (which it does deserve in spirit, if not delivery), but I do have constructive criticism about this book.
"Nothing, absolutely nothing, has a more direct bearing on the moral choices made by individuals or the purposes pursued by society than belief or disbelief in God." (page 21).
In this book, THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM, Ravi teaches us many things about the intellectual history, concepts, and people who have championed the cause of the devil: Atheism! I always feel better about intellectually (not emotionally) debating the pros and cons of faith versus atheism after being exposed to Ravi's thoughts, and this book is no exception. It is a good book, but not a great book.
This book gives a great overview of the famous people and major points made in the name of Atheism, as well as the individual and cultural ramifications of Atheism versus Faith, and Faith being defined exclusively, (and correctly) as JESUS CHRIST! Amen, that, Brother Ravi!
Without a belief in God, then life becomes meaningless and people become more and more corrupt and without conscience! The lack of a higher authority, God, makes people think they are their own highest authority on the planet, which has historically, and individually, been disasterous, self-destructive, and downright suicidal. Ravi explains why.
I thought THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM's overall flow of logic was a little unclear, on occasion, from chapter to chapter, though the points made on any given page are always pretty interesting.
After I read the two appendixes, I suddenly understood this book's overall construction better. I think these two appendixes would better serve the reader if they were in the front of the book. They work better as brief introductions to his overall thought process, and then the reader can better see were his points fit into his case, because we would have had the overall plan explained. In fact, in the Introduction, Ravi does mention to the reader to check out his two brief appendixes, but I think he should go ahead and just put them in front of the book, in my opinion. It would have helped me out.
I have read Ravi's 2006 autobiography book, in which he mentions that this book, THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM, and his other book, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, are his most popular books ever. I MUCH prefer DELIVER US FROM EVIL over this one. Ravi's best book is DELIVER US FROM EVIL. It is bettered organized than THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM, and it flows together to make a much better, more contained and defined point of view.
I have also read and enjoyed Ravi's 2006 autobiography book, EAST TO WEST: GOD IN THE SHADOWS, and found it more memorable and entertaining than THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM, but THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM has more important ammunition for defending the faith in a culture overrun by atheistic values run amok. THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM is more important to read, while EAST TO WEST: GOD IN THE SHADOWS is more casual and friendly.
I have also read his short, gift book, THE LAMB AND THE FUHRER, which I cannot recommend, sorry to say. That book is fiction, an imaginary conversation between Jesus and Hitler, which is an interesting concept, but Ravi's fiction writing is the weakest project that I have ever come across from Ravi Zacharias, so far.
I enjoy the weekly radio shows of Ravi Zacharias, where he explains Christian concepts from an in-depth, intellectually reasoned point of view. It always helps me become better equipped to defend the faith and to gently explain Christian concepts to non-believers. Actually, I think his radio ministry work is more consistent and more powerful than any of his books which I have read, so far. Radio is where Ravi excels, more than in books, but his books can be very good, as well.
Has Ravi read Plato?
I have read 4 of Ravi's books now, and the primary argument of each one is that an atheist has no basis upon which to judge good or bad.
I am no expert on the subject, but my analysis is that Plato adequately debunks this notion. All of the dialogues deal with an abstract quality that humans can intuitively disguinsh. For instance if two people are running, one can intuitively know that one person runs faster or better than the other person.
This is the Greek notion of 'arete' or excellence. 'Good' to an ancient Greek was a person who possessed more of these abstract qualities from strength, speed, endurance, skill in a craft, compassion, humor and so on. A person can make moralistic evaluations based on what leads to more arete, each one being knowable to man through observation and reason.
A circumspect person realizes that being excellent at making money is counterbalanced by being excellent at showing compassion and thus any argument that atheism has no basis for rejecting selfish or destructive behavior seems deeply flawed to me.
An atheist that uses relativism to justify instantaneous gratification is as off base as a Christian who used the Bible to justify something like the Inquisition.
Ravi can see this distinction in the Christian but fails to see this distinction in the atheist.
I give Ravi's books 3 stars for his ability to make you think, but he continues to misunderstand the ancient Greeks. Other reviewers have noted that Ravi tends to tear down opposing arguments without making much of a positive argument for theism. Couple this with his incomplete view of the opposing argument, which is understandable for an apologist, and Ravi's conclusion doesn't have much left to stand on.
I would offer Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig as an entertaining overview on the ancient Greek notion of quality as an alternative point of view.
Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil gives examples of how Christianity inverts the value system of the ancient Greeks in a few places and I think some of the tensions within Christianity today are the result of these inversions. For instance, is it OK to be strong, rich and successful if it is the meek, poor and persecuted that are the blessed ones in the sermon on the mount?
Believing in God is for Weak and Stupid people
"One who doesn not believe in himself believes in God"
The burden of proof for God's existence falls on those who believe the unsubstantiated claim - this book answers nothing.