The Ultimate Truth-Seeker Challenge

by Luke Muehlhauser on January 14, 2010 in General Atheism,Resources

The Wall of Knowledge

The Wall of Knowledge

Phil Porvaznik, a self-proclaimed “amateur Catholic apologist,” has decided to take the Debunking Christianity Challenge put up by John Loftus:

I have a challenge for Christians. It’s a challenge few will take up… even though many expert Christian apologists have done it without a loss of faith. Other Christian thinkers… end up rejecting [their] former faith.

Do this. I’ll call this the Debunking Christianity challenge… Read up on all of the top Christian apologetics books and then [decide] in fairness to read all of the top skeptical books…

What are you afraid of? If your faith can withstand our arguments then you will be a better informed Christian with a much stronger faith. If your faith cannot withstand our arguments then your faith wasn’t worth having in the first place. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!

Phil has a page setup to track his progress and the effect of his journey on his own personal “Faith-O-Meter.”

I have a few words for Phil and those who might also like to try reading the best of both sides.

First, Phil is way too ambitious. Look at all the books on his list! He’s planning to start 2-4 new books every 2 weeks! Sure, some of these books are short and easy. But starting in April he plans to read, for example, Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism and Martin’s Atheism: A Philosophical Justification in the same week! And then two weeks later he’s going to add four more books to his plate, including Swinburne’s The Existence of God! What is he thinking? Those are long and difficult books that could require several months each of dedicated study.

Second, Phil plans to read too many crappy books. Seriously, I would just scrap all 20-or-so books of the New Atheism and their critics. They’re not worth it.

Third, Phil is a pretty cool dude for trying this. Obviously. I have no idea where he finds the time, but Phil is obviously a guy who cares whether or not his beliefs are true, and is willing to devote some serious thought to the formation of his own worldview.

So, what books would I recommend that people read if they want to seriously compare the rational merits of supernaturalism and naturalism, Christianity and atheism? I’ve made my own variation of Loftus’ Debunking Christianity Challenge, called The Ultimate Truth-Seeker Challenge

ultimate truth-seeker challenge

Here are my carefully chosen picks, in the order you should read them:


Introduction via a flurry of arguments

1. Guy P. Harrison – 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God (354 pages, beginner, skeptical)

2. Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli – Handbook of Christian Apologetics (406 pages, beginner, apologetic)

Intermediate cumulative cases

3. John Loftus & others – The Christian Delusion (385 pages, intermediate, skeptical)

4. William Lane Craig – Reasonable Faith (416 pages, intermediate, apologetic)

5. C. Stephan Layman – Letters to Doubting Thomas (240 pages, intermediate, apologetic)

6. John Loftus – Why I Became an Atheist (428 pages, intermediate, skeptical)

That Jesus guy

7. Greg Boyd & Paul Eddy – The Jesus Legend (480 pages, intermediate, apologetic)

8. Bart Ehrman – Jesus, Interrupted (304 pages, beginner, skeptical)

Comparing worldviews

9. Richard Carrier – Sense and Goodness Without God (444 pages, intermediate, skeptical)

10. J.P. Moreland & William Lane Craig – Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (653 pages, advanced, apologetic)

Getting serious now

11. Michael Martin – The Case Against Christianity (256 pages, advanced, skeptical)

12. J.P. Moreland – Scaling the Secular City (288 pages, advanced, apologetic)

13. Robin Le Poidevin – Arguing for Atheism (184, pages, advanced, skeptical)

14. James F. Sennett & others – In Defense of Natural Theology (336 pages, advanced, apologetic)

Is God a good explanation for the world?

