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Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian

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Conversations matter. Yet, recently, good conversations about faith have been increasingly squeezed out of the public sphere. Seeking to reopen the debate, Justin Brierley began to invite atheists and sceptics on to Premier Christian Radio to air arguments for and against the Christian faith. But how has ten years of discussion with atheists affected the presenter’s faith? Conversations matter. Yet, recently, good conversations about faith have been increasingly squeezed out of the public sphere. Seeking to reopen the debate, Justin Brierley began to invite atheists and sceptics on to Premier Christian Radio to air arguments for and against the Christian faith. But how has ten years of discussion with atheists affected the presenter’s faith? Reflecting on conversations with Richard Dawkins, Derren Brown and many more, Justin explains why he still finds Christianity the most compelling explanation for life, the universe and everything. And why, regardless of belief or background, we should all welcome the conversation.


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Conversations matter. Yet, recently, good conversations about faith have been increasingly squeezed out of the public sphere. Seeking to reopen the debate, Justin Brierley began to invite atheists and sceptics on to Premier Christian Radio to air arguments for and against the Christian faith. But how has ten years of discussion with atheists affected the presenter’s faith? Conversations matter. Yet, recently, good conversations about faith have been increasingly squeezed out of the public sphere. Seeking to reopen the debate, Justin Brierley began to invite atheists and sceptics on to Premier Christian Radio to air arguments for and against the Christian faith. But how has ten years of discussion with atheists affected the presenter’s faith? Reflecting on conversations with Richard Dawkins, Derren Brown and many more, Justin explains why he still finds Christianity the most compelling explanation for life, the universe and everything. And why, regardless of belief or background, we should all welcome the conversation.

30 review for Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rod Horncastle

    I just met this celebrity at the Apologetics Canada Conference March 2018. Gotta love funny British guys. My wife knew who he was -- I've never heard of him. Apparently he has a successful radio show and podcast offering called "Unbelievable?". I've now listened to about 10 episodes: they are nice and somewhat frustratingly entertaining. So I bought his book. The book is a rather short undertaking of his life and radio ministry. A good introduction is all. But he’s no theological giant or academic I just met this celebrity at the Apologetics Canada Conference March 2018. Gotta love funny British guys. My wife knew who he was -- I've never heard of him. Apparently he has a successful radio show and podcast offering called "Unbelievable?". I've now listened to about 10 episodes: they are nice and somewhat frustratingly entertaining. So I bought his book. The book is a rather short undertaking of his life and radio ministry. A good introduction is all. But he’s no theological giant or academic know-it-all, he's not even a Billy Graham or even slightly like the Pope. But he is an excellent moderator for debates with Atheists, Wiccans, Charismatics, New Age Crystal polishing Sophies, and a few Cult nutters. He's the non-combatant who wonderfully keeps the conversations flowing and reasonable. Here in the book he does a bit more than that - he shares what he thinks on numerous issues. Yes, he has an opinion and he's definitely a Bible believing Christian. (okay, after listening to over a 100 episodes of his show: he doesn’t appear to be a FULL Bible believing Christian- he’s very much slanting to the liberal, Arminian, N.T. Wright applauding, progressive social-issues Jesus follower). Sadly, the type that ignores huge parts of scripture. But I’d let him buy me some Starbucks. But he's just too nice. Is that a crime? Heck no. He's British after all. But so was 007 James Bond: and he let the bad guys have it. I don't have the book currently with me for examples and quotes (maybe later). But its lightly filled with examples of what keeps Justin a Christian. Indeed, he's observed arguments with the best the non-christian world has to offer intellectually --- and it's just not good enough to rip away his Jesus. You tried - you failed! He explains why: wonderfully and simply. I doubt this book will change many peoples minds. But it's worth a read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I found "Unbelievable?" by Justin Brierley an easy and approachable read. He begins with a chapter on his own faith journey and the origins of the Unbelievable? radio show. He then covers many of the major arguments for Christianity such as the argument from design, the argument from morality (including an interview with Richard Dawkins), and the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. He tackles the thorny issue of suffering with sensitivity. I think he is on the money in his closing chapter wh I found "Unbelievable?" by Justin Brierley an easy and approachable read. He begins with a chapter on his own faith journey and the origins of the Unbelievable? radio show. He then covers many of the major arguments for Christianity such as the argument from design, the argument from morality (including an interview with Richard Dawkins), and the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. He tackles the thorny issue of suffering with sensitivity. I think he is on the money in his closing chapter when he challenges the reader to experience Christianity as a lived reality rather than treat it as a philosophical exercise. I appreciated Justin's brief response to counterarguments in each section, although for someone seeking more 'meat' it may be a little light. For regular listeners to the podcast or those familiar with the arguments, the book won't contain anything new. That's not necessarily a bad thing. 'There is nothing new under the sun' and it's not designed to be a heavy philosophical tome, it's Justin's explanation of why he's still convinced by the arguments for Christianity. Justin is a radio host, not an apologist per se, so the subtitle is very apt, "Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian". As someone who has been constantly confronted by very good arguments for and against both faith and skepticism for over a decade, I think he brings something unique to the table and speaks into the issues with a rare authority. The book is eminently approachable and would make a great introduction for anyone exploring whether Christianity is true, whether Christian or non-Christian.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jacob O'connor

