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Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World's Largest Religion

, 2019
ISBN: 9781433564260

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Named the 2020 Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year by Christianity Today

Christianity is the most widespread global belief system, and promises to remain so well into the future. But for many educated westerners, biblical Christianity is a dangerous idea—challenging some of their deepest beliefs.

Channeling state-of-the-art research, personal stories, and careful biblical study, Confronting Christianity explores 12 questions that keep many of us from considering faith in Christ. Look more closely, McLaughlin argues, and the reality of suffering, the complexity of sexuality, the desire for diversity, the success of science, and other seeming roadblocks to faith become signposts. Jesus becomes not a relic from the ancient world, but our modern world’s best hope.

  • Explores some of the trickiest cultural challenges to Christianity today
  • Seeks to help readers undestand the hard issues and questions of the Christian faith
  • Offers a compelling reading tht is not only full of intellectual rigor but is also filled with empathy and honesty
  • Aren’t we better off without religion?
  • Doesn’t Christianity crush diversity?
  • How can you say there is only one true faith?
  • Doesn’t religion hinder morality?
  • Doesn’t religion cause violence?
  • How can you take the Bible literally?
  • Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?
  • Doesn’t Christianity denigrate women?
  • Isn’t Christianity homophobic?
  • Doesn’t the Bible condone slavery?
  • How could a loving God allow so much suffering?
  • How could a loving God send people to hell?

Top Highlights

“One of my wisest and gentlest seminary professors put it like this: ‘It’s often said that you should respect other people’s beliefs. But that’s wrong: what’s vital is that you respect other people.’ Indeed, when examined more closely, attempting to persuade others to change their beliefs is a sign of respect. You are treating them as thinking agents with the ability to decide what they believe, not just products of their cultural environment. We should not be offended when people challenge our beliefs: we should be flattered!” (source)

“But while Christianity held a monopoly on Western culture, Western culture never held a monopoly on Christianity. Indeed” (source)

“When questions of truth carry life-and-death consequences, we see persuasion as an act of love” (source)

“We believe that God could change our instincts, but we have no promise that he will, because blue-blood heterosexuality is not the goal of the Christian life: Jesus is.” (source)

“A recent study found that nearly 40 percent of Americans raised nonreligious become religious (typically Christian) as adults, while only 20 percent of those raised Protestant switch.” (source)

This book is compelling reading, not only because of its intellectual rigor and the fact that it is beautifully written but also because of its honest, empathetic humanity. Readers will find themselves expertly guided on a journey that involves them not only in confronting Christianity but also in confronting themselves—their worldviews, hopes, fears, failures, and search for identity and satisfaction—and, finally, in confronting Christ as the altogether credible source of life as God means it to be.

John C. Lennox, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford

McLaughlin probes some of the trickiest cultural challenges to Christianity of our day and clearly demonstrates the breadth and richness of a Christian response. Confronting Christianity is well worth reading and pondering.

Tyler J. VanderWeele, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard University

In the West, many people are persuaded by dominant secular narratives and think they already know what Christianity is about. In this bombshell of a book packed with myth-busting statistics, McLaughlin reveals the many surprises in authentic Christianity.

Peter J. Williams, Principal, Tyndale House, Cambridge; author, Can We Trust the Gospels?

Rebecca McLaughlin (PhD, Cambridge University) is the cofounder of Vocable Communications, a communications consulting and training firm. She is also a regular contributor to the Gospel Coalition and previously spent nine years working with top academics at the Veritas Forum, which hosts forums on college campuses with conversations that pursue answers to life's hardest questions.


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  1. Willie Botha

    Willie Botha


    It is an incredible book! I've been a reverend for 20 years in South Africa and now more than 3 years in Western Australia. The relevance of this book for a sceptical and secular society is spot on. Even for parents confronted with the challenges of raising children in a "Post Christian" society it can be of great help.
Save during the Summer Reading Sale!


Digital list price: $24.99
Regular price: $19.99
Save $6.00 (30%)