. . . be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you . . .
—1 Peter 3:15
If you’re a Christian, and you read only one book about how to defend your faith, this is that book. It is the one book on apologetics whose guidance, advice, and recommendations will lead you to what is true.
In order to discern truth from falsity, you need a resisting opponent. In the martial arts, for example, if you want to figure out which techniques work and which do not, you will need to try them on someone who does not want them to work—in other words, someone who wants to win the fight. Resisting opponents act as correcting mechanisms, that is, as a way to keep your ideas about reality in check. Getting to the truth requires checking your beliefs mercilessly against reality.
How to Defend the Christian Faith is the ultimate resisting opponent for the Christian apologist. It is the titleholder in the Ultimate Apologist Championship. Take it down, and you will be the new belt holder. You will know that your ideas about reality actually correspond to reality and you will have arrived at truth.
Like John Loftus, I am a professional atheist. And like many Christians, I want to know what’s true. I do my best to have an open mind and sincerely consider ideas that do not comport with my understanding of reality, even entertaining those ideas that make me feel uncomfortable. If Christians have some truth I don’t know, I want to know what that is so that I can know it too.
Every year I speak about faith, God, and religion to thousands of people around the world. At every one of my events, Christian apologists attempt to publically deefend their Christian faith during the open question-and-answer sessions. After only a few minutes of back-and-forth questions their arguments always unravel—yet their conviction remains.
One lesson I’ve learned from these years of public engagements with Christian apologists is that the arguments they offer for their faith are not the reason they have faith. Arguments for God or for specific propositions within their religious tradition have nothing to do with why they believe. I know this because when I ask apologists, “If you were shown, to your satisfaction, that the argument you presented was untrue, would you still believe?” virtually every apologist, when pressed, replies, “Yes.” (And those who do not respond affirmatively claim it is impossible that their arguments could be untrue.) For Christian defenders of the faith, I have found that convictions masquerade as reasons, arguments do not anchor beliefs, and the public defense of faith-based assertions is among the most noble of virtues. If you’re a Christian reading this you may be different in this respect. You may be willing to follow the truth, no matter where it leads—which is, as Loftus argues, the only way to defend Christianity.
Thus for the Christian apologist reason and argument are charades. So too are the vociferous protestations that the core propositions in their faith tradition (the virgin birth, Christ’s crucifixion, the resurrection, etc.) are true. Truth is a casualty of faith. Dishonesty, insincerity, and self-deception germinate the moment one becomes an apologist. When one becomes convinced they have the truth they stop seeking the truth. As Bertrand Russell wrote, the will to find out is bartered for the wish to believe.
Enter John W. Loftus’ How to Defend the Christian Faith: A pointedly honest, forthright, and sincere way to approach a defense of Christianity. And Loftus, one of the world’s leading atheists, is uniquely qualified for this task. He was groomed by the who’s who of the top echelon of Christian apologists: William Lane Craig, James D. Strauss, Paul Feinberg, Stuart Hackett, Kenneth Kantzer (known as the dean of evangelicalism), Marc F. Greisbach (past President of the American Catholic Philosophical Association), and Ron Feenstra (Director of Doctoral Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary). How to Defend the Christian Faith is a desperately needed lifebuoy that can prevent both would-be and seasoned apologists from drowning in a sea of dangerous nonsense.
How to Defend the Christian Faith explains exactly how this can be accomplished. Such an ambitious task has never been undertaken from the perspective of someone who lacks belief, yet it is vital because so few Christian apologists actually know how to defend their faith to the informed doubter.
And because none of Christianity’s claims can be rationally derived based on the available evidence, persuasive defenders of the faith are necessary to ensure Christianity’s survival. This is because the truths of Christianity cannot be “reasoned to”—they cannot be derived absent messengers. Without apologists and proselytizers, Christianity would not survive a single generation. With How to Defend the Christian Faith, and because Christianity is on the decline in the West, Christians are paradoxically placed in the uncomfortable yet fortunate position of turning to an atheist to shackle them to the value of truth.
Yet Loftus does not whitewash the difficulty for potential apologists. How to Defend the Christian Faith is not a feel-good, self-congratulatory book that deceives believers into thinking they can easily persuade others—or themselves—that the hope they have is aligned with reality. Rather, it’s a call to honest self-reflection for lifelong seekers of truth, while providing methods and a roadmap for exactly how to proceed. In a crystal-clear, plainspoken style, he levels with apologists. As a former apologist, he’s done all the work. Loftus knows exactly what’s needed to defend Christianity, and he articulates arguments apologists must answer to achieve their ultimate goal: eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
From apologetical methods, to mechanisms for evaluating and adjudicating claims in the Christian faith tradition, to exploring what an unshakeable commitment to truth looks like, How to Defend the Christian Faith takes readers on the ultimate journey into Christianity. Even beyond becoming knowledgeable about how to defend core tenets of the Christian faith, reading and engaging with this book offers a unique opportunity to be honest and to know exactly what it means to argue for Christianity. (And much of what Loftus has to offer, especially as it relates to reason and rationality, is of value not just to Christians but also to atheists and anyone genuinely curious about finding out what’s true.)
How to Defend the Christian Faith is the Omega of literally thousands of years of intellectual history devoted to the defense of Christianity. It is the ultimate corrective mechanism for the Christian faith, and the definitive guide to Christian apologetics and for Christian apologists. You will never have to read another book about how to defend your faith—and, after reading this book, you may never want to.