    My church has a disproportionate amount of talented preachers. As good as they are, I've noticed a trend. The better I like them, the longer I've known them, the more I trust them - the better their sermons get. The more I care about them, the more I care what they say. I feel the same way about Justin Brierley. I've been listening to his "Unbelievable" podcast for a few years. He's a warm, likable guy, and I appreciate how fair he is to his guests. Even the ones with whom he disagrees. Brierley My church has a disproportionate amount of talented preachers. As good as they are, I've noticed a trend. The better I like them, the longer I've known them, the more I trust them - the better their sermons get. The more I care about them, the more I care what they say. I feel the same way about Justin Brierley. I've been listening to his "Unbelievable" podcast for a few years. He's a warm, likable guy, and I appreciate how fair he is to his guests. Even the ones with whom he disagrees. Brierley is always the moderator, so I was intrigued when he wrote a book defending his own Christian convictions. Unbelievable the book makes good. It's a good introductory apologetic for faith. I recommend the book, but I especially recommend the podcast. Notes: 1. Evolution contradicts thermodynamics. Things don't go from less to more ordered (34) 2. Atheists subtly assume morality when they argue against it. (62)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Brady

    Justin Brierly, host of Premier Christian Radio's "Unbelievable?" in the UK, has just written a book titled "Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian." It's quite good, though it contains little we haven't heard on the radio program (or the podcast). So of course me and some of the other non-believers who hang out at the "Unbelievable?" forum are having a crack at a "Justin Response Book" in a manner inverse to the Christian response to Bart Ehrmann's "H Justin Brierly, host of Premier Christian Radio's "Unbelievable?" in the UK, has just written a book titled "Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian." It's quite good, though it contains little we haven't heard on the radio program (or the podcast). So of course me and some of the other non-believers who hang out at the "Unbelievable?" forum are having a crack at a "Justin Response Book" in a manner inverse to the Christian response to Bart Ehrmann's "How Jesus Became God: Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee." First, I had to read the book. Now comes the writing...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gideon Yutzy

    I read this all the while hearing Justin Brierly's polished voice narrating each sentence in my mind. Interesting background to the Unbelievable show and also he gives us a good model for dialogue between athiests and theists. I read this all the while hearing Justin Brierly's polished voice narrating each sentence in my mind. Interesting background to the Unbelievable show and also he gives us a good model for dialogue between athiests and theists.

  6. 4 out of 5

    J.J. Richardson

    This was great as an audio book. Such a format plays off of Justin's talents as a broadcaster and a story teller in a way that's inviting, engaging and comprehensible for the everyman. This was great as an audio book. Such a format plays off of Justin's talents as a broadcaster and a story teller in a way that's inviting, engaging and comprehensible for the everyman.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Gane

    Highly recommend if you’re looking for an intro to apologetics to recommend/dive into. Justin is always humble while still clearly presenting the reasons why after hearing the number of opinions he has heard, he still believes that Jesus is the way to true life with God and others.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This is a really well written, insightful and easy read. It's the sort of book a Christian or skeptic would enjoy because Justin engages with the types of questions people actually ask which makes it worthwhile, irrespective of your current standpoint. Some of the reading highlights were listening to Justin retell highlights from some of the debates he has overseen over the years, some of which I've since listened to since. This would be one of my top-5 books to give to a skeptical friend as it e This is a really well written, insightful and easy read. It's the sort of book a Christian or skeptic would enjoy because Justin engages with the types of questions people actually ask which makes it worthwhile, irrespective of your current standpoint. Some of the reading highlights were listening to Justin retell highlights from some of the debates he has overseen over the years, some of which I've since listened to since. This would be one of my top-5 books to give to a skeptical friend as it engages with a wide variety of topics. Hopefully, this won't be the last book Justin writes! Pick up a copy for yourself.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    What a brilliant book. Justin managed to broach so many topics while maintaining a warm, personable, intelligent, understandable and thought-provoking style. Some people may say that it's all been said before in the radio show but I am a regular listener and he managed to succinctly explain many things in clever new ways. It was a joy to read and I will be recommending this to my Christian and non-Christian friends alike. What a brilliant book. Justin managed to broach so many topics while maintaining a warm, personable, intelligent, understandable and thought-provoking style. Some people may say that it's all been said before in the radio show but I am a regular listener and he managed to succinctly explain many things in clever new ways. It was a joy to read and I will be recommending this to my Christian and non-Christian friends alike.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aidan McDonagh