15. Richard Swinburne – The Existence of God (376 pages, advanced, apologetic)

16. Gregory Dawes – Theism and Explanation (222 pages, advanced, skeptical)

The final slog

17. Nicholas Everitt – The Non-Existence of God (352 pages, advanced, skeptical)

18. J.L. Mackie - The Miracle of Theism (278 pages, advanced, skeptical)

19. Michael J. Murray & others – Reason for the Hope Within (429 pages, advanced, apologetic)

20. Michael Martin – Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (541 pages, advanced, skeptical)

21. Paul Copan & others – The Rationality of Theism (304 pages, advanced, apologetic)

22. Graham Oppy – Arguing About Gods (472 pages, advanced, skeptical)

23. William Lane Craig & others – The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (704 pages, advanced, apologetic)

24. Jordan Howard Sobel – Logic and Theism (676 pages, advanced, skeptical)

25. Alvin Plantinga – Warranted Christian Belief (528 pages, advanced, apologetic)


That gives 4,896 pages of skeptical literature and 5,160 pages of apologetic literature, and quite an intellectual journey! If anyone actually completed this project and studied each book closely, he could probably write and sell a book describing his journey! If someone did the whole project in one year, he or she could publish a book in the very popular “My Year Of…” genre.

So go for it! Take the Ultimate Truth-Seeker Challenge!

And if you do, please tell us all how it goes.

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Zak January 14, 2010 at 6:21 am

I agree that pretty much all the new atheist books can be tossed. Though, I really liked “Atheism Explained” and “CS Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion” (though, I am not sure if you would count those as NA or not).

In my opinion, some of the best “atheist books” aren’t even about atheism. “The Demon Haunted World”, for example, really helped show me the errors in thinking that so often exist within a religious framework. “Don’t Believe Everything You Think” is also fantastic. Every error in thinking that the author goes over can be applied to religion.


Leo XIII January 14, 2010 at 6:28 am

What about Pruss’ book on the PSR?


Greg January 14, 2010 at 6:54 am

I am a Christian preacher and am willing to try this. This past Sunday I preached on growth and knowledge. I actually encouraged the church to read the Koran and the book of Mormon. My question to the church was, “How do I (and we) know that Christianity is something that I (and we) have actively COME TO rather than passively being raised in it?”

As for the challenge, I appreciate your selection of books because my library is full of New Atheism which knock religion – not the foundation upon which religion lies.

My plan is to buy all the books in 2010, do the challenge in 2011 and probably take 2-3 years doing it. I have a document entitled ‘books to get’ and I have copied and pasted your list of books.


John D January 14, 2010 at 6:55 am

That’s an amazing photograph. Is it real? If so, where is it?


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 7:41 am


I haven’t considered those two books New Atheism books. In fact, both were actually on the list until they got cut in order to reduce the number on the list.


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 7:41 am


Pruss has a long chapter in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology on the PSR.


BJ Marshall January 14, 2010 at 7:43 am

I don’t see George Smith’s “Atheism: The Case Against God.” How would you rate that book?


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 7:43 am


Wow, that is quite a plan, but at least you’re more realistic than Phil. Kudos! I hope you keep up your motivation.

You should definitely keep a diary or something while doing it and then maybe write a book at the end of your journey. If you come out the other side a Christian, you will be a damned near invincible apologist, and if you come out the other end a naturalist, well, then you’ll only have lost what you believe then to be an illusion, and gained what you believe then to be reality.

Good luck!


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 7:44 am

John D,

Alas, no. It’s PhotoShop.


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 7:48 am


It’s a pretty good book, but it got cut at the last minute to whittle down the list.


Scott January 14, 2010 at 8:10 am

Interesting list. What is it about the New Atheists that annoys you so much? Which of their books do you find the most worthwhile or egregious?

I do agree with Zak that some of the best books for skepticism aren’t necessarily outright atheistic like these. I’d also put Hoffer’s “The True Believer” or Shermer’s “Why People Believe Weird Things” on the list. God-debates are an intersection of worldviews, and if you can’t make the other person understand yours, then it’ll be so much harder to get anywhere interesting.


Aeiluindae January 14, 2010 at 8:23 am

If I can find all the books on the list, I’m certainly going to try to get through it. I haven’t found many very good atheist books (the ones that are easy to find tend to be by New Atheists). This list is a good place to start. It shouldn’t take too long, depending on the writing styles.


