In my days as a youth minister, limited as they were, I recall working with Scott hosting the late Larry Norman. The edgy controversial “Father of Christian Rock” offered some interesting lyrics and song titles. Who could forget, “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?” Rock and Roll and Christian lyrics stirred the emotions – often resulting in great conflict. Norman thought it unnecessary to suggest the use of certain instruments and a different beat were exclusively the privilege of others; most notably any Rock band deemed the tool of the devil.
Mary Eberstadt turns arguments around in her book The Loser Letters. For instance critics of Christianity are often quick to point out sordid illustrations of religion gone wrong – The Crusades and Slavery to note a couple. Rather than acknowledge every system people self-select is prone to ruination by extremists these instances provide fuel for some to suggest Christianity, and religion, is the problem. Eberstadt satirically suggests opponents of Christianity should take care lest it get out that history reveals a poor track record among admitted atheistic regimes.
Eberstadt flips a number of arguments made by the New Atheists as well as some “older” atheists. In so doing it is as if she says, “Why should the atheists have all the good arguments.” And in witty fashion says, “They don’t have to.”
For me, the question is not only about flipping the arguments. It is also about hearing constructive alternatives. It is simple to deride and ridicule others’ actions. But, what kind of constructive vision is offered instead? Generally it is always in reference to the opposite of what it has been. This is little different than one group deciding the church of which they are a part is not living out the faith properly so we will go start another and “show them” by doing the opposite. There really is not constructive vision. It is simply that we are doing it different than you did.
One final thought. Christians are often chided for “indoctrination.” Rather than let their children decide for themselves, critics contend they would not believe the way they do if they were not following the conviction of their parents. This argument surely must be flipped. Everyone influences their children to follow the self-selected path they (the parents) have chosen. For Christians, critics claim it is indoctrination. For everyone else, it is the exercise of freedom from religion.
This review was not solicited. It is the result of the author’s own purchase and a reading of the entire text.