Mar 29, 2010

The Making of an Atheist BOOK REVIEW

The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief by James S. Spiegel
A Backpack Truth Blog BOOK REVIEW

It's about time.

It's about time someone wrote a book like this for a time like this. With the army serving under the New Atheists generals growing everyday, we need a Biblical-based analysis of what makes them tick. Here it is; James Spiegel's The Making of an Atheist. Out of all the books by Christian authors that have come out responding to the New Atheists, this one by far will be the most insightful.

This one will also be the most annoying and offensive - to the New Atheists, that is. Although I have a feeling many Christians may not like parts of this book either, but why? Because so many Christians have a sub-biblical theology of man (and the effects of sin upon him) this book will seem outlandish to their sensibilities. Make no mistake, though, Spiegel's new book is thoroughly Biblical. It acts as an analysis of atheism; a biblical diagnosis of the problem, if you will.

The short version of it is that atheists are mentally ill - although I don't think Spiegel ever says that. It's true, however, that sin touches on and radically corrupts every aspect of the unregenerate man - this includes his mind. This means the reasoning faculties of the unsaved have been exposed to the corrosive acid that is sin and therefore can't think straight. This is what Reformed theologians have described as "the noetic effects of sin". This does not mean they are less intelligent; on the contrary.

All Spiegel has done is adopted the Biblical paradigm for such matters - the Bible says the fool says in his heart there is no God. How can Scripture call a person with a high IQ a fool? How did they get that way? These are the questions Spiegel deals with in the Making of an Atheist.

The essence of the matter is this: atheists are simply in moral rebellion against their Creator and therefore throw up an intellectual smokescreen in order to confuse the issue. At bottom, their problem with God is not that they don't know He exists - they do - but rather the demands His holiness makes upon us as creatures.

Atheists do not want their to be a moral lawgiver and judge because they want to make their own rules and be their own final authority. Romans 1 and 2 are prominent places in Scripture where this is discussed. Atheism then, is a facade; a psuedo-intellectual anti-God wall constructed by one under the sway of a self-induced deception.

If you are a Christian reading this and don't like how it sounds, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of Spiegel's book and read it. Keep an eye on his exegesis and the passages he uses as the foundation of his main thesis. Ask yourself if he is in keeping with the thrust of the passages.

I believe you will find that his work is a faithful reflection of the biblical diagnosis of atheism and there is really no need to get a second opinion. Tomorrow I will post some of my favorit quotes from the book so you can get a flavor for its overall tone.

Vocab Malone
Backpack Truth


  1. That's interresting that there is actually now a book about that. That's really good. It get's at the root of the issue. I can relate. As an unbeliever before 2004 I had an aetheistic worldview. And nothing angered me more than having to heed to God. Simply doing something I really didn't want to do. I remember that feeling of there being a God (in the back of my head) as I denied him with my lips.

  2. Larry,

    Here is a recent Facebook exchange I had w/a few atheists. It was about this book (in part) and I think it's a hilarious back-and-forth:

    Leigh Michaelieu:
    The Facts are in the Bible, the problem with Atheists is that they don't see the Uniqueness of the Bible and historic qualifications that sets it apart from any other book written ever.
    March 20 at 8:31pm

    Vocab Malone:
    no, leigh, the problem w/atheists is their moral rebellion against God and many of their arguments are merely exercises in psuedo-intellectual subterfuge ... oops, sorry, I let that one slip out ... he he
    March 20 at 9:42pm

    Eric Sophiea:
    I wish that all of the arguments about me were merely psuedo-intellectual subterfuge...
    March 21 at 1:34pm

    Omar David Call:
    Vocab, ad hominem? Or bulverism? I am certain you have met and/or come across some perfectly decent atheists who sincerely doubt the existence of YHWH, independent of intellectual subterfuges, pseudo or otherwise. Like me, for instance. I don't think I can morally rebel against him any more than you are morally rebelling against Shiva. I am interested to hear how you define "moral rebellion". I would guess that most atheists' doubts about gods are basically NON-intellectual.
    March 21 at 6:35pm

    Vocab Malone:
    Omar... on the serious tip, what I am saying is that if the Bible is true, then the ultimate cause of atheism is most certainly not an intellectual one.

    The Bible's diagnosis for atheism is that it results from the noetic effects of sin coupled w/a desire to dethrone the Creator-King w/something more manageable/likeable to the natural man - such as the self.

    There's a new book on this called THE MAKING OF AN ATHEIST by Jim Spiegel - you will find it highly offensive, guaranteed.
    March 22 at 2:24pm

    Omar David Call:
    Vocab, that's a big IF. What does that even mean, to say that it is "true" -- that every statement it makes is literally fact? You know full well that that is false, a mustard seed is not "smaller than all other seeds", as a simple example. (Matt 13:31-32)

    Does the Bible "diagnose" atheism? Pray tell where? The Bhagavad Gita diagnoses your reverence for YHWH as a misplaced worship of Krishna. (9:23) If the B.G. is TRUE, then you are wrong. Frankly, I don't really care how Hindus or Christians "diagnose" other beliefs or non-beliefs. I want to know how they validate their truth claims.

    I will look at your book, I thrive on offensivity.
    March 22 at 10:24pm


  3. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm already ready to start chapter four and so far, you guessed it, I think it's the worst one I've read so far. You might not believe it but most of his claims and arguments are just simply false...and I prove that undeniably. But you can look at my evidence and either accept it or deny it. When I'm done with the review feel free to give me your thoughts. Thanks again for stopping by.

  4. Cool ...
    we'll be looking for it ...
    in the meantime, here's my Top 10 quotes from the book:

  5. Well, I said I'd let you know when the review was finished so here you go!

  6. Thanks, AA ...

    Another local AZ blogger - Paul D. Adams - did a very unique review of this selfsame book here:

    Peep it ...

  7. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

  8. Thanks for the comment on my review. I'm always curious what theists have to say about my book reviews so if you'd like to argue any points I'd appreciate it. If there are any legit mistakes I can always edit it to make it better. Any thoughts?


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