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 8:26 am


I’m not sure the New Atheist books “annoy” me so much as disappoint me. Depends on my mood, I suppose. Right now I’m writing a series on Dawkins’ main argument, and later I’ll write some series about the other New Atheists.


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 8:28 am


That’s awesome. Please do keep us abreast of your progress, somehow!

Logic and Theism will take a long time. :)


Damian January 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

The thing about the so-called “new atheist” books is that they’re not a serious challenge to theism. However, that largely depends on the kind of theism that is in question. As we know, the God of people is often vastly different to that of the philosophers, as I have been reminded of on more than one occasion by people who laughed at the very suggestion that there are contradictions between the divine attributes, because “[their] God is much simpler that that”.

It would certainly be foolish to deny that the “new atheist” books have had more impact — admittedly, both positive and negative, though I would argue that they have been far more positive, as long as you recognize them for what they are — than virtually all of the books that Luke mentions, collectively. However, I do share some of Luke’s reservations, due to the fact that you are recommending something that you know is lacking in rigor, and which contains numerous errors of reasoning.

Although there is little convincing evidence, either way, there is certainly some evidence that they have persuaded a good number of people to at least consider their beliefs more seriously, and it is virtually unquestionable that they have brought the subject to a whole new audience, as well. That, in itself, is valuable, even if we are concerned by the less than stellar scholarship, because it at least offers some hope that people will then go on to explore the subject(s) more fully.

The TGD was admittedly my first foray in to reading about religion, philosophy, and even, to some extent, science. The mistake that some people make, I believe, is to take them too seriously, as if they are the pinnacle of atheist thought. I didn’t believe that at the time, even though I hadn’t read all of the other books that Luke mentions. Thankfully, I now have, and plenty more, besides.

By the way, Luke, I’m surprised that you haven’t included, “Nonbelief and Evil”, by Theodore Drange. It is one of the most forceful and relentless attacks on theism I have personally come across, and is the kind of example of careful and thorough argument that the “new atheist” books are not.


Robert Gressis January 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

Hi Luke,

Reason for the Hope Within is a great book, but I would designate it as intermediate. Certainly, that’s what the authors were going for!

I do have one problem with the list in general, though, and it’s that many of those advanced books are surveys of numerous topics rather than careful study of just one of them. Of course, they’re still wonderful books (e.g., Mackie’s, Sobel’s, and Oppy’s come to mind as great books that have massive sweeps). But it might be worth someone’s while to study particular topics in Christianity, e.g., books for and against the historicity of Christ (which you present), but also books about just the problem of evil (Daniel Howard-Snyder’s The Evidential Argument from Evil, Marilyn McCord Adams’s Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God and Peter van Inwagen’s The Problem of Evil are all really good books on just that topic).

Nevertheless, it’s a good list, and I admire anyone who gets through it in 2-3 years. In fact, I admire anyone who gets through Sobel’s book alone in 2-3 years.


Charles January 14, 2010 at 11:18 am

There should probably be a couple of books in there about origins. It was only after I understood evolution, that it became possible for me to disbelieve. Maybe not such a big deal for those in Europe, but in America…


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 11:24 am


Carrier’s book has quite a bit about origins, and some of the others have a bit, too. Yours is a good suggestion, but I wanted to keep the list as short as possible.


John D January 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm


That’s unfortunate. I’m going to have to build a library like that someday. Until then, the Long Room in Trinity College, Dublin is the pinnacle of library architecture.

Also, while I understand the need to keep the list at a manageable length, I think J.L Schellenberg’s The Wisdom to Doubt should be on there. It is excellent. Possibly my favourite sceptical book.


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I admit, I have a very hard time enjoying Schellenberg. I would rather read Sobel, even.


John D January 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I am going to do a bit about his free will arguments on my blog in the next couple of weeks. It might change your mind.


Charles January 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

All I can say is, ten pages in Carrier wouldn’t have been enough for me. I think people in the atheism/freethought community forget how far most Americans have to go.


Qohelet January 14, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Overall, a good list, though I’d agree with others with the questionable exclusion of Drange and Steele’s books. And I don’t know about Martin’s The Case Against Christianity. I feel historical-critical arguments against Christian doctrines are more persuasive than philosophical arguments. But that’s just me.


