‘It is not easy to turn away from an established position of atheism, but honesty requires it and God will help you if you are willing’ (p.26). With this aim in mind, Roger Carswell puts forward what he considers to be ‘the evidence that God is real’ (p.6).
Believers may have their convictions concerning God’s reality bolstered here. Thoughtful non-Christians or Christless theists might be nudged in a good direction.
But Carswell by his own admission is actually aiming at the ‘established atheist’. I am not convinced that this booklet would cut any ice with such a person – or even whether it goes about trying to do so in the right way.
Things don’t start well. Branding an established atheist ‘dishonest’ before they’re even past the title page, does not, in my experience, do a great deal for getting you a fair hearing. Carswell justifies this apparently ‘harsh’ phrase (his word) by suggesting that scepticism about God’s existence may be flawed, seeing that ‘Christians … have a knowledge of God that is certain’ (p.6). Is such bald assertion really our best apologetic?
The booklet continues in a similar vein. Too often, the atheist is expected simply to capitulate to the standard arguments from design, conscience, Christ, etc., without much reasoning that really gets into his unenlightened shoes.
There is a power in the ‘bare’ Word to save the hardest of Dawkins’ disciples. But cannot we also take at least some thought-through steps back into the world of the ‘established atheist’ and produce material that will be nuanced and rigorous enough to challenge their own presuppositions?