Mitch Stokes – A Shot of Faith (to the Head)

Dr. Stokes received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1992 and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Central Florida in 1994. While serving as an advanced and senior engineer in Florida in the 1990s, Dr. Stokes took theological courses at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He went on to complete an M.A. in Religion (Philosophy of Religion) at Yale University under Dr. Nick Wolterstorff in 2001 and an M.A. in Philosophy at University of Notre Dame in 2003. He completed his doctoral studies in Philosophy at Notre Dame under Dr.Alvin Plantinga and Dr. Peter van Inwagen in 2005, prior to joining the New Saint Andrews faculty. It’s Plantinga that inspired this great shot of apologetics.

In A Shot of Faith of Faith to the Head, subtitled Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists, Mitch Stokes dismantles the (well known) claims of skeptics and atheists, while remaining a simple yet solid case for the Christian belief.

In part 1 the claim “Belief in God is irrational” is researched. What is evidence? Does evidence itself need evidence? Is it enough to take God for granted, or can His existence be proven? Stokes does some fine work in addressing rationality, logic and constructing arguments to prove something. Outspoken atheists insist that faith is naïve and belief is dangerous. Neither Christians and atheists simply trust the evidence, but have to accept certain facts as ‘basic beliefs.’

To come to the conclusion that the atheists are the irrational ones, the author takes a long journey along the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. Is the division between rational and irrational indeed translated correctly as the war between science and religion, ratio and faith? No, it’s impossible to only believe what we have personal evidence for. We really do take a lot for granted, without any doubt. Then why wouldn’t we accept God, His existence and design of the universe?

In Part 2 and 3 Stokes dismantles two main objections from atheists: science (and scientific proof) and the existence evil (“If God exists, why is there evil and suffering?”). Earth and all of us on this planet (and the rest of the universe as well) can’t exist based on coincidence or evolution alone. From many sources design can be concluded. Evil exists and only makes sense for a human that’s free to choose between good and bad. There’s no evolutionary or atheist answer to this phenomenon, accoring to Stokes.

The book isn’t an easy one to read at all times. I preferred reading a couple of chapters, put the book away, absorb its message, and resume another day. Whether you agree or disagree upon first reading, this book has certainly food for thought and inspiration for the faithful. Each chapter closes with input for your arsenal, conclusions and main tenets. Remember: we’re all damaged goods and need (godly) repair. May this book help you.