    Great book. Measured, considered, balanced, simply put but also concisely written. I love seeing Christians who don’t bury their head in the sand while atheists decry their faith. The fact that he willingly welcomes, invites and engages with atheists of all kinds on his show displays a confidence not only that Christianity can take the heat but also that he is willing to intellectually engage with these big issues and objections to Christian faith or indeed theism in general. And this comes acro Great book. Measured, considered, balanced, simply put but also concisely written. I love seeing Christians who don’t bury their head in the sand while atheists decry their faith. The fact that he willingly welcomes, invites and engages with atheists of all kinds on his show displays a confidence not only that Christianity can take the heat but also that he is willing to intellectually engage with these big issues and objections to Christian faith or indeed theism in general. And this comes across loud and clear in this entertaining read. This is not a comprehensive explanation for every objection ever posed against Christianity; indeed, that was never the author’s intention. Instead it is a concise and brief overview of Justin’s personal faith story, his experience of hosting his radio show ‘Unbelievable?’ and some nice discussion of various important topics such as the origin of morality, evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the nature of suffering. As a Christian myself, I found this book to be a great introduction to the rational reasons for faith, and had much confidence restored in various aspects of my faith. Written with humility and courage, I would recommend this fantastic book to believers, non-believers and the many in between (as the Tim Keller quote says on the front!). Thank you, Justin, for your book and for all your work. God bless you.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Having been a semi-regular listener to the Unbelievable? podcast down the years, it was great to hear Justin's journey to bringing the show through to fruition, which he details in the opening chapter. The majority of the rest of the book summarises the best arguments for and against the existence of God, as well as the best arguments for and against the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and Justin does a wonderful job at summarising them with necessary brevity (to keep the book short) but a Having been a semi-regular listener to the Unbelievable? podcast down the years, it was great to hear Justin's journey to bringing the show through to fruition, which he details in the opening chapter. The majority of the rest of the book summarises the best arguments for and against the existence of God, as well as the best arguments for and against the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and Justin does a wonderful job at summarising them with necessary brevity (to keep the book short) but also in some depth. I particularly enjoyed the last chapter, where Justin moves the conversation on from head to heart. As those who have listened to the Unbelievable? show will know, Justin is an excellent broadcaster. He also writes very well indeed. Bravo, Justin.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tim Heath

    I found this book both easy to read (while tackling some heavy topics) and hard to put down, which is why I finished it in four days. Whether you are a believer or not, this book should be essential reading for anyone wanting to approach life’s biggest questions from a logical, truth seeking point of view. It really is that helpful. Highly recommended!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barak Fredrickson

    A fantastic read for Christians and those who aren’t Christians! It is well structured and logical, and doesn’t shy away from difficult questions. Highly recommend and definitely going to keep on my shelf for reference.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Christophe

    An Apologetics' Guide to Rebuttals I initially got exposed to Justin Brierly about a year ago when I listened to an ''Unbelievable?'' episode where Jordan B. Peterson was debating Susan Blackmore. During the cutscenes, he discussed the fact that his book had recently come out, a book titled ''Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian''. It picked my curiosity since I was an atheist and this book claimed to refute the very questions that based my worldview, An Apologetics' Guide to Rebuttals I initially got exposed to Justin Brierly about a year ago when I listened to an ''Unbelievable?'' episode where Jordan B. Peterson was debating Susan Blackmore. During the cutscenes, he discussed the fact that his book had recently come out, a book titled ''Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian''. It picked my curiosity since I was an atheist and this book claimed to refute the very questions that based my worldview, but I eventually forgot about the book and hadn't bought it before doing so. Fast-forward about a year later and I find myself revisiting that very podcast episode by browsing Peterson's podcasts. I initially was recommended the ''biblical lectures'' by Peterson by a Christian friend and eventually found myself coming back to the podcast. This time, armed with my Kindle E-Reader, when told once again about the existence of the book I didn't wait for much longer and bought it from Amazon. I started my reading by the end of August and finished it today, so it took approximately 1 month and almost a half for me to read it, which is kind of slow. The reasons for that slow read are what I'll get into and what ultimately led me to not give it 5 stars. Now, as I said, I was an atheist but was also open to the idea of my worldview being wrong since I was experiencing an existential crisis and my worldview wasn't contributing to my happiness anymore. So I was welcoming to the ideas of the book. As the chapters went on, the amount of evidence contributing to the case for christ, and god for that matter, was getting increasingly heavy and as time went on, it ended being more rational to believe in the existence of god than to hold onto my atheistic views. So, here I was, ready to make the move, ready to consider myself a Christian, but still, something was holding me back. Was it that more evidence was needed to convince me? Initially, I thought that was the case but as time went on, I realized that it wasn't what I needed. I needed my emotions to be appealed to. I didn't solely need to believe god's existence, I needed to FEEL god's existence. Ultimately, this book didn't allow me to get my feelings engaged in the way I had hoped it would. The book ended up being sort of a ''check-list'' containing rebuttals for atheist's arguments. Yes, I needed that; I needed to believe that Christianity was true and rational. But, paradoxically, as Brierley pointed out in the last chapter: ''...apologetics alone can never provide the whole picture in our search for faith. In the end, nobody gets argued into the kingdom of God. (Brierley, Justin. Unbelievable? (p. 196). SPCK. Édition du Kindle.)'' This leaves open the question: if one cannot be argued into the kingdom of God, what leads someone to the kingdom of God? This is essentially what was missing from the book. Ultimately, before finishing the book, I was recommended the movie ''The Case For Christ'' which is an adaption of Lee Strobel's quest to debunk Christianity which ended up making him become a Christian, and this is ultimately what gave me the emotional investment that was needed for me to say ''Yes, now I welcome God into my life''. But ultimately, Brierley's book couldn't give me this spark, and as the book went on, it got monotone and felt like a chore. That being said, initially, I loved the book since it addressed why Christianity made sense over Atheism and what the Christian rebuttals were for atheistic paradigms, but as the book went on, it didn't evolve and kept going on like a check-list of rebuttals for various areas of faith. Ultimately, as a guy who stands on science and evidence to believe what I believe, I didn't need to hear any more rebuttals past page 150 or even below that. I was fine with what had been said, the case for Christianity had been done and I hadn't anything to say. Now, I needed the emotional part of me to be invited into the mix, but unfortunately, it ended up not being appealed to. In conclusion, If I had been a Christian looking for ideas to reinforce my faith by allowing myself to stand my ground to atheistic arguments, that would have been the perfect book. But for Atheists looking for a book to allow them to make the switch to Christianity, if you're lacking evidence for a belief in God, then this book will help, but don't be surprised if by the end of it you're not saying ''Now that I've read this book, I'm welcoming God into my life'', because ultimately, as Brierley stated, arguments are not the pinnacle of conversion, they're merely a factor. There needs to be something more. To finally become a Christian, I was exposed to that ''something more'' through a movie and, wherever you go, I hope you'll find your ''something more'' too. 3/5

