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Intellectuals Don’t Need God and Other Modern Myths

For people who are not convinced by the arguments of classical, rationalistic apologetics, for people who feel that Christianity must have a broader appeal than to reason alone if it is to be persuasive. Alister McGrath shows convincingly that reason is only one of many possible points of contact with the Gospel. In today’s world, nonrational concerns — such as a sense that life lacks focus, an unconscious fear of death, a deep sense of longing for something unknown we don’t have but know we need — are much more effective points of contact for apologetics. In this book, Dr. McGrath (who is both a theologian and a scientist with a Ph.D. in microbiology) combines the clarity of a brilliant scientific mind with a deep commitment to Christ and to reaching non-Christians. Intellectuals Don’t Need God is for anyone who has questions about the validity of Christianity as well as for students, pastors, and lay leaders. Anyone who works with students and young people especially needs to read this book. As McGrath says, “apologetics is not about winning arguments — it is about bringing people to Christ.”

Table of Contents

    • Contents
    • Introduction
  • Part 1: CREATING OPENINGS FOR FAITH
    • 1. The Theological Foundations of Effective Apologetics
    • A. Apologetics Is Grounded in the Doctrines of Creation and Redemption
    • B. Apologetics Is Grounded in God’s Ability to Communicate Himself Through Human Language
    • C. Apologetics Is Theologically Informed
    • D. Apologetics Addresses Itself to Specific Audiences
    • 2. Points of Contact
    • A. A Sense of Unsatisfied Longing
    • B. Human Rationality
    • C. The Ordering of the World
    • D. Human Morality
    • E. Existential Anxiety and Alienation
    • F. Awareness of Finitude and Mortality
    • G. The Point of Contact and Evangelistic Preaching
    • 3. From Assent to Commitment
    • A. The Nature of Faith
    • B. Apologetics Does Not Create Faith
    • C. The Limitations of Apologetics
    • D. The Point of Contact as Point of Departure
    • E. The Decision to Believe
  • Part 2: OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO FAITH
    • 4. What Keeps People from Becoming Christians
    • A. Intellectual Barriers to Faith
    • B. The Historical Associations of Christianity
    • C. The Problem of Relevance
    • D. Misunderstandings of the Nature of Christianity
    • E. The Hunger for Absolute Certainty
    • F. Prior Commitment to Another Belief System
    • G. The Problem of Personal Integrity
    • H. A Sense of Guilt or Inadequacy
    • 5. Intellectual Barriers to Faith
    • A. God as Wish Fulfillment?
    • B. Suffering
    • C. Religious Pluralism
    • D. The Resurrection
    • E. The Divinity of Christ
    • F. Sin and Salvation
    • 6. A Clash of Worldviews
    • A. Enlightenment Rationalism
    • B. Marxism
    • C. Scientific Materialism
    • D. Feminism
    • E. Postmodernism
    • F. The New Age
  • Part 3: APOLOGETICS IN ACTION
    • 7. From Textbookto Real Life
    • A. Apologetics as Dialogue
    • B. Apologetics and Preaching
    • C. The Appeal to the Imagination
    • D. Apologetics and Literary Forms
    • E. The Appeal to Culture
    • F. We Have Time for a Few Questions …
    • G. Concluding Remarks
    • Appendix A. The Point of Contact in Classical Evangelical Thought: John Calvin
    • Appendix B. A Critique of Presuppositionalism: Cornelius van Til
    • Notes
    • For Further Reading
    • Index