Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christ or Chaos by Dan DeWitt

Every perspective of reality contains an inherent narrative,” DeWitt writes. “Every worldview is a novel. Each has an author, a beginning and an end.” The question, he says, is not which story is most interesting but which one is actually true.

DeWitt supposes a discussion between Thomas and his friend since childhood, Zach. Thomas reevaluates his faith in light of Zach's comments. Zach is now an atheist, holding a great deal of resentment toward his religious past.

This book helps readers walk through an experience where faith and friendship are held in tension. Each chapter of the book focuses on an aspect of Christianity that would probably be discussed in such a dialog. The essential question is whether atheism can really explain the world we experience or not.

DeWitt writes about a number of topics. I liked his exploration of presuppositions. They are assumptions about reality that cannot be proved. They compose the ground upon which we build our worldview. For the atheist, DeWitt mentions eternal, impersonal, and mindless matter. Thomas goes back to Genesis to see if the atheist view provides a consistent explanation for creation and life, or if it is better explained by the Christian worldview. DeWitt reminds us that there are many theories about origins but there is no conclusive evidence that can prove any position.

Among other topics is that of dissonance. It is a psychological term for believing something to be true but experiencing the opposite. Our experience must match our belief system. Our human experience is a clue to reality, he suggests. Our deepest hopes can be fulfilled only by the gospel.

This would be a good book for those willing to enter into a dialog about belief, especially at the college level. It is not a academic in style but is more conversational and is therefore very readable. It's small size keeps it from seeming too intimidating to give to your atheist friend.

My rating: 4/5 stars. (Note: this book releases 1/31/2016.)

Dan DeWitt (PhD, Southern Seminary) is the dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses on worldview, philosophy, apologetics, and C. S. Lewis.

Crossway, 144 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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