Friday, July 25, 2008

Book Review: Hard Questions, Real Answers by William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig offers some good answers to some of the strongest questions that can be posed to the Christian in Hard Questions, Real Answers. This is not a book that is geared for giving a quick response to common questions. Instead, Craig offers reasonable and thorough answers to seven hard questions.

Before delving into the questions, Craig’s introductory chapter deserves mention. In the same vein as J.P. Moreland’s Love Your God With All Your Mind, this introduction expresses the vital need for intellectual equipping for Christians today. Craig shows that much of today’s Church is intellectually neutral, and therefore, ineffective in its influence on society and culture. He appeals for a higher standard of excellence and scholarship.

The hard questions covered in the book include the topics of doubt, unanswered prayer, failure, suffering and evil, abortion, homosexuality, and the exclusivity of Christianity. Craig breaks down each issue and defines the “question” well – not simplifying or glossing over them. Where needed, the author lays out logical syllogisms. He also offers lists of supporting facts for each of the arguments involved. It can be said that Craig gives each question a careful and honest answer. The reader will not find a glib reply.

The chapter on failure was notable, as Craig uses his own experiences as talking points for his answers. This personal approach may be very effective for the reader dealing with these very issues. When dealing with the topic of suffering and failure, Craig spends two chapters unpacking the issues. Because it is such a weighty subject, the author first spends one chapter on the intellectual problem of evil; then a second on the emotional problem of evil. Although these answers may not satisfy everyone, they are honest, sensitive, and rational.

The chapters dealing with abortion and homosexuality are helpful in that the answers are presented from a Christian perspective, yet also provide good arguments that do not rely on scriptural premises. That is to say, if a Christian is talking to someone who rejects the Bible, the Christian can still make a strong case against abortion or homosexuality without reference to Biblical authority.

Finally, Craig spends the final chapter answering the question, “how can Christ be the only way?” In this closing section the author addresses religious pluralism, relativism, and truth. He does not spend this chapter making a case for Christianity. He simply uses this chapter to dismantle the problems with pluralism – opening the door for Christianity’s claims to be accepted.

Hard Questions, Real Answers does well to meet popular, tough questions with scholarly, substantial answers while staying readable. This would be an excellent book for those thinking about these serious issues.


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