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aaro Keipi

    I'm a huge fan of the Unbelievable podcast and I contemplated buying this book for a while before I pulled the trigger. Now that I've finally read it, however, I feel a bit underwhelmed. This is essentially a broad overview of generic apologetic arguments with some interesting anecdotes thrown in. At the same time, it gives very little space to explaining legitimate atheistic arguments. This surprised me, considering Justin's exceptional moderation skills on the podcast. I expected this book to I'm a huge fan of the Unbelievable podcast and I contemplated buying this book for a while before I pulled the trigger. Now that I've finally read it, however, I feel a bit underwhelmed. This is essentially a broad overview of generic apologetic arguments with some interesting anecdotes thrown in. At the same time, it gives very little space to explaining legitimate atheistic arguments. This surprised me, considering Justin's exceptional moderation skills on the podcast. I expected this book to be more balanced, readily conceding to non-believers some of the ground in murky areas. Instead, it turns out to be quite a bit of an idealised one-sided read. Of course, considering the book's subtitle, this is perhaps understandable, but I feel that it ultimately weakens the impact of the arguments that Justin presents. It is like having only a Christian guest appearing on an episode of Unbelievable: you lose the back-and-forth aspects that make it compelling. I realised sometime during the reading process that what I hoped for from this book was not this type of rehashed Case for Christ overview of apologetics arguments, but a book of compelling behind-the-scenes stories about the guests of Unbelievable with some powerful insights thrown in. Hopefully his next book will be more along those lines. 🙂

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Taylor

    The book is a pleasant, but disappointing read. I am an avid listener to Justin's Unbelievable podcast and I was very keen to read his story and his account of the the first ten years of the show. In his opening chapter he encourages good dialogue between those with and without faith. A position I wholeheartedly agree with. It's why I listen to his show and why his show is the only religious show I make the effort to listen to. Unfortunately that's the only good thing I can say about the book. Just The book is a pleasant, but disappointing read. I am an avid listener to Justin's Unbelievable podcast and I was very keen to read his story and his account of the the first ten years of the show. In his opening chapter he encourages good dialogue between those with and without faith. A position I wholeheartedly agree with. It's why I listen to his show and why his show is the only religious show I make the effort to listen to. Unfortunately that's the only good thing I can say about the book. Justin maybe have spent ten years talking with atheists, but I fear he hasn't spent enough of those years listening to them. His book includes subjects which have been covered on his show and the criticisms that atheists have voiced in response have not been addressed. Justin repeats the same lines unaltered. Examples include: That Dice Video! - panned by astrophysicists, but still held up as though it made a valid point, it doesn't. The agnostic / atheist conflation - to be atheist is to be not a theist, it does not mean believing there is no god. Agnostic is not gnostic, which is a knowledge position, not a belief position. The discussion on objective moral values is riddled with subjective phrasing, which is amusingly ironic really.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This is a skilfully written book that makes the case for Christianity with great clarity, Brierley's skills no doubt honed by his years hosting debates between believers and atheists. It left me, a convinced Humanist, totally unmoved, but it's an important read for my fellow non-belieivers to help them understand where Christians are coming from, and why an obviously intelligent guy believes what we see as total rubbish. One clear conclusion that can be drawn is that it is nigh on impossible to This is a skilfully written book that makes the case for Christianity with great clarity, Brierley's skills no doubt honed by his years hosting debates between believers and atheists. It left me, a convinced Humanist, totally unmoved, but it's an important read for my fellow non-belieivers to help them understand where Christians are coming from, and why an obviously intelligent guy believes what we see as total rubbish. One clear conclusion that can be drawn is that it is nigh on impossible to argue a convinced Christian out of their belief, but nevertheless all Humanists and atheists need to understand and be able to counter the points made in the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Grooms

    I've listened to the Unbelievable? podcast for a few years, so I was excited to read Justin Brierley's book. At its core it is an apologetics book making the case for Christianity, but what sets it apart is Brierley's unique experience fielding hundreds of conversations between believers and nonbelievers making the best arguments for and against the faith. Brierley uses his experience to make his arguments with the fairness and respect that is characteristic of how he moderates the show. I've listened to the Unbelievable? podcast for a few years, so I was excited to read Justin Brierley's book. At its core it is an apologetics book making the case for Christianity, but what sets it apart is Brierley's unique experience fielding hundreds of conversations between believers and nonbelievers making the best arguments for and against the faith. Brierley uses his experience to make his arguments with the fairness and respect that is characteristic of how he moderates the show.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lars

