Tag Archives: a shot of faith (to the head)

Book Review: A Shot of Faith (to the Head)

117981746On the playground of ideas, twenty-first century Christians seem to get the worst of it. The bloody noses. The stolen milk money. The utter lack of confidence that comes with being unable to defend yourself from the bullies occupying swing, slide, and sandbox.

And little wonder, with cranky atheists like Sam Harris running around. Rather than get in a scuffle, many believers look for the nearest gopher hole and stuff themselves into it. They’ve been told the Christian faith is irrational, naive, and even dangerous – and judging from the way they react when challenged to “give an answer”, they almost believe it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

What if I told you (while doing my best Morpheus impression) that Christianity is neither irrational, naive, nor dangerous? What if I told you that atheists are the irrational ones? What if I told you their beliefs can’t withstand the keen examination they demand from others?

Well, after telling you, I’d hand you a copy of Mitch Stokes’ book, A Shot of Faith (to the Head). Then I’d say, Go get ’em, Tiger. And you’d waltz right back onto the playground equipped with your very own bully-proof vest.

A Shot of Faith is a great book that does three things extremely well. First, it engages with the reader in a challenging yet accessible way; second, it stresses the practical over the theoretical; third, it takes the offensive against atheism.

Accessible. Dr. Stokes is a wonderful teacher. Instead of indulging in a massive info-dump, he takes time to clearly and patiently articulate each point, neither coddling the reader nor overwhelming him. It’s a fine line to walk, but he does it beautifully.

Practical. The concepts and arguments you study in this book are meant to be used, not merely toyed with in the privacy of your own mind. These are weapons you’re dealing with, soldier. They are not intended to be collected like stamps and then shelved, to be admired another day. Grasp them tightly and get them dirty. You want to know these things, not just be familiar with them.

Taking the offensive. That the Christian faith is utterly defensible is something Stokes’ demonstrates repeatedly; but what he also makes clear is the fact that the atheist’s “faith” cannot be defended, and he equips readers to take advantage of that in several ways. This is an important aspect of apologetics which I think is often overlooked in our day. Believers shouldn’t rest content with dodging and parrying attacks – they should be attacking, too. The “pulling down of strongholds” mentioned in II Cor. 10:4 sounds like an offensive maneuver, wouldn’t you agree?

In conclusion, therefore: do yourself favor, buy this book, and let Dr. Stokes shoot you in the head. It’s really quite invigorating.

Like Most Tools

“Despite the failure of reason to single-handedly support our commonsense beliefs, the French revolutionaries still went right ahead and replaced Christian churches with temples to Reason. They built guillotines too. Reason is like most tools: helpful if used properly, dangerous if abused.” – Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith (To the Head) (p. 36)

On the Bookshelf XVII

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Anathem by Neal Stephenson
I’ve never read anything by Stephenson before, but I picked Anathem up for $1.99 in the Kindle store – which is a pretty good deal, considering the length of the book is well over 900 pages. I’ve barely started, but a family vacation is on the horizon, and you know what that means: lots of time in the car with nothing to do but read. Cool.
Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton by Kevin Belmont
Looking forward to this one: “You may be aware that G.K. Chesterton authored influential Christian biographies and apologetics. But you may not know the larger-than-life Gilbert Keith Chesterton himself – not yet.”
The Hole In Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung
Rev Kev for the win. That is all.
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
“A breath-taking epic, a magnificent adventure story, and an investigation into the true heroism and courage of the first Americans to conquer space.” My first encounter with Mr. Wolfe’s writing, and possibly one of the best non-fiction books I’ll read this year.
Metamorphoses by Ovid
If I’ve learned anything from this book – and I’ve learned quite a bit – it is that the pagan deities truly were a sorry bunch. (I’m reading the translation by Charles Martin.)
A Shot of Faith (To the Head) by Mitch Stokes
I’d anticipated reading this one ever since Douglas Wilson named it “Book of the Month” for May 2012. So far, it hasn’t disappointed. Stokes is a sharp and tremendously readable writer – he defends Christian belief, takes the offensive against atheism, and helps the reader build his own “arsenal” with which to confront the skeptics. Highly recommended.
The Little Black Book of Violence by Lawrence A. Kane and Chris Wilder
“A very cool yet frightening perspective on violence; a book where the dreams of heroism and adventure are acted upon with proper forethought and intellect.” Gotta love the title. Right? Right? Okay, maybe it’s a guy thing.

What’s on your bookshelf right now?