J.P. Moreland, 2008.
I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss my most recent book—The God Question. Let me explain a bit about why I am so passionate about it. In a way, it is my attempt to provide an alternative to the wave of books recently produced by the so-called New Atheists. But, in fact, it is much more than that. For at least twenty-five years, I have wanted a book like The God Question to give to that uncle or colleague at work who is critical of religion and who rejects Christianity out of hand. The book’s primary audience is a non-Christian who is willing to give a fair hearing to the other side, though the book would be of use to a follower of Jesus who needs refreshment and new life in the journey he or she has already begun. Regarding the non-Christian reader, the three books that usually come to mind for such a person is Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Strobel’s The Case for Christ and McDowell’s More than a Carpenter. These books are classics and in no way would I place my book in their league. Still, their shortcoming is that they are entirely of an apologetical nature.
In contrast, The God Question locates three chapters that present the case for Christianity against the broader backdrop of the reader being in his/her own journey and not succeeding like he/she would like. So the first two chapters surface the fact that we Westerners are depressed and lack happiness to a degree never seen before. They also provide a cultural analysis as to why this is so with special emphasis on my claim that it is the secularization of our culture and the loss of confidence in the truth and knowability of a biblical worldview that lies at the root of modern and postmodern angst. I ask the reader to give me a chance to talk him/her through this crisis, to feel its impact, and to listen with fresh ears to an ancient solution to the personal and cultural crisis all around us. I then present four chapters in conversational style explaining why I think God exists, Christianity is true, and how it has impacted my own life and thought.
Chapters six through ten say, in effect, that given the truth of Christianity, here is how one can enlist as an apprentice of the Lord Jesus, become His disciple, and enter Kingdom life without being religious or becoming like the many religious stereotypes all around us. I offer my understanding of the essence of the Christian life and explain that it is an invitation to a great adventure, a cosmic drama in which we get to play a role. In chapter six I offer an invitation and a prayer to trust Christ as Savior and Lord and launch the journey from there. I believe the materials in these chapters are fresh, new, and I hope, helpful insights about living a life of discipleship.
In chapter eleven, I argue that life after death is real, defend the reality and intelligibility of hell, and urge the reader to take seriously Jesus’ invitation to life forever as His own. Thus, while I do, indeed, present my case for Christianity, it is offered in the context of living life flourishingly and richly. I believe that such a book has been needed, that there is an absence of works that combine readable, conversational apologetics with broader personal, life issues with a view to developing the reader into a growing disciple. I hope you enjoy it and, more importantly, give it to an unbeliever.
J. P. Moreland