Book Review: Disproving Christianity
by James Zimmerman
Disproving Christianity: Refuting the World’s Most Followed Religion, by David McAfee
96 pages, CreateSpace, ©2010
In Disproving Christianity, author David McAfee sets out to deftly, succinctly point out all the reasons why the Holy Bible can’t possibly be the word of a loving, all-knowing deity. And he does a respectable job.
McAfee begins right off (in the acknowledgments section, where it’s likely to be missed) by encouraging “everyone to question the things around them, even those they take for granted as being true, and never end the search for evidence.” Such a statement is likely to be well-received by even the dyed-in-the-wool variety of Christians. But no sooner does McAfee lure them in than he hits them with this next sentence: “No religion is worth killing or dying for.” That’s the style McAfee takes throughout his short text; he draws in his readers with reasonable, rational arguments, then points out why this leads, ultimately, to the conclusion that Christianity can’t possibly by ‘the truth.’
McAfee’s target audience is what he terms ‘cultural Christians,’ a term McAfee devised when he met a man who self-identified as ‘half Christian and half agnostic.’ This large group of individuals (McAfee claims) make up the bulk of Americans are those who neither know what it means to be Christians nor bother to follow the religion. They’ve simply been raised in a Christian tradition and, thus, as a matter of cultural association, identify as Christians.
McAfee spends the next four chapters offering brief, quick overviews of Christianity’s major failings, even breaking a few down into a step-by-step logical problem. For example, he breaks down the contradiction inherent in being in God’s love when another family member has been condemned by that same God. Then there are the bible’s many contradictions and absurd practices, a topic that covers two chapters.
Some of the arguments only work on certain denominations, however. When McAfee argues that the earth is older than the bible claims, many Christians would likely respond that the events of Genesis 1:1 transpired billions of years ago, and are thus in full agreement with modern science. Page 30 begins a discussion of the inconsistency of miracles today, but some denominations teach that their god performs no miracles today. And on page 35, McAfee notes that, while the bible claims man can not live more than 120 years, some people undoubtedly do. But, again, some Christians will reason that the scripture in question (Genesis 6:3) was referring, not to a limit on humans’ lifespan, but to the time remaining before god brought the Great Flood. Such arguments may be sufficient to cause some cultural Christians to close the book and feel that McAfee doesn’t disprove their religion. But it’s a credit to the author that he includes as many points as he can in his short text so as to find something that will get Christians of every flavor to stop and rethink their ‘cultural’ identity.
Disproving Christianity doesn’t go into much detail on any of its dozens of arguments. But neither is it meant to. At $14.99 (on Amazon.com ) and a mere 81 pages of print, it is, as the final paragraph says, a “pocket guide to the refutation of Christianity.” McAfee closes with a plea to only believe in things which we first properly understand, and his little book is ideally suited to help cultural Christians. After all, a Christian who is turned off by the sarcasm of William Hopper’s Heathen’s Guide to World Religions, the passion of Dawkins’ The God Delusion or the exhaustive depth of Mike Davis’ Atheist’s Bible Companion to the New Testament (all books reviewed in previous issues of the Minnesota Atheist), are more likely to pick up Disproving Christianity, which makes a point of being polite and respectful. I suggest leaving it out on your table when your culturally Christian relatives stop by.