    Justin Brierley adds a balanced, informed, personal, accessible and theologically sensible book to the apologetics genre. If you know someone who is, for whatever reason, just entering the conversation, this is definitely an appropriate place to begin.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    Excellent intellectual defense of why Christianity makes the most sense for people like me. Avoids the common pitfalls of many apologetics books, it left me more confident in my faith, but not all smug.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Curt Bailey

    I began listening to the Unbelievable? podcast about 9 months ago. Podcasts were new to me at the time, and this was one of the first awesome shows that I managed to stumble across. Since then, Unbelievable? (the radio show/podcast) has been very helpful in developing my faith and forcing me to reason through my beliefs. You can imagine my excitement then when I heard about Justin’s book. Justin Brierley is the moderator of the debates on his show, and he does a wonderful job. The number of philo I began listening to the Unbelievable? podcast about 9 months ago. Podcasts were new to me at the time, and this was one of the first awesome shows that I managed to stumble across. Since then, Unbelievable? (the radio show/podcast) has been very helpful in developing my faith and forcing me to reason through my beliefs. You can imagine my excitement then when I heard about Justin’s book. Justin Brierley is the moderator of the debates on his show, and he does a wonderful job. The number of philosophical discussions he’s been apart of is ridiculous. He knows how to reason through his Christianity in the midst of skepticism. Unbelievable? (the book) lives up to what you’d expect from a man of such a unique vocation. His reasons for the faith are well-defended and winsome. Justin readily acknowledges that his answers are not beyond criticism, but it is refreshing to see the effort that went into his defense. He clearly spells out why he believes in Christianity and thoroughly addresses common objections to the faith. His faith is backed by logic. I find Chapter 3, which deals with human value as evidence for the existence of God, to be very compelling. While some regard morality as merely a social construct, God seems to be the more convincing reason. Human beings are undeniably valuable but need an unchanging attribute to remain valuable. Bearing the image of God is the unchanging quality that gives humanity its inherent value. Without it, humanitarian efforts struggle to be worthwhile endeavors. Chapters 5 & 6 deal specifically with Jesus and the historical evidence concerning his life, death, and resurrection. Frankly, some of the opposing arguments concerning Jesus’ historical validity are completely irrational. They are akin to conspiracy theories conjured up on the internet to create intrigue, yet they lack any factual foundation. Justin does a great job of addressing these arguments and provides persuasive rationale for the resurrection. Chapter 7 is the final chapter that I’d like to address. It’s about the greatest objection to Christianity—suffering. How can a good and all powerful God allow the pain in our world? It’s perhaps the oldest skeptical question regarding Christianity. Justin readily acknowledges that but still attempts to defend his position. I admire that he doesn’t shy away from such a big issue. Because this is such a difficult issue though, it’s impossible to give a complete answer that’s both logically and emotionally appealing. However, Justin’s point about God redeeming pain to grow us is very poignant. I’ve been shaped into a stronger man through the mistakes and pain of my history. I wish I wouldn’t have failed in many ways, yet I wouldn’t trade my past because God has used it to transform my life. I also think about parents who raise a child with Down syndrome. I’ve met such families. Yes, there is a degree of pain in their life and the life of their child that I may never know. However, there is also an almost inexpressible joy that goes beyond the average human experience. It’s a joy that I may never know, but it comes with pain as a prerequisite. This isn’t to say that all pain clearly has benefits. Justin confesses that some people have been abused in horrible ways and that their pain is scarring. There also isn’t a definite answer of why God hasn’t made the human experience different—why doesn’t He intervene to make the human experience painless? The point is though, God is sovereign over pain. Whether that pushes you away or grants you comfort is ultimately up to you decide. You can also take comfort though in the new creation, a world with Jesus as King. In regards to the whole book, Unbelievable? truly is a good read. It’s intelligently written, thought-provoking, and sure to raise good discussion. I also appreciate the occasional British terminology and spellings as an American. It’s simply fun to read. Do yourself a favor and give this book a read! See what you can learn.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Rollo

