Book Review: What's So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza
With the recent onslaught of books written by atheists to attack Christianity, best selling author, Dinesh D'Souza has come back with a comprehensive response to them all in his newest book, What's So Great About Christianity And the rave reviews have been pouring in:
- "Dinesh you should be executed."
- "Go back to India you narrow-minded punk..."
- "...I want to punch him in the face."
- "Dinesh is far and away the dumbest human being on this planet."
- "Self-absorbed cretin."
- "...He is the quintessential little ugly deformed ...fascist nerd with a barren intellect and an even more [despicable] soul."
- "I hope you die..."
D'Souza's thoughtful response to some of these fans can be found on his blog, where he writes:
"A little secret about me: I enjoy this stuff. When I was editor of the Dartmouth Review we used to tell the deans that taking on our student newspaper was like wrestling with a pig: not only did it get everyone dirty, but the pig liked it!"1
So, what is it about Dinesh D'Souza that evokes such a passionate response from his critics? Anyone who has read his latest book, from either side of the atheist/theist debate, would understand these kinds of reactions. In fact, as D'Souza himself explains it, "It is impossible to remain neutral about these things."
In this 348-page response to the charges raised against Christianity, D'Souza takes on such current best sellers as God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, The End of Faith by Sam Harris, and God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger (some of which sound much like the comments written above). And he does it superbly.
D'Souza starts each of the 26 chapters by stating the case for atheism - giving their arguments against Christianity in their own words. The book is divided into eight parts, as follows:
In the "Future of Christianity" he shows how, at least globally, Christianity is on the rise which is why it has come under attack by the "brights" or modern atheists who are committed to saving us "from our self delusions." In "Christianity and the West" he discusses this modern prejudice against Christianity that is the very root and foundation of Western civilization. In "Christianity and Science" he responds to the atheistic mantra that the two are incompatible. In fact, he shows how, on the contrary, modern science owes much of what it is today to its Christian roots. In "The Argument from Design," D'Souza discusses how the latest scientific findings support the case for the existence of God. One note of caution – some readers may be disappointed that D'Souza leaves the possibility of theistic evolution open even though he goes on to destroy the arguments for Darwinian evolution. Please don't dismiss this book based on that one point.
In "Christianity and Philosophy," D'Souza is at peak stride as he discusses several of the most widely used philosophical arguments including Kant's Enlightenment Fallacy, Pascal's wager, and Hume's case against miracles. It is noteworthy that he answers Hume using his own philosophy. He goes on to show how, based on reason alone, one can prove that the religious view is the right one. In "Christianity and Suffering," he responds to the moral arguments that Christianity is evil by showing how exaggeration and revisionism is used in the often touted inquisition, crusades, and Salem witch trials, and then goes on to show how it is atheism through which came many of the mass murders of history (i.e. Communist China, Communist Russia, and Nazi Germany). In "Christianity and Morality" D'Souza explains how "morality is both natural and universal. It is discoverable without religion yet its source is ultimately divine." He counters Marx's statement that "religion is the opium of the people" by claiming that atheism is the opiate of the morally corrupt because it frees people up to live any way they please.
In the last section, "Christianity and You," D'Souza seeks to personalizes the Christian faith and what it can mean to the individual reader. He describes the uniqueness of Christianity and that, unlike any other religion, it is not about man keeping a set of laws but of God coming down to man's level. He gives a clear gospel presentation explaining that salvation is not based on man working his way to God (he can't), but on accepting Christ's sacrifice by faith. He ends by addressing unbelievers with open minds by giving several ways Christianity can improve our lives and asks, "How can Christianity change your life?"
D'Souza, whose previous works include What's So Great About America, and Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader is a former White House domestic policy analyst, and is currently the Rishwain Research Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He has been called one of the "top young public-policy makers in the country" by Investor's Business Daily, and "one of America's most influential conservative thinkers" by the New York Times Magazine.
I agree with Stanley Fish (author of How Milton Works) who wrote: "The great merit of this book is that it concedes nothing. Rather than engaging in the usual defensive ploys, D'Souza meets every anti-God argument head on and defeats it on its own terms. He subjects atheism and scientific materialism to sustained rigorous interrogation, and shows that their claims are empty and incoherent. Infinitely more sophisticated than the rants produced by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, What's So Great About Christianity leaves those atheist books in the dust."
What's So Great About Christianity is one of the most thorough apologetics books in defense of the faith that I have read in a long time. I highly recommend it to all honest seekers of truth, and to all believers interested in defending their faith or in answering the current attacks on Christianity in a thoughtful and reasonable way.
- Why My Critics Get So Hysterical, March 3, 2008.
Last Modified March 6, 2008