When God Goes to Starbucks: A guide to everyday apologetics Paul Copan.
Invariably over coffee conversations about truth, worldview and religion arise. Often when Christians enter in to these conversations their views are quickly dismissed by a “slogan” as Copan calls them. A slogan is a simple, coherent, question or statement that usually lands like a grenade in the lap of the unsuspecting Christian, blowing apart their belief system. The book is a helpful defense for Christianity against these “slogans.” Copan also display’s proficiency at poking holes in counter Christian world-views. For example, who would criticize “absolute autonomy” as a worldview? It means freedom right? Copan with the skill of a surgeon exposes the faults, inconsistencies, and despair that result from such a belief system.
At times I felt like Copan was using this book as a launch pad for him to tackle a potpourri of topics of his own personal interest, conveniently wrapping them together under the banner of “apologetics”.
For example he really parked on the issue of gay marriage for awhile. He also spilled considerable ink pointing out the differences between Islam and Christianity, and finally, a topic of particular concern for Copan -- Eschatology. He went on and on expressing his views for what the future holds for us all. As for other eschatological persuasions, I imagine Copan would have one word “Bunk” -- So does gay marriage, Islam vs Christianity, and Eschatology fit within the broad embrace of the man known as apologetics? I suppose.
On the genocide passages Copan is lacking, there are still disturbing realities with those verses that his explanations fail to address, and perhaps even compound. One helpful point on this however was his cultural explanation of tribal warfare. Everyone understood that it was winner take all. The white flag, geneva convention all of that stuff was never a consideration in ancient tribal warfare. There would be no “hard feelings” everyone knew what war meant in those days, when one-side lost everyone on that side lost. Context doesn’t solve the dilemma but it does help it.
Copan has a very helpful comparison regarding Jihad and the Crusades. the comparison gives valuable perspective. Copan effectively blows up any notion that Islam and Christianity hold the same values but with different expression. It would be difficult not to be convinced of the stark difference between the faiths after reading Copan regardless of ones worldview or religion.
Regarding the denominational divisions, Copan quotes Rupertus
In essential matters unity.
In non-essential matters liberty
In all things clarity.
and does his best to communicate that denominational diversity among the body of Christ is actually a good thing, provided we humbly listen and learn from one another. I agree.