    This might be my new favorite book to introduce Christians to apologetics. Brierley provides a winsome, charitable, and helpful argument for Christianity. I have a couple of issues with the book, which I will get to, but those, in my opinion, do not impugn the overall helpfulness of this book. The book begins with an appeal for charitable and civil conversations between atheists and Christians, and he is not simply knocking the angry atheists but challenging angry Christians as well. In fact, he This might be my new favorite book to introduce Christians to apologetics. Brierley provides a winsome, charitable, and helpful argument for Christianity. I have a couple of issues with the book, which I will get to, but those, in my opinion, do not impugn the overall helpfulness of this book. The book begins with an appeal for charitable and civil conversations between atheists and Christians, and he is not simply knocking the angry atheists but challenging angry Christians as well. In fact, he says over and over again that most atheist he encountered on his radio program have been willing to listen when given a fair hearing as well. I think the first chapter about better conversations is one everyone needs to consider. Next, he takes what I think is the most helpful approach to apologetics with atheists/naturalists. He takes what I like to call (my name, not his, so if you do not like it, do not get on to Brierley) a worldview-exchange approach to apologetics. This is something I teach often in my context with students and church congregants: naturalists will not consider Christianity until a) they are showing that the worldview of naturalism does not fit reality and b) they are given a compelling vision of how the Christian worldview (story!) does. This is what Brierley does in a few stages. First, he argues for the explanatory power of the Christian worldview and the inadequacy of the naturalist worldview with three chapters, each representing a central part of our reality that needs explanation: human existence, human value, human purpose (or meaning). In my experience with atheists/naturalists, this is the best route to take when trying to commend Christianity and these are the three places I think we need to target as well, giving a compelling view of the Christian worldview (story). If I could update this section, I would only add one more chapter to it: human consciousness. I think that Thomas Nagel has done a good job critiquing naturalism on this point in his book "Mind and Cosmos" and then the Christian apologist simply needs to show how the God of Christianity endowing humans with consciousness is a better explanation of our reality. Then, Brierley goes directly next to the place we must go in all apologetics: Who is Jesus? That is the crucial question of Christianity, and Brierley makes this clear. All evangelism and apologetics must not get sidetracked by "red herring" arguments but must always bring it back to Jesus and His centrality. If one can convince a naturalist that theism is the best worldview to explain reality, then that only gets them to deism, until we make the argument for Jesus as the Son of God and His resurrection. Brierley does this in two very helpful chapters: one that answer the question "Who was Jesus?" and the other that looks at the evidence for His resurrection. Again, I think that is the best route to take when trying to commend Christianity to an atheist. We do not need to get caught up in finer points of doctrine like the Bible's view of homosexuality, creation, hard passages in the OT, etc. Those are important topics, but people can have errant views on them and still be a Christian. However, a person cannot be a naturalist and a Christian. A person cannot think Jesus is "just a good teacher" and be a Christian. We need to target those areas, pray that the Spirit will work in their hearts, and then if they become a Christian, let the Spirit work out the rest from there. Where Brierley goes next is into atheistic objections. This is where the book has some issues. His chapter on the problem of evil is a good idea, but his answer is not guided by Scripture, which is ironic since he says that sometimes when answering this question people argue for the God of philosophy; not the Bible. That is exactly what he does. The beginning of the chapter is helpful because he points out that everyone has to deal with this question, not just Christians. The atheist has to show why we can even ask the question, that is, why there is a universal definition of good that makes the question of evil and suffering even intelligible, which atheism cannot do. Yet, his answer to this is what some call a "free-will defense" of God. It is not surprising given his obvious indebtedness to William Lane Craig. I have great respect for Craig, but his arminian views takes him away from being biblical as well and in this direction. Basically, Brierley (and Craig) in wanting to show why an all powerful and good God would allow evil and suffering, take the route of sacrificing God's sovereignty and basically say that God's not actually in control of all things. This defense is a) not helpful for who can really trust or find hope in a God who is at least partially impotent when it comes to evil (either by will or by lack of power, Brierley does not explain which) and b) it is not biblical. Brierley does not really cite any Scripture but just assumes that God is not sovereign over this universe in every thing, even though this is the teaching of the Bible (e.g. Eph. 1:11). He does mention Calvinism (the Reformed tradition that understands God's sovereignty in all things) but simply dismisses it as something some people do not like. Again, this is ironic because Brierley says that some Christians defend a God of philosophy but not the biblical God, yet that is exactly what he does here, since the idea of a God that does not control all things is a humanist god; not the God of the Bible. However, this chapter being what it is, it is still helpful in the first section of it, and, again, it does not really detract, in my opinion, from the overall value of this book. If you want more helpful arguments for the problem of evil, I would recommend Stand to Reason's many helpful articles about it: https://www.str.org/search/problem%20.... He has a chapter about "atheist memes," which is generally very helpful and good. The only problem here is that he tries to deal with the problem of hell through annihilationism: the view that hell is not eternal punishment. He says it is more biblical, but he does not defend this statement. He also says it has a growing list of adherents, but he does not defend this one either. I believe he is wrong here and there are better ways to talk about hell and judgment. Yet, again, this is a minor flaw on an otherwise excellent book. His final chapter on living in the Christian story is helpful, especially when it notes the difference between having the right ideas and really trusting Christ. He also points out that we can make good apologetic arguments and even win in arguments, but if we do not commend Christ to people, we are not really doing the work of apologetics. Overall, I really, really recommend this book. Even if you disagree with me about the two flaws and agree with Brierley, I will not be incredibly concerned, for you can still be a valuable tool in the hands of God for the cause of Christianity, as Justin Brierley is. He has given us a fantastic book for apologetics, for it uses the method of targeting worldview and then taking people to Jesus, which I think is the best way to commend Christianity to a lost world.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book is on the whole well written and engaging - but varies in strength of argument and skins over many of the points Atheists may have liked to push more. The author seems to think that finishing chapters with one word answers (“God.” “Period.”) somehow makes his point unquestionable by the reader. Many of the arguments he makes in the book aren’t provided by the best example of a counter - understandable with a Christian bias but when I myself can think of better counters whilst reading it The book is on the whole well written and engaging - but varies in strength of argument and skins over many of the points Atheists may have liked to push more. The author seems to think that finishing chapters with one word answers (“God.” “Period.”) somehow makes his point unquestionable by the reader. Many of the arguments he makes in the book aren’t provided by the best example of a counter - understandable with a Christian bias but when I myself can think of better counters whilst reading it does emphasise that the author has cherry picked the bits from discussions that affirm his opinion the most. Of course this is the purpose of the book and so as a reader I shouldn’t be surprised but for someone who wants to see a balance of opinion - this isn’t the place. Many of the things discussed are very effectively countered (the multiverse theory) but then others (morality) seem to be glazed over from what I term “Christian glasses” - the lens of bias that Christians can’t avoid seeing everything in the world through. The moral counter of evolution is skimmed over as one of 5 counters the author seems worthy of only a brief paragraph. However, I believe this counter is far more powerful than that and the way the author deals with it is again seen through a particularly skewed lens. The chapter on Jesus as a historical figure is well written and well supported - that Jesus existed is a very difficult fact to counter. The author effectively shows both sides but ultimately to believe anything other than that the man existed is to call human history into question entirely. The chapter on the resurrection however is not so convincing, but does lead the reader to question things more than some of the earlier chapters (or certainly for me). Whilst the existence of pain hasn’t been one of my biggest arguments against Christianity it is for many atheists. The author addresses a number of the questions atheists has but ultimately doesn’t put forward a powerful counter and by the end of the chapter I was even more strong of the opinion that there isn’t a Christian God.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Luke Ellison

