Saturday, January 13, 2018

Book Review: "The Problem of God" by Mark Clark

The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to ChristianityThe Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity by Mark Clark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A new "go-to" book to share with skeptics of Christianity.

I thoroughly enjoyed this new apologetics book by Pastor Mark Clark. Clark tackles some of the toughest challenges thrown at Christianity with reasonable, thoughtful, and readable(!) answers. It's definitely written for skeptics, not for the already-convinced (though we can profit from reading it, too). And there is a good dose of self-deprecating humor.

The thing I liked the best about "The Problem of God" was how up-to-date and relevant it is. Some of the skeptical arguments were ones that I've never seen addressed in a book-length treatment before. (ex. theories about the "Christ myth"). But I hear young people asking these very questions. It doesn't feel like "your father's apologetics book."

I also appreciated that Clark didn't just deal with evidential or philosophical objections--but also personal roadblocks to belief like hypocrisy among Christians. One of the longest and best chapters is the one on Christianity and sex.

Highly recommended. Give it to a skeptic you love.

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(One last try . . .)


It is puzzling to me why you, or anyone, quite frankly, could think this is a good book. Indeed, you consider it your go-to book with skeptics. In light of the errors and problems I laid out in my review at Amazon (, I would strongly advise against recommending this book to skeptics. Really, this book will only impact those who are unacquainted with the issues.

On the topic of Hell, for example, Clark simply doesn't know what he's talking about. He butchers the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. He seems to have just followed Keller's sloppy interpretation (really, Keller's eisegesis). The "Hell as chosen/the doors are locked from the inside" view is feebly supported by scripture. See here:

His chapter on Christology is out of date. See Kirk, "A Man Attested by God," to see why.

His view of the Gospels is naive and anachronistic. See:

1. Why Scholars Doubt the Traditional Authors of the Gospels:

2. Knocking Out the Pillars of the “Minimal Facts” Apologetic:

I could go on and on. But really, read through and check out the links in my comment section. Clark is, to put it bluntly, a wild-eyed fundamentalist and sloppy thinker. He will only lead people astray.


Thanks for sharing your opinion and links. I'll check them out.

I found the book compelling and an especially good conversation starter for skeptics pitched at the level on which I am usually engaging folks. I'm sure there are, as with all books, weaknesses to it and that expert skeptics won't be easily convinced (they need to read higher level, more technical interactions anyway). There are also points where I might have taken a different tack.

But I do think it was really good, and I appreciate what he's trying to do with it. If I could write an apologetics book, this is just the kind of thing I'd be aiming for.

I suspect that we're just going to have to disagree on this one.



You said, "I'm sure there are, as with all books, weaknesses to it . . . ."

Well, yes, sure. In the case of Clark's book, however, there are, as I see things, far too many weaknesses. That's the problem. If I gave his book to a new skeptic or Christian, I would be distraught thinking about how many times I'd have to point out to them that Clark doesn't get this or that point quite right (or just gets it wrong), doesn't state x, y, or z position correctly, doesn't represent so-and-so's view accurately, or whatever -- which is why I simply wouldn't hand the book out. There are superior apologetic books out there aimed at lay people (Strobel's "Case For" books come to mind; certainly not flawless, but contain considerably less egregious errors due to the fact that he interviews scholars).

You also say, "expert skeptics won't be easily convinced (they need to read higher level, more technical interactions anyway.)"

Indeed -- and we are. At least, mot of us, I'd like to think. But amateurs with some reach need to be kept in check.

And I'll add that I think there are more than enough amateur apologetic books out there (atheist and Christian). I'd rather not see any more. Generally speaking, I don't think they do people much good. Plenty of shallow, pseudo-intellectuals around the globe already.


We definitely want to get our facts straight. So if there are errors or mis-characterizations they should be corrected. I don't want to convince anybody of the truth by using falsehoods.

I know the kind of hack book you are lamenting--I've read a few dubious ones over the years, but that isn't what I sensed from this one.

Some of the best apologetics books that I've read in the last year or so have been Nabeel Querishi's, and I thought he did a masterful job of presenting the facts of "the other side" extremely carefully. It definitely improves the book to do that and raises the level of conversation.