HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Letter from a Christian Citizen: A Response to “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris
Author: Douglas Wilson
Publisher: American Vision, 2007
Related website: http://www.AmericanVision.org (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Older teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Wilson, Douglas. Letter from a Christian Citizen – A Response to “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris (published in 2007 by American Vision Inc., 3150-A Florence Rd., Powder Springs, GA 30127). In 2006, Sam Harris made headlines with his “angry and honest” Letter to a Christian Nation. Not only did Harris argue for atheism, or at least agnosticism, but he also contended that religion, particularly conservative Christianity, is a genuine evil in our society. When our older son Mark was a junior in high school and wanted to read the arguments of atheists from their own sources, I chose Letter to a Christian Nation and two responses so that he could study both sides of the issue. One of these was Letter to a Christian Nation: Counter Point by R. C. Metcalf, and the other was this one. Author Douglas J. Wilson is a Senior Fellow of Theology at New Saint Andrews College, a permanent member of the College’s Board of Trustees, and a member of the College s Executive Council. At other colleges, he has taught both ethics and logic. He received a B.A. in Classical Studies, and a B.A. and an M.A. in Philosophy, all at the University of Idaho. Also he was a founder of Logos School, a K-12 institution that pioneered the current classical Christian school movement.
As Gary DeMar writes in the foreword, “Douglas Wilson has taken the operating assumptions of Sam Harris seriously and has shown what life would be like if the world were consistent with atheistic assumptions.” Wilson reviews Harris’s claims one by one, answers them with both reason and Scripture, and shows that true intellectual honesty lies on the side of the Christians, not the unbelievers. He freely admits that he is a Calvinist (p. 49) and later proves it by his statement, “Every aspect of our being was polluted by this fall. We do not just do bad things; we do them because we are bad people” (p. 104). However, he makes allowances for believers who are not fellow Calvinists, and most of his reply is not dependent on Calvinistic theology. Basically, Wilson provides sound reasoning based upon reality in contrast to the wishful thinking of the atheist with his blind faith in “nature.”
While Metcalf, a scientist, takes a rather empirical approach in his answer to Harris, Wilson, an ethicist, relies more on logic. Both books are good and have their place. He does end his treatise by telling Harris, “If we ever meet, I would love to buy you a beer.” Joseph Farah, Editor and Chief Executive Officer of WorldNetDaily.com Inc., recommended it saying, “It’s about time an informed, Bible-believing Christian explained to the growing number of skeptics and gnostics and relativists how America, the freest country in the history of the world, could only have been birthed and sustained through a Christian worldview. If you want to bring this great experiment in human liberty to a screeching halt, the fastest way is to eliminate the salt and light contributed by Divine inspiration of our heavenly Father and His Word through His children.” Amen!