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Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,518 ratings  ·  351 reviews
Dear Greg,

I find your idea of dialoguing about the subject of Christianity very interesting, and I'd be happy to do it. I've got enough time on my hands...You invited me to raise whatever objections come to mind, so I'll jump right in. Here's one I've wondered about a lot: how could an all-powerful and all-loving God allow the church to do so much harm to humanity for so l
Unknown Binding, 192 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Cook Communications (first published December 14th 1993)
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James Higgs This book, really just a series of letters between an Atheist dad, and a Christian son, does a great job of answering some of the hard questions Chris…moreThis book, really just a series of letters between an Atheist dad, and a Christian son, does a great job of answering some of the hard questions Christians are asked: If God is real, why so much suffering? is one of the major topics that deserves a clear answer. Most Christians cannot answer this. Most need to read this book. (less)

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Jul 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
I first read this book in the 90s when I was a fresh atheist and someone gave it to me. What I remember is that it seemed to make some decent points (and some bad ones), but the subject of the evangelism converted suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere on what I didn't think was a very interesting claim.

Almost 15 years later, I saw it again, so I was curious how it would seem after I've spent the last few years becoming a much more involved and informed atheist and skeptic.

Since "Skeptic" is in the
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a few of the "1-star" reviews critiquing the book for its authenticity and Boyd's open theism views. I feel they were hyper critical and predisposed to negative feelings towards Boyd's work.

While I am not bent towards open theism, Boyd's views in this book do not impede the healthy dialogue between Boyd and his father. Their dialogue appears to be authentic. One reviewer said a 'true skeptic' would not take the words of Boyd so easily. I differ because it was a father-son relationsh
Paul Dubuc
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Greg and Edward Boyd have have given us a great blessing in publishing their correspondence on the nature of Christianity. This book is unique among the many apologetic sorts of books I have read for a few reasons:

1)It's honest. Ed Boyd doesn't go easy on his son about Christianity. The questions are thoughtful, penetrating and genuine, not straw men set up to be easily knocked down. Greg Boyd's answers are equally thoughtful and well stated. He doesn't overwhelm with theological language but do
Johanna Lee Ediger
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Completely unconvincing to someone with a basic understanding of logic and the scientific method.
Akash Ahuja
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This book does a good job of apologetics, the only bad thing is that I didn't enjoy reading any part of it. If you're looking for a general overview, and you already know a good bit about Christian theology, pick up something else. This was much easier to understand than a book like Mere Christianity, but was also much less fulfilling. ...more
The bottom line: While much good is contained in this book (there really is!), I would not give it to an unbelieving friend. If given the chance, I would remove several of the chapters (e.g., 4-7, 11, 24, 25) and would be hesitant to recommend others. I’m grateful for the fact that God worked through these letter exchanges; however, I am deeply troubled by several of the answers proposed.

The book, Letters from a Skeptic, is a compilation of letter exchanges between a son and his father rega
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Basically, in the end, I'll admit it's a good resource for atheists investigating the faith. It's very light and very short. It would be helpful for some people wanting to casually pick up an easy apologetics book.

But it wouldn't be a go-to for me. There are much better apologetics works out there. There's far too much left unsaid, and the arguments he does make leave much to be desired. Doyle gives only very basic answers. Though I suppose that's all he set out to do in the first place.

His answ
Sep 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1997
I read this during my time at Bethel University (College at the time) where Greg Boyd was a popular professor of Bible. Boyd's brand of Open Theism was a very widely discussed point of controversy during my four years at Bethel. John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and others were opposing Boyd's Open Theism and there was a contingent of people in the BGC (now Converge) that were attempting to oust Boyd not only from Bethel, but from the BGC itself.

I attended Bethlehem a
Craig Hurst
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: apologetics
As this review will bear out I have mixed feeling about this book. I do not hold to any form of Open Theism/Flexible Sovereignty and I honestly have a hard time seeing it as a faithful interpretation of Scripture and within the evangelical stream of orthodox belief.


My biggest problem with the book is Boyd's view of God, namely his view of God's omniscience. Boyd does not hide the fact that for him God's omniscience is limited to only what has happened because out of love God has gi
Jason Caldwell
May 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book after a friend of mine recommended we take turns picking out books on our own religious faiths (she is a theist, while I am an atheist) and then talking about them afterward. A kind of religious book club that would help her to better understand my views, and maybe she thought it'd help pull me back to her side. I'd like to think it wasn't the latter.

