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A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible – join me as I review the book

July 29, 2015

I have been just given a copy of John Dickson’s latest book, ‘A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible’ to review. The book has been nominated for 2015 Christian book of the year.

I’d like to walk through the book with real doubters and see how effective some of the arguments and descriptions actually are. I don’t plan on outlining the entire book or every argument outlined in the book (I don’t want to spoil the whole thing), but I did want to test its robustness and get some real “live” feedback. So I’m looking for some ‘doubters’ and skeptics to help me review the book.

John Dickson is one of Australia’s best known Christian communicators. He is the author of over a dozen book, a couple of television documentaries, a regular media commentator and frequent speaker. So he certainly has credentials to write a book to ‘doubters’.

So let’s start…

The Introduction

After reading the introduction an immediate question arises – who is this book for?

The cover says that the book is for ‘doubters’ and is for ‘skeptics’. Yet Dickson admits on page 11 that his book is more for the ignorant rather than the truly skeptical. What kind of doubter is Dickson aiming at? The one who doubts the Bible’s message because it seems to be false? Or the one who doubts the Bible’s message because they don’t really know what to make of it? It seems Dickson is aiming it at the second group i.e. those who doubt it because they don’t understand it. Perhaps that’s not really the type of doubter you are?

I’d be keen to know why you doubt.

Further he says that the book is not really an exercise in “apologetics” – the art of trying to prove the truth of the Bible – but a simple outline for curious doubters of what it might mean for life if the Bible happened to be true”.

I must confess I don’t quite understand what this means. Does Dickson suggest that the ‘truth’ of the Bible is unimportant? To my understanding of many skeptics they don’t believe the Bible because they don’t believe it is true (that raises lots of other questions about what would convince them that it is true), but I would think it fair to say that these ‘doubts’ arise because of truth. Hence if Dickson isn’t attempting to deal with these issues, I’m not quite sure that this type of doubter would be addressed?

Let the adventure begin…

Anyway, this book promises to be an adventure of sorts. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing what true skeptics make of A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible.

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