The Dawkins Letters by David Robertson; published by Christian Focus; available from John Ritchie Ltd; 143 pages; price £4.99.
The author of The Dawkins Letters did not set out to write a rebuttal of Professor Richard Dawkins' much-publicised The God Delusion. In common with many Christians, he was deeply disturbed at the virulence of Dawkins' attack on those he considered deluded. Robertson's response was not to answer ferocity with ferocity, intolerance with intolerance, nor to drown out the opponent with louder, rather than sounder, arguments. The Publishers note that the author was appalled at the shallowness of arguments advanced against Dawkins and others of that ilk. As a result, Robertson wrote an open letter to Dawkins which was available only in his own locality. " somehow, (it) found its way onto Dawkins' website, where it generated the largest response, before or since." This spurred the author to write further letters.
The final letter of the series that comprises this little book of 144 pages is addressed to the reader. Entitled "Why believe?" it provides ten reasons he asks his readers to consider. He is open in his desire that they may lead the reader to seek God's face and His forgiveness. He writes with that worthy objective in view.
The ten letters that comprise the main thrust of the book deal with myths he seeks to debunk. They have intriguing titles, including The Myth of the Higher Consciousness, The Myth of Atheist Rationality and Tolerance, The Myth of the Cruel Old Testament God, and The Myth of the Immoral Bible. Each of these themes is dealt with from an unpretentious standpoint. He exposes the arrogance of much that Dawkins asserts without resorting to caricaturing him.
Unlike John Lennox's God's Undertaker, Robertson does not provide an index or reference his sources as carefully. He does discuss books and articles, some of which he recommends to his readers, but distracts the reader by including that discussion as a lengthy introduction to his "Why believe?" chapter. Most readers will find The Dawkins Letters a refreshingly gracious answer to the vicious attacks of Professor Dawkins.
God's Undertaker by John C Lennox; published by Lion; available from John Ritchie Ltd; 192 pages; price £8.99.
The unusual title of this 192-page paperback may not immediately reveal its purpose. Its focus is more evident in its sub-title; "Has Science Buried God?". Lennox observes that "the notion that there is an intelligent cause behind the universe, far from being recent, is as ancient as philosophy and religion themselves". The publication of Darwins's Origin of Species in 1859 was considered an attack on that fundamental belief. It was not the first such attack and did not go unopposed; its challenges were addressed by Samuel Wilberforce, a leading Anglican bishop, and scientists such as Lord Kelvin.
In the most public of ways Professor Richard Dawkins has poured out his virulent opposition to all who own there is a Creator and so in particular to all who by faith know a personal conscious relationship with that one Creator God, who has given us the faculties "to think, to speak, to read, to write, to do". John Lennox has taken issue with Dawkins and his philosophy in an equally public way. God's Undertaker is one part of his response to the often-intemperate assertions of Dawkins that there is no evidence-based proof that there is a God.
God's Undertaker does not treat the Biblical revelation of the great work of creation. Nonetheless, the author does not hide his faith in Christ. He follows the Pauline example of not always reasoning out of the Scriptures (Acts 17.2) but in certain circumstances from a standpoint that addresses the basis on which his opponents reason (cp. Acts 24.25). Lennox's careful reasoning does expose more than hairline cracks in the polished performances of those opponents. For some readers that careful reasoning will be demanding. However, unlike many works on the theme of God's Undertaker Lennox does not require of the reader a tolerance of large numbers or a knowledge of molecular biology.
As one would expect, the author's sources are carefully documented, and, although only a book of 192 pages, it includes a two-page index. God's Undertaker will reward a range of readers prepared to weigh the author's careful arguments.