Jake de Backer January 14, 2010 at 5:45 pm


A while back I asked your opinion of Steele’s AE and you said you had yet to read it but it now appears you have, what were your thought?


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm


I’m sure you’re right! People are so misinformed about evolution and prehistory.


lukeprog January 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm


I skimmed over it to get a feel for it. Usually I can tell if a book is going to be of much value or not by skimming it. It looked promising to me.


Greg January 15, 2010 at 4:27 am


What are the titles of Drange and Steele’s books? Is “Nonbelief and Evil”, by Theodore Drange historical or philosophical in nature? And what historical argument books would you suggest?


Haukur January 15, 2010 at 4:54 am

And for his next adventure, the Ultimate Truth-Seeker is going to check into both types of music – country AND western.


Qohelet January 15, 2010 at 5:33 am

Drange’s book is definitely philosophical in nature. My quip about historical vs philosophical arguments is with regards to Michael Martin’s book The Case Against Christianity. Like I’ve said, I prefer historical-critical arguments when challenging Christian documents.

For instance, I would be more inclined to arguments against the Incarnation through biblical criticism rather than abstract reasoning. In other words, Bart Ehrman over Michael Martin.


Charles January 15, 2010 at 7:02 am

According to Luke, Ehrman’s arguement is full of holes.

Luke, do you know if his new one, “Jesus Interrupted” is any better?


lukeprog January 15, 2010 at 8:34 am


Yes, Jesus Interrupted is better. It’s basically all the stuff that ‘The Dishonest Church’ is about – the stuff that all seminary graduates know but have been hiding from the pew people.


Jonathan Boyd January 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

Luke, I read an interesting review of “Jesus Interrupted” by Ben Witherington a while ago here.

The review came to behind because of what we were recently discussing about the views of conservative scholars. I’m curious about whether Ehrman has had a large influence on your view of what scholars really think and whether or not the church is playing games with people?Given what you’ve just said about the stuff that all seminary graduates know but have been hiding from the pew people, I thought this be quite relevant:

‘Now it is always a danger to over generalize when we are dealing with as important a matter as the ‘truth about the Bible’. And frankly it is simply untrue to say that most scholars or the majority of Bible scholars or the majority of serious critical scholars would agree with Bart Ehrman in his conclusions about this or that NT matter. NT scholarship is a many splintered thing, and Ehrman’s position certainly does not represent a majority view, or the critical consensus about such matters. At best, one has to say yes and no repeatedly to what Bart takes as the critical consensus about such matters. Bart Ehrman, like the more radical members of the Jesus Seminar (e.g. Robert Funk cf. Robert Price) represents a minority position which has indeed been very vocal in proselytizing for their point of view. So this book should have come with a caveat emptor— “Buyer Beware: Hyperbolic claims about what most or the majority of critical scholars of the NT think will be frequent in this tome”. The appeal to authority or expertise in any case does not really settle much. The issue is—what is the evidence and why should we draw this or that conclusion?’

If you read the whole of Ben’s review, you’ll probably got a more complete answer to the issues that were being raised in the Challies letters – and from a scholar, no less.


Leo XIII January 15, 2010 at 9:29 am

lukeprog: Leo XIII,Pruss has a long chapter in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology on the PSR.  

You’re right, I forgot that one.

What is your opinion about cosmological arguments from contingency/ based on the PSR? It appears to me that you focus a lot on the kalam argument, while a couple of philosophers (like Pruss, Rasmussen) think the argument from contingency is much stronger.


lukeprog January 15, 2010 at 9:35 am


I haven’t had much time to research it yet.


Ryan January 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm

You should add “Letters to a doubting thomas” by C. Stephen Layman to the intermediate apologetic category. Seriously, as an atheist I find it the best apologetic book I’ve ever read.


lukeprog January 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Interesting. What did you like about it?


Conor Gilliland January 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I’m curious if you’ve read all of the books on your list in their entirety.


lukeprog January 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm


No, certainly not. Especially the last two.