    I have listened to Justin's radio show and podcast, Unbelievable? for awhile now where he facilitates discussions primarily between Christians and skeptics. Justin is a Christian, but I am always amazed at how impartial he comes off in the show - you would hardly know he is a Christian! Anyways, I really respect Justin and decided that I would read his book in which he defends his Christian faith. I like Justin's approach to the book - he tries to consider the skeptics point of view and lays out I have listened to Justin's radio show and podcast, Unbelievable? for awhile now where he facilitates discussions primarily between Christians and skeptics. Justin is a Christian, but I am always amazed at how impartial he comes off in the show - you would hardly know he is a Christian! Anyways, I really respect Justin and decided that I would read his book in which he defends his Christian faith. I like Justin's approach to the book - he tries to consider the skeptics point of view and lays out the relevant arguments ranging from fine-tuning, morality, the resurrection, etc. and defends the proposition that, on balance, the cumulative case leads him to believe Christianity is true. I don't think he got as detailed in any of the arguments as he could have, and he frequently made conclusions that really surprised me - some part of me expected better from Justin. For example, in Chapter 4 Justin questions why we should believe that our thoughts can be trusted in a world where thoughts are just the collision of atoms in the brain? Really? Is it not possible that evolution has created beings that can process information about the real world, determined or not? Or in chapter 3 where Justin sympathizes with a story of a woman who converted to Christianity because she just couldn't believe that her love for her baby was simply just chemical reactions in the brain. Really? Justin even admits this line of reasoning to be less logical and a bit unscientific but that personal experiences and intuitions can provide explanations outside of science. Our intuitions and experiences can be a starting point but I think Justin is a bit too quick to jump to conclusions in this area. I like that Justin often quotes conversations he has had on his show, so you can go back and listen if you want to dive deeper into any given subject. Overall the book was interesting and easy to follow. It didn't offer anything new in terms of apologetics but it is a good summary of the major arguments people are using these days to support Christianity.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Msimone

    Brierly recounts the debates concerning the existence of God and the belief in Christianity issues in his dialectic conversations with atheists, sceptics and agnostics whom he has interviewed over the years on his weekly podcast series "unbelievable." This book is readable to the non-Christian, but more so to the Christian. Its interest for me rests in the author's énumération of the apologiste such as Stephen Law and Richard Dawkins, whose books are widely read by non-believers, and whose views Brierly recounts the debates concerning the existence of God and the belief in Christianity issues in his dialectic conversations with atheists, sceptics and agnostics whom he has interviewed over the years on his weekly podcast series "unbelievable." This book is readable to the non-Christian, but more so to the Christian. Its interest for me rests in the author's énumération of the apologiste such as Stephen Law and Richard Dawkins, whose books are widely read by non-believers, and whose views support a purely materialistic view of our universe, and dispute God as the best explanation of human value . The author describes apologetics through measured rational argument that does not alicante the reader with bombait. The book describes arguments aime to dicsount the historical veracity of the existence of Christ and of his ressurection. Further, the author responds to the atheist argument that a just, loving god would not allow suffering in the world with discussion about how there is a relationship of suffering to free will and the expérience of evil and suffering is a means for humans become closer to God. A Christian reading this book is already familiar with the author's arguments and would be strengthened by them, the sceptic would be influenced to read more of the Christian apologists such as C.S. Lewis, and the atheist would not be persuaded, yet might be influenced to reflect further on his own beliefs.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rejoy Thadathil

