February 11, 2015

Review: Stealing from God by Frank Turek

 Turek, Frank. Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case (NavPress, 2015), 270 pp.

Frank Turek's latest makes the case that atheists, in order to argue against the existence of God, actually rely on aspects of reality that depend upon God for their existence. "These aspects of reality," Turek says, "are so much part of our common sense that many atheists take them for granted. But they simply can't exist if atheism is true. Theism can explain them, but atheism cannot" (p. xviii). These aspects of reality include causality, reason, information and intentionality, morality, evil, and science (represented by the acrostic CRIMES).

Turek avoids a problem that seems to plague many contemporary apologists (particularly those who subscribe to Reformed theology)—that of dwelling too much on apologetic methodology. Rather than devote half the book or more to discussing apologetics, Turek gets right down to the business of actually doing apologetics.

In keeping with his classical approach to apologetics, Turek first argues for theism in general before turning his attention to Christianity in particular. He devotes one chapter to each subject, explaining how causality, reason, morality, etc. each depend on God for their existence. When atheists build their arguments on these presuppositions, Turek argues, they are inadvertently making the case for theism rather than against it, because their assumptions only make sense given a theistic worldview. After making his case for theism, Turek presents his "four-point case for mere Christianity" in chapter 7. He concludes in chapter 8 with a brief summary and a gospel presentation.

My only complaint is with Turek's answer to the problem of evil (pp. 129-139). When attempting to answer the question, "If God, why evil?", Turek assumes the libertarian view of free will before mounting a speculative, soul-making theodicy. Though there is some truth here, it is intermingled with error (particularly Turek's assumptions about the nature of free will). There is a better answer to this question, one which takes into account several biblical teachings ignored here (for a more biblical response to the problem of evil, I suggest that the reader consult The Grand Demonstration by Jay Adams). Though I believe Turek's answer to the problem of evil detracts from the book, readers of a different theological persuasion may disagree.

While Stealing from God doesn't offer anything new or groundbreaking, it is a a welcome addition to the growing field of popular apologetics and a fine example of the classical approach. Recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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