Noophy January 16, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Well, I think I am going to try it. Provided I can get my library to order most of the books…


lukeprog January 16, 2010 at 6:29 pm


Keep us updated!


kilo papa January 17, 2010 at 1:12 am

I’m only familiar with Earl Doherty through his website, which I find impressive. Doherty has a new edition of his book arguing for a “heavenly” as opposed to a historical Jesus. I would be interested in knowing Lukes thoughts on Dohertys work.

Richard Carrier cites Doherty as an influence on his own view in regarding Jesus as likely non historical.


lukeprog January 17, 2010 at 8:35 am

kilo papa,

I find the mythical Christ theory more plausible than most scholars, but I haven’t read Doherty’s book.


Noophy January 18, 2010 at 10:09 am

Will do Luke. I just got notice from my library, looks like they will be ordering most of the first books in the list. Did not ask for any of the last ones yet.


Noophy January 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm

I’ve got things rolling and have committed. A friend suggested a couple more books, and I was just wondering if you had read them and if/where you would put them in the list?
Alain Badiou’s “Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism” and Slavoj Zizek’s “The Puppet and the Dwarf”


lukeprog January 20, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I’ve read Zizek. He’s a continental philosopher, so if you’re looking for arguments, you won’t find any in The Puppet and the Dwarf.


John W. Loftus January 25, 2010 at 9:58 am

This is a great list of books but *ahem* I can’t but wonder why you didn’t suggest “the best atheist book of the last decade”? Still, people should read both sides, and for that I’m grateful for this challenge, even if it’s not the Official Debunking Christianity Challenge. ;-) I kept my list of ten books on a college level since that’s the biggest audience out there and the most likely to take the challenge.

And I only included one philosophical book on my list, Everitt’s book. Maybe I’ll write a post on why, although I can say it in a nutshell here. Believers will typically say that those arguments never made them change their minds. I was heavily immersed in them myself at one time and admitted as a believer that at best those arguments were a wash. What tipped the scales for me to continue believing was the so-called evidence in the Bible, the resurrection, and so forth. So based upon my experience as a former apologist I don’t focus on those arguments at all much anymore, just enough to show that these arguments have problems. We must give believers a reason to doubt their experience and doubt the Bible as God’s word. It’s a strategy that I think is best even though I acknowledge we need to deal with the whole case that forms the basis of Christianity.

That’s why I prefer Erhman over Martin, too.



lukeprog January 25, 2010 at 10:26 am


There are many good books that just didn’t fit into this particular list for a variety of reasons.


The Crocoduck Hunter January 28, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Hey Luke, I’m a newcomer to your blog, and so far I’m loving it! Our background stories look pretty similar too, though I’m a newer atheist and you’re obviously light-years ahead of me in your intellectual journey.

Quick question, with slightly less quick backstory: I just recently came out atheist to my evangelical (former missionary, even) dad. Long story short, we’re going to be trading ideas for a long time, mostly so he can understand me better. I’m lucky in that he respects my integrity, and seems genuinely interested in understanding why I think the way I do. Right now I’m reading Boyd and Eddy’s book, at his request, and I was wondering what books I could recommend for him on the subject of the historical Jesus. I’m a little worried about giving him a book entitled “Jesus Is Dead,” since it (the title at least) seems to be a little too upfront at this delicate stage of our conversation. Are there any other books/authors along the same lines that you think would be a good fit?

I actually don’t know very much about the study of 1st century history; it has never been very interesting to me, nor very important in my thoughts on Christianity. For me, the whole idea of God flew out the window with creationism and substance dualism, so there never was a need to address history beyond my general attitude of skepticism and the previous understanding from being well-versed in the Bible that it does not show signs of being an inspired document.

I’d greatly appreciate any recommendations, from you or other commenters. Thanks!


P.S. Have you written at all about your conversations/relationship with your parents? I’m kinda learning by experience at the moment, but if you have any advice for how to avoid causing each other unnecessary pain I’d really appreciate it.


lukeprog January 29, 2010 at 7:56 am

The Crocoduck Hunter,

Great nickname.

