Book Review: “Is Christianity Good for the World?” (2008)

I gave this book only two stars on Goodreads, and out of love for the position Christopher Hitchens advances in its pages, I’m driven to explain why.

The book is a debate (…sort of) between Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens over the book’s title question. It’s only sort of a debate because Douglas Wilson is a terrible apologist, not at all a foe worthy of Hitch’s steel. The only sensible thing he says in the entire book is when he concedes that Hitch is his intellectual superior.

Wilson answers the question “is Christianity good for the world” from within Christianity’s own precepts. Because Christianity guarantees salvation, it must be good for the world. Otherwise the world would be damned. So that is why Christianity is good. QED. This is his sole claim about Christianity in every single round of the debate. Carousel horses travel greater distances.

Any atheist worth their salt should be able to use Wilson’s position to drain spaghetti, and Hitch, naturally, does an excellent job in drawing attention to the cardinal points of (non)belief. But where does it get him? You can’t argue with someone who has no argument to advance. Wilson’s parting shot is to essentially say, “Well, your name is Christopher!”

Why, yes! Christopher DOES mean “bearer of Christ!” And?

This is where a year in seminary has gotten me: I’m stunned that we’re even engaging with sub-par apologists. There are heavy-hitters out there. Douglas Wilson isn’t one of them.

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