Preston Jones, ed., Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism and Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2006).
In this dialogue between historian, Preston Jones, and Bad Religion lead singer and Ph.D. in zoology, Greg Graffin, the reader will find the raw and real interaction of apologetics, rather than the prepared and formal stuff of academic debates. This has its positives and negatives. Negatively, since neither Preston nor Graffin have formal training in theology, philosophy or religion in general, many of the spoken and unspoken ground rules for this type of discussion are completely ignored. This means that questions raised are not addressed and fallacies committed are not confronted. It is clear that Graffin has no training in philosophy or theology, yet he speaks authoritatively of their shortcomings, failing to realize that most of what he says has no basis in the science, of which he is an expert, but is founded upon a philosophy of science which stands behind everything he says. Needless to say, his philosophy of science — a strong scientism claiming that the empirical method is the only way to have genuine knowledge — does not stand up to rational scrutiny and has been effectively criticized by J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig and others. Jones, also due to his lack of theological/apologetic training, misses key opportunities to address Graffin’s questions and criticisms of Christianity of which someone familiar to such a discussion would take advantage. Positively, however, because they are expert academics in their fields and very intelligent men in general, Jones and Graffin carry on a very stimulating conversation, it is engaging and interesting on every level. It is amazing that Graffin and Jones were able to carry out such a dialogue for so long via email and that such a haphazard style of communication lends itself to such a good book. In the end both faiths, Christianity and naturalism, are given a fair hearing in a way that will enlighten the reader to new insights regarding how apologetics works (and sometimes doesn’t work) in today’s world.