Books on the historical Jesus are legion. You could send him ‘Historical Jesus: Five Views’, a useful summary of what some scholars think about the historical Jesus. Michael Martin’s ‘The Case Against Christianity’ presents a more philosophical critique of the prospect of Jesus’ resurrection. ‘The Empty Tomb’, edited by Price, presents chapters from several authors, but it gets pretty technical sometimes. I really wish Matt McCormicks ‘The Case Against Christ’ was already published; that looks like it’s going to be really good, and very readable.

Hope that helps.

I haven’t written much about my parents. My advice is to go very, very easy on the ones you love. Whatever you think you can accomplish by being the least bit combative, it’s almost certainly not worth it with your loved ones, if you’ve had a good relationship with them in the past.


The Crocoduck Hunter January 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for the recommendations, they look great.

And yeah, I’m trying to be really gentle and non-confrontational with my parents. Still probably the hardest experience of my life though, knowing what they must be going through.


lukeprog January 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Crocoduck Hunter,

Yup, it was pretty tough on me at the time, too. Good luck!


Wade Anes January 29, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I’ve already had most of these on the wish list, but there’s still a few I didn’t have. I can’t thank you (& John) enough for compiling these lists. I definitely been ‘taking the challenge’, though not at the feverish pace of some, I have to work to buy all these expensive books! You can add me to the list of atheists who are taking the challenge, I’ve got it halfway done on the skeptics side already. It’s buckling down & reading those apologetics books…who knows, maybe I’ll come out of it a theist!

BTW, Luke, you’ve spoken about Dawkins & Hitchens, what do you think of Sam Harris? If I had to pick a favorite, it be him. What ‘dissappoints’ you about him?

Also, I would like to know if you’ve read Dan Barker’s ‘Godless’, especially his chapters ‘Omni-Aqueous’ & ‘Cosmological Kalamity’. Even if you think his arguments aren’t up to snuff, you at least have to admit he is clever with chapter names!


lukeprog January 29, 2010 at 8:41 pm



I’ll write about Harris later.

I remember reading ‘Cosmological Kalamity’. :)


Chris Hallquist January 30, 2010 at 7:46 am

Hmmm… I’ve picked up well over half of these books at some point, but looking at the others would be a nice way to round out my knowledge of these issues. And it will give me material for book reviews. You can add my name to the list.


Greg March 23, 2010 at 4:59 am

I got a personal email from a Tim regarding my decision to do this challenge – and now I can’t find the email. If you are him, please email again. Thanks.


Michael April 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm

New post on first few chapters of Loftus at my site. More to come as I continue reading. I also got Michael Martin’s “Impossibility of God” and “Improbability of God,” ironically all as Easter gifts.


lukeprog April 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm

haha those are great Easter gifts!


SBell April 10, 2010 at 9:39 am

Hm, given the fairly Christian focus of the list, shouldn’t the New Testament be on it somewhere (or at least be required/assumed background reading)? Especially given that even many believers have never actually read it all the way through.

I might also throw in at least a few choice sections of the Old Testament, such as all of Genesis and the notorious Numbers Chapter 31.


BJ Marshall June 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm


Is anyone you know blogging their way through the Ultimate Truth-Seeker Challenge? I’d love to follow their progress. (I’m thinking along the lines of book reviews like Ebonmuse does on Rebutting the Case for a Creator.)

- BJ


lukeprog June 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm

BJ Marshall,

There are several people working their way through the Ultimate Truth-Seeker Challenge. Every now and then I release an update on their progress so far.


DAM10N August 5, 2010 at 11:31 am


Did you replace Robert M. Price with Bart Ehrman at some point?


lukeprog August 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm




DAM10N August 6, 2010 at 5:01 am


Cut that out. We have to pay for these books. :p


lukeprog August 6, 2010 at 10:08 am


Heh. It’s still a good book! But yeah, I’ll try not to change the list anymore.


Erich August 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm

God loves each and everyone of us as he loves himself.

Can God love us more than he loves nimself?

