I received The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw: Exposing Conflicting Beliefs by Norman Geisler and Daniel McCoy as part of the Baker Books Bloggers program. The book is 157 pages of text and 20 pages of endnotes, making it a non-intimidating read but also providing enough research materials for those who wish to dig in deeper.
Overall, the book was well written and maintained a readability for anyone who has at least a basic background in apologetics and apologetic philosophical arguments. For someone without that background, these book would likely prove to be a tough and possibly confusing read the first time through.
One of the strengths of the book is that that authors lay out their thesis in the introduction as a road map for the reader. The road map is helpful because without reading the introduction, the reader may be confused as to why these Christian authors are spending the first half of the book making such an excellent case for accepting atheism due to “the problem of moral evil.”
They lay out quote after quote form prominent atheists deriding the Christian belief in God due to moral evil, human autonomy, submission, favor, death, faith, guilt, rules, punishment, pardon, Hell and Heaven. Geisler and McCoy spend 100 pages presenting the case for atheism while only hinting at how they will deconstruct these arguments.
Of course, if the reader does not read the introduction, it will not take long for them to be confused and likely disappointed in the book. If that reader keeps on going, they will finally catch a breath of fresh air at chapter 8: Inconsistencies. After a multitude of pages attempting to prove that they are not trying to make a straw-man argument, the authors quickly expose the doublethink (“holding two contradictory belief’s in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them” p 1) flaw of the atheist argument based upon the problem of moral evil.
The final 50 pages of the book hold the key arguments are are the true meat of the book. Page 129 shine as the book points out that “as is the case with all ten of these so-called problems [submission, etc]…is decidedly not the interventions themselves; the problem seems to be not merely aggravated but basically caused by the fact that God proposes them. These ten things are fine in themselves [to the atheist writers].”
And again on page 145, “The atheist’s position is a fascinating one. Simultaneously, he hold that evil needs divine interventions and yet that divine interventions are evil. All the while, these very types of interventions are absolved on the societal level. So, on the one hand, the atheist makes clear that the interventions are not evil in themselves. Yet when from God, these interventions threaten the atheist…In the end, the atheist is against neither freedom nor the interventions, though he condemns God for employing both.”
These two quotes, admittedly, come far short of presenting the full weight and intricate, yet simple, case by Geisler and McCoy. To get that, you will have to read The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw.