Rob Slane's previous book (although it does sit on our shelves), nor do I usually like the often cringe-worthy style of imaginary conversations in defending a point. However, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised and even gripped! Rob Slane is obviously a man who has walked the atheist walk and talked the talk. He knows the arguments inside out and is well placed to write on this topic. Not only that, he writes well.
So in the book we follow the conversation between an atheist (Alex) and a Christian who happen to be sitting together on a train and discover many similarities and many obvious differences between themselves. In this way we cover the main atheistic objections to Christianity:
Objection 1: If God exists, prove it
Objection 2: Science has disproved God
Objection 3: If God is so good, why does he allow evil?
Objection 4: You don't need to believe in God to be moral
Objection 5: What is truth?
Objection 6: Christianity is irrational
Objection 7: Religion is just a crutch for people who can't face reality
Objection 8: Nobody believes the Bible any more
Objection 9: Christianity has failed to fulfil its promises
Objection 10: Give me one good reason why I should believe what you believe
The topics range widely and we read discussion about Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin, from Epicurus and Francis Schaeffer to Bertrand Russell and his teapot. We consider the vulnerability of humanist ethical standards, the reality of living with no absolutes, the relativity of subjective truth and the irrationality of a purposeless universe. I found the book fascinating and informative without being too heavy. I would happily give the book to older children as well as adults; Christian, atheist or agnostic.
And by the way, the conversation style is so realistic I even admit to finding myself wondering what happened next to Alex and whether there will be a sequel!
A Christian and Unbeliever Discuss... Life the Universe and Everything. by Rob Slane, Day One Publications, £7