Could the greatest commandments be an ultimate truth for God?



Caleb O October 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I believe I will try a shortened version of this challenge. I am a former believer and current atheist and find the philosophy of religion to be one of the most fascinating realms of thought. This sounds like a absolutely positive journey to undergo. I will start with Craig’s and Loftus’s books move on to Moreland’s and Le Poidevin’s works and then read Mackie, Oppy, Plantinga and Swinburne


lukeprog October 14, 2010 at 1:44 am

Cool! Do let us know of your progress.


Caleb O October 14, 2010 at 11:40 am

very well, I will set up a blog and post a link as soon as I do on this page


lukeprog October 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm



Caleb O October 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm


lukeprog October 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Caleb O,

You’ve been added.


David Stone November 28, 2010 at 4:42 am

Another challenge has been posted at . . . Challenge
David Stone and are looking for 100 evangelical (or fundamentalist) Christians and 100 atheists willing to take a polygraph or voice-stress test to determine the veracity of their stated belief.

Ten of each group will be randomly selected to take the test.

If you would like to participate and are willing to travel at your expense to southern Indiana, please reply here.


USArmyBJJ December 3, 2010 at 10:09 am

First, let me say that, as a Christian, I love this site. Good job. I’d like to try this challenge out. I’ve already read a few of the books, but I’ll re-read them . Questions/Comment:

1) Is the list meant to be read in order? I’d like to read them a bit out of order and I want to skip the cumulative case books entirely. I just happen to be on a historical Jesus kick right now, so it’d be nice to read those first.

2) Since I’m not interested in the cumulative cases, I might replace them with other books. I’m thinking On Guard by Craig (because it’s beginner-level) and God is Not Great by Hitchens, just because I find his writing fun and interesting (although it’s not particularly well-argued. Fun has to count for something, though).

3) Instead of having separate blogs, would anyone be interested in doing sort of a book club thing? We could get atheists/theists of various backgrounds/experiences/etc together and go through the books and debate them on the blog. Just a thought.


Qohelet December 3, 2010 at 2:31 pm

The cumulative cases books are the best of the series.


Mike Gantt December 31, 2010 at 7:11 am

I am amazed that you would not include the New and Old Testaments in your list. I read through the entire comment string and finally found near the end one person who raised this same question, but I could not find a reply from you on the subject.

All sectors of Christianity claim the Scriptures for their authority (some partially, others totally). How could you possibly expect to opine on Christianity’s legitimacy without examining its source documents? If you were wanting to understand the United States of America would you encourage people to read books about the Declaration of Independence and Constitution without encouraging them to read the documents themselves?


RTHORNE February 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

With the extreme chaos in the Middle East and all the strange weather happing now!
Don’t you think it’s now time to review every page on my Truth Revealed Website?
If you know Bible Prophecy then you know we’re living in the, “END TIMES.”
Jesus declared things are only going to get worse…Matthew 24
America is crumbling and you had better prepare for the worst. It’s just a matter of time
before our economy falls and the “ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT IS DECLARED”……..

Truth Revealed Ministry…..Revised


Stephen July 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Holy moly, that’s quite extensive. I’m currently reading Marjorie Gruene’s Intro to Existentialism and anything I can get on atheistic Existentialism, because I’m on a Sartre kick right now, but that’s an impressive and tempting list. If money grew on trees… heh.

Always a pleasure to read this site.


Jad December 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

It looks like Luke has (wisely) moved on, but for those still pursuing the UTSC or anything like it, I have a blog that might be of interest:

This is basically me blogging through books, most of which are on this list, beginning around November, 2010. At first it was just my private “scribblings in the margins,” but after a year I figured I might as well share it.

The content is of inconsistent quality, just the thoughts that occurred to me as I read, and since reading has taken so much time, I’ve often skipped large portions. It’s also written with a decided lack of flair. Take it for what it is!

As of today, I’m on halfway through book #20, having read every single (often torturous) book beforehand. If past progress is any indication, I should finish the list by April of 2012. I would love to see comments or emails, critical or supportive!


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