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The Loser Letters by Mary Eberstadt
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Apr 20, 11

bookshelves: apologetics, atheism, christianity-and-culture
Read in July, 2010

The author writes as the character A.F. (A Former) Christian, a young woman who was converted to atheism by the writings of the "new atheists." In gratitude, A.F. Christian sends a series of letters to her atheist heroes, thanking them for their work but mostly saying what she thinks is wrong in their presentation of atheism and attack on theism (specifically Christianity).

A.F. Christian tells her atheist heroes that they need to realize that the sexual ethic they are calling for, where pretty much anything goes in the privacy of two consenting adults, has been tried since the 1960s and has empirically been found wanting. In the second letter she writes about the problem that most people throughout human history have believed in a god of some sort. The third letter calls on atheists to focus on what Christians have done wrong rather than on good works atheists have done, for when it comes to actual evidence Christianity has done much more good for the world then atheism. Fourth is a letter about how art is another subjects atheists should avoid since Christians far outpace them here too. Fifth, she asks about converts to Christianity from atheism. The sixth letter asks if atheists know any women, children or families. This letter is important in the grand scheme of the book because in it she identifies the tie of families as the biggest reason so few convert to atheism. Here we see that this book is not as much a defense of why Christianity is true as an attack on what atheism lacks. The next letter is about abortion, asking the intriguing question that if atheists are such freethinkers how come they all agree on this one issue. The eighth and ninth letters finally tell A.F. Christian's story of why she turned to atheism, with the tenth letter summing up the whole thing (in a quite surprising and odd way).

Overall, it is a fun read written on a level that is approachable for practically anyone. If read with an open mind, questions are asked which should make any person think about their own beliefs. Reading it, do not expect a comprehensive argument for Christianity, for that it is not. Expect a challenge to the idea that atheism is the only logical way to live. My biggest problem with the book is that some of the everyday slang becomes distracting. When done well, this writing style is one of the best things about the book. But if A.F. Christian is a woman in her twenties, some of the slang is just too juvenile (who says "doy" anyway?).
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