Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Apologia's I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
Book and Workbook Review
Age:  High School
Cost:  Workbook - $33.00  Text – $16.00 or via Amazon

When I was asked to review the I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist curriculum through Apologia, I thought it would be an interesting addition to our schooling.  Both my boys seek logic as a way to explain their faith to others.  What I didn’t realize is that it uses the book written by Norman Giesler and Frank Turek of the same name.  (I know – duh! )

I have tremendous respect for Geisler; however, I have already assisted in a year-long high school course involving his twelve step approach to apologetics and found it to be confusing at times and not very engaging for teenagers. 

Geisler and Turek use logic to show how other ideals/philosophies/religions are illogical while attempting to show the logic in Christianity.  I love logic; in fact, I consider myself a skeptic who thrives on empirical evidence.  However, the approach taken here is not easy for a teen to follow.  For example, in the first chapter, two philosophers, Hume and Kant, are refuted.  I appreciate the refutation, but since Hume and Kant aren’t readily familiar to the typical teenager, these two selections seem arbitrary in a pool of possible targets.  Additionally, in chapter two, the reader runs into terms like the Cosmological Argument, the Teleological Argument and the Anthropic Principle.  I find these approaches very interesting, but a typical teenager feels in over his head.  You can view the introduction to the book – here.
At times, the book seems to get bogged down in trying to explain their principles and criticize other planes of thought to the point that the actual goal of proving Christianity can temporarily get lost in the dialogue.  They do pull it back in, but it takes a lot of mental sorting to keep track of what is being discussed.

Enter the supplementary curriculum provided by Apologia.  I’ve always enjoyed Apologia – they do an excellent job of dealing with tough subjects and providing students with the necessary tools to help them develop an understanding of the concepts.  I feel they've done a good job with this book as well. 
The accompanying workbook is setup chapter by chapter to coincide with the Geisler/Turek book as seen in the Table of Contents.   Each chapter of the workbook includes a Hook, Book, Look and Took section.  Here’s the description from the text:
Hook – This section will remind you what the textbook chapter talked about and often includes a few questions to warm up your brain.
Book – This section takes you deeper into the specific issues covered in each chapter, unpacking the topics and testing your knowledge and comprehension with questions from the textbook.

Look – Don’t just take the authors’ word for it.  Check out the information presented in the book for yourself.  This section helps you build no your new found knowledge with research assignments and other suggested activities.
Took – This section summarizes the material and helps you apply the concepts you’ve studied to your life and witness for Jesus Christ.

I really like this approach.  Throughout the workbook, students are able to better understand the content provided in each chapter and to determine what it means to them.  They are able to research the information and form their opinions based on depth, not just on the content of one text.  Additionally, they are given time to digest each chapter before moving forward. 
Some of the other aspects I liked about the workbook not illustrated above are the vocabulary and the spotlights on people mentioned in the book.  People like Hume and Kant, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Hitler, etc.  These spotlights help students consider the context in which these people are being discussed and give them a better understanding of who they were. 

I feel the workbook is essential to understanding the book.  I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by itself is difficult for educated adults to traverse let alone high school students.  However, with the help of a parent and the workbook, I do feel they help build a foundational and logical understanding of how to defend the faith. 
For Homeschooling Parents:  answers to the workbook can be found on the book extras section of the Apologia web site using a password provided when you purchase the text.  Additionally, chapter tests are included free to help you assess your student’s understanding.

To see reviews by other Schoolhouse Review Crew members – click here.
***  Disclaimer:  I received the book and curriculum free of charge as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man.. I totally forgot to mention the free answer guide and tests on the website! I had a mental note to myself to include them and I forgot! We're loving the workbook here and I agree that the book can get confusing.


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