Apologetics Books I Have Read
Evaluating the "other side"

When I was younger, I considered myself a deist. Although I was never a member of any organized religion, and firmly rejected them even then, I still believed in the existence of a god who created the universe. This god may not necessarily have had that much interest in human affairs, but it was a god all the same.

For now, it is enough to say that a series of events in my life led me to question my belief in God. I ultimately decided that deism was not for me. Spiritually adrift, I traveled the Internet seeking something better, and happened to come across some webpages on atheism and secular humanism. (I do not even remember now which ones they were, though I believe they may possibly have been from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.) While reading these, I experienced a profound resonance, but I was not yet ready to commit my life to this new structure. As long as I was starting fresh, I decided, I might as well examine the available options.

For that reason, I sought out members of several major religious traditions (Muslim and Christian), explained my situation, and invited them to convert me. They tried and failed. Even knowing as little as I did, I could perceive the logical flaws in their arguments, and when I confronted them about these they became angry, defensive, and in one case broke off contact with me. It is little surprise that I ultimately chose to become an atheist.

Today, I like to consider myself, if not an expert debater, then at least an experienced amateur. I have been regularly sparring with Christian and other proselytizers ever since my deconversion, and I can say with confidence that there is no argument in their arsenal I have not heard or cannot deal with to my satisfaction. Nevertheless, I plan to continue debating them regularly for as long as I am an atheist, and answering whatever challenges they pose to me.

Why do I do this? It is because of one simple principle which I firmly hold to: The mark of an open mind is that it never cuts itself off from dissent. Only closed minds seek to avoid or shut out things that might prove upsetting to their beliefs. On the day I start dismissing any theist argument out of hand, no matter how many times I have heard it before, I will have no choice but to consider myself closed-minded, and no matter how justified it is, I do not want to think of myself that way. It is important to me that I can honestly say my mind has always remained open.

In that vein, I make an effort to regularly read books by apologists and others seeking to build a case for their faith, to evaluate their arguments and see how they hold up. While I don't expect to be convinced, one never knows. What follows, therefore, is a partial list of the books I have read from the "other side," along with some thoughts and brief reviews.

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