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’ve been a huge fan of the unbelievable? Podcast hosted by the author Justin Brierly and it was only obvious not to skip this book. The first few chapters was more a mix of older apologetics books such as More Than a Carpenter (Josh McDowell), Seeking Islam, Finding Jesus (Nabeel Qureshi), and Case for Christ (Lee Strobel). I loved reading the chapters where Justin takes on some of his guests he interviewed and defends as to what he thinks is right. I especially enjoyed his mention on Richard D I’ve been a huge fan of the unbelievable? Podcast hosted by the author Justin Brierly and it was only obvious not to skip this book. The first few chapters was more a mix of older apologetics books such as More Than a Carpenter (Josh McDowell), Seeking Islam, Finding Jesus (Nabeel Qureshi), and Case for Christ (Lee Strobel). I loved reading the chapters where Justin takes on some of his guests he interviewed and defends as to what he thinks is right. I especially enjoyed his mention on Richard Dawkins. I never thought Justin to be funny but this book changed my opinion. It is just amazing to know that his faith in the Lord only grew stronger despite moderating or debating with high profile humanists. My faith grew stronger in the Lord and I must thank him for that. What I enjoyed in this book was his take on some of very complicated matters such as heaven and hell and his view on that. This book is indeed a new flavor of what apologetics is and how one should disagree with humanists lovingly and yet not get perturbed in Christian ideologies. P.s - English is my 2nd language.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    Unbelievable? Is the Mere Christianity of our time. A book that uses arguments of the head not to win an empty argument but to pierce the heart of someone searching for God. I love apologetics books. I have read many. Mostly I read them for entertainment, because I am sick that way. I also enjoy hearing something unique in the field. However, most are written in and for the Christian echo chamber. Most are dry, one-sided, incomplete, and without nuance. Unbelievable? However is a predator for the Unbelievable? Is the Mere Christianity of our time. A book that uses arguments of the head not to win an empty argument but to pierce the heart of someone searching for God. I love apologetics books. I have read many. Mostly I read them for entertainment, because I am sick that way. I also enjoy hearing something unique in the field. However, most are written in and for the Christian echo chamber. Most are dry, one-sided, incomplete, and without nuance. Unbelievable? However is a predator for the reader’s heart. It is not written in nor for the Christian echo chamber, but rather a tool meant to be used by God to bring a genuine seeker closer to Jesus. Listening to the podcast that gave impetus to the book, Justin Brierley comes off as soft on Christianity. However, when he set aside his moderator hat in this book he would have made C.S. Lewis, his hero and mine, very proud. Both in the power of the content, and in the direct and smooth delivery. Instant Christian classic that again proves the amazing writing and thought of the British Christian literary tradition.

  28. 5 out of 5

    L.I.T. Tarassenko

    Good book. Not arguing much that is particularly new, however the author acknowledges that. What makes it more interesting is his years of experience moderating debates on his radio show/podcast between atheists and Christians, where he has had some some high-profile and/or heavyweight speakers on. Examples include Dawkins, Arif Ahmed, Bart Erhman, Derren Brown, Laurence Krauss (atheists); John Lennox, Alister McGrath, Gary Habermas, Andy Bannister, NT Wright (Christians) and more. This means that Good book. Not arguing much that is particularly new, however the author acknowledges that. What makes it more interesting is his years of experience moderating debates on his radio show/podcast between atheists and Christians, where he has had some some high-profile and/or heavyweight speakers on. Examples include Dawkins, Arif Ahmed, Bart Erhman, Derren Brown, Laurence Krauss (atheists); John Lennox, Alister McGrath, Gary Habermas, Andy Bannister, NT Wright (Christians) and more. This means that he is able to draw on lots of dialogues between these different thinkers, rather than just their own single point-of-view texts, which makes for compelling reading. It's also concise and elegantly written. I still think it misses out some things though (see my review of Tim Keller's 'The Reason for God').

  29. 4 out of 5

    HaleyFran

    The merits of Brierly’s work hinge on his succinct explanations of complex philosophical and scientific theories. The Moral Argument is nicely explained using various interview excerpts. You might not win a formal debate with every point in the book but you will familiarize yourself with enough concepts to have meaningful conversation about the existence of God and religion. I was particularly taken with his points regarding the historic case for Christ. I was not expecting such compelling ideas The merits of Brierly’s work hinge on his succinct explanations of complex philosophical and scientific theories. The Moral Argument is nicely explained using various interview excerpts. You might not win a formal debate with every point in the book but you will familiarize yourself with enough concepts to have meaningful conversation about the existence of God and religion. I was particularly taken with his points regarding the historic case for Christ. I was not expecting such compelling ideas. The apologetic arguments presented are simplified but not purposeless. They serve as a good survey of Christian philosophy, so that one can have talking points as well as foundational knowledge for deeper study in the field.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Samuel

    If you have spent much time listening to Unbelievable? Justin Brierley's radio show/podcast, then there may not be much new here, the topics he covers in the book are topics he has covered time and time again after 10 years of weekly conversations between Christians and non-Christians. But he does state that right up front, this is his taking the best arguments he has found in his 10 years of conducting conversations and ruminating why some are more compelling than others, and where he personall If you have spent much time listening to Unbelievable? Justin Brierley's radio show/podcast, then there may not be much new here, the topics he covers in the book are topics he has covered time and time again after 10 years of weekly conversations between Christians and non-Christians. But he does state that right up front, this is his taking the best arguments he has found in his 10 years of conducting conversations and ruminating why some are more compelling than others, and where he personally lands on the arguments. It is a great starting point into arguments for and against Christianity.

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