So I picked up this book, and right from the beginning it was very clear that it was not written by two people of opposing vi
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was actually one of the first books I'd bought with my Kindle, probably 3 years ago, and I was just checking which were the best sellers that month on Amazon. I remember being very intrigued by the chapter sample I read, so I bought it and for some reason I never finished it.
Theology, or any kind of philosophical books for that matter, isn't really my thing. Yeah, it's nice that once in a while you read something that challenges you but usually when I really want to read something, I go fo
Karen & Gerard
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an unusual book because it is all letters back and forth between a father and son. The son is a professor of theology and an ordained evangelical minister. The father was raised Catholic but with numerous questions about Christianity which the son patiently tries to answer over a period of time through correspondence. The questions fall into four major categories: Questions about God, Questions about Jesus Christ, Questions about the Bible, and Questions about Christian life and doctrine ...more
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I wouldn't recommend it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stan Sorensen
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
A reasonable defense of Christianity from an evidentialist viewpoint with a rosey view that man's reason is capable of arriving at the truth of the Bible and Christian truths. It subsumes everything under God's love to give man freedom to do evil. Constantly pokes at the straw man of "fundamentalist" views which hardly exist in evangelical circles today. I suppose this is to paliate his skeptical father and others who despise more conservative views. My greatest concern is with Boyd's open theis ...more
J.R. Coltaine
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Staggering. By far the best book on Christian apologetics I've ever read. I cried many times. This book is drenched in love and humility. Fundamentalists will be frustrated with the uncertainty Boyd is comfortable with. Reformed Christians will struggle with his views of providence. Evangelicals may squirm occasionally, too. But Boyd loved his father deeply, loves Jesus deeply, and gave the best arguments for that love according to his conscience. I don't agree with everything in this book, but ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
As a believer i enjoyed the banter between believe and non believer but i believe at times Dr Boyd stretched his reasonings to match his own teachings. when talking about God i think the best explanations can be found in the bible, so once the father and son reached over the hump of the credibility of the bible I would have appreciated more Scripture in his explanations for his fathers further questions
Rosie Gearhart
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most helpful books I’ve ever read. I really appreciate the humility and kindness in his tone. This is an excellent example of how to talk to non-Christians. It also helps answer a lot of questions that many people are asking. Even if/though all of his answers may not be what yours would be, it is still an excellent resource for thinking people.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Christian friend recommended this book to me. I am glad I read it. The thought I kept having is that we have so many things in common in our love for our Lord. I enjoyed the dialogue back and forth between Father and Son. The son's thought out apologetics was easy to understand. There were definitely parts that he didn't go far enough. An example would be regarding suffering and how we can offer it up to our Lord and therefore create meaning in our suffering. There were also parts that I do no ...more
Nolan Martin
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be an incredibly eye-opening book. Not only does it cover most questions and problems that skeptics and even believers have with the Christian faith but also shows how important encouraging dialogue with someone instead of a camp meeting revival approach can be. It isnt a book that answers every question but thats kinda the beauty of it. Well worth your time.
james glover
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Would be a good book to give to an unbeliever as it clearly answered questions I had re the Christian faith.
Jessie Kidwell
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was quite the good read for me, personally. I am just that... a natural skeptic. This is such a beautiful, natural progression between a father and son. The son wasn't raised in a religious home. He goes to college, and finds God. His father is beyond unamused. They decided to publish mounds of letters that they had originally written for no one to see but the two of them! Great read! Answers to some of our greatest doubts. ...more
Vance Gatlin
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're a skeptic about the Christian faith then I highly recommend this book. The questions posed are not softballs, Greg's dad is playing hardball. ...more
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In 1989 Greg Boyd was teaching Christian apologetics at Bethel University. He hadn't discussed his Christian faith with his father much, if at all, since he'd last tried years before when he was in his late teens and recently converted. So he decided to try a new approach for engaging his 70-year-old skeptic dad in matters of faith: correspond by personal letters, allowing him to pose to Greg any and all objections he might have to Christianity, the existence of God, etc. Over the next three yea ...more
Mack Hayden
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
When I read the other reviews here, I feel like I'm pretty firmly in the middle of the road on this one. There are certainly some groaners and cop-outs when it comes to Boyd explaining why he believes certain things, but his dad would usually respond with my exact critiques. Maybe other readers here don't think he pressed his son hard enough on certain issues and I can see why but, overall, to discard the whole book for those reasons seems a little much. There are also some moments that feel pre ...more
Clark Goble
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I would have a hard time expressing how much I appreciated this book. It chronicles the correspondence between Seminary professor Dr. Gregory Boyd and his skeptical father Edward. Over the course of a couple of years, Greg Boyd corresponded with, and witnessed to, his father. This book allows the reader a glimpse into their private letters.

Like many skeptics, Edward Boyd had a negative impression of Christianity (as opposed to a positive impression of an opposing worldview); as such, he lends vo
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
A lot of mixed feelings on this one.

While the concept seemed great, the letters back and forth seemed overly trite and almost forced. I don't doubt the authenticity, but the father seemed to rarely fight back, question, or doubt. He seemed almost all the time to cede ground, cede ground, cede ground. Now, I'm coming from a Jesus perspective here, so I like the idea and can understand because I find the same arguments convincing, but it almost seemed like the letters were just a set-up for Chris
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
How many times has someone asked you one of the "difficult questions" of Christianity, or have you yourself asked and not received a very clear answer? Usually, it is in conversation and I know that I have a tough time being clear and articulate during a conversation...however, Greg Boyd decided to get away from that obstruction, from the issue of getting personally heated perhaps as one can in a conversation and simply write letters to his Dad to explain his faith. Over the course of 3 years, t ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Boyd (theology professor at Bethel College in Minneapolis, Minnesota) had a written dialogue concerning the merits of the Christian faith with his (non-believing) father Edward Boyd and Letters from a Skeptic is the collection of that discourse. The book consists of twenty-nine questions asked in writing over the course of three years and twenty-nine responses. Both Boyd men approach the conversation with gusto and a steep level of intellectualism.

At first I was uncertain about the book on
Nov 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
I had previously given this book a higher rating, but after some thought, I'm going have to drop it lower. One, I rejoice at the outcome of the letters between father and son in this story. That is wonderful. But.....this book is full of unbiblical beliefs.

The author consistently writes about his viewpoint and misuses scripture to fit in a frame that is not Biblical and not truthful. An example of one that I remember the most vividly is his stance that God does not know everything. I had reread
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Be forewarned, this is not deep philosophy or apologetics, but best described as a nice account of congenial personal correspondence on aspects of Christian doctrine and culture that culminates in a father's conversion from agnosticism to Christianity. Some of the arguments the son makes for various aspects of Christianity/theism with which his