New Read: But is it Real?

As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and I am very lucky that my church has it’s own book club to help me with this. Back in June, we read and discussed Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey. After a break over the summer, we kicked things off again in September with this, But is it Real? by Christian apologist, Amy Orr-Ewing.

Is God real? God is just a psychological crutch. Why does God allow bad things to happen? I used to believe, but I’ve given it all up now. What about the spiritual experiences of other faiths? Are just five of the ten common questions, accusations and objections to the Christian faith, all directly taken from real-life situations, which Orr-Ewing seeks to answer in this book. Hoping the thoughts offered will help people to see what the Christian faith has to say amid all the pain, confusion and complexity of this life.

And Orr-Ewing is really coming from a strong place of knowledge to answer these big and often hard-hitting questions and issues, being the Curriculum Director for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. As well as speaking and lecturing on Christian apologetics all over the world. If, like me, you’ve heard of this apologetics malarkey, but aren’t sure exactly what it is: well it is a branch of Christian theology which focuses specifically on defending Christianity against objections. Throughout this book, Orr-Ewing’s knowledge and experience was evident as she spoke in a clear and confident style.

Each of the ten common questions, accusations and objections, are given its own chapter, each of which are broken down into several parts themselves. With this lay out, very similar to The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen, I found I was able to take my time and easily dip in and out of this book, which gave me plenty of time to think and reflect. While perhaps not the most in-depth book, I did think Orr-Ewing clearly described and discussed each objection and gave plenty of examples and other materials to support her arguments against it.

When my church’s book club group met to discuss this we agreed it didn’t really inspire or move us like previous reads have, however it is a very informative read which will be great to refer back to when faced with difficult questions of our own faith in the future. We also ended up going off on a tangent – due in-part to one member’s comment on Orr-Ewing’s reliance on scripture – to discussions on the validity of scripture and creationism vs evolution! Slightly random but very interesting all the same.

Overall, I thought But is it Real? was a short, concise and informative handbook on how to discuss and defend my Christian faith. It also made for an interesting starting point for our last book club meeting. Next we will be meeting up to discuss The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen and I have already started reading The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan for November. Good read.

Have you read this? Or anything else about Christian apologetics?

This was also book 8/10 for my 10 Books of Summer 2018 reading challenge.

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8 thoughts on “New Read: But is it Real?

  1. It sounds like you had a wide-ranging discussion and that is always a good sign at a reading group meeting. I would say that C S Lewis is the writer I identify with most on this topic, though the author who has influenced me more is Elizabeth Goudge with her novels. She makes living one’s faith real in the many aspects of life.

    1. Judy, I have read a few books by C. S. Lewis but I would love to read more, so I have asked our book club leader if we could have another one of his soon. Sadly I haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Goudge, however the more I hear about her, the more I think I need to!

  2. Although this does sound interesting, I have quite a few in-depth books of apologetics on my shelf already. (C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell, among others) I’m looking forward to the reviews of your next two church bookclub selections.

    I’ve just begun a book by Jonathan Merritt entitled Learning to Speak God from Scratch. I’m only about 50 pages in, but I already find it to be excellent. You might want to look at it as a future choice for your group.

    1. Kelly, there is no need to wait for my thoughts on my book club’s next read, The Return of the Prodigal Son, because I have already posted about it and the title of it at the end of this post is linked to my post 😀 And thank you for the recommendation, I will have to check Learning to Speak God from Scratch out.

      1. I realized that right after I hit “post”! 😉 It was following your review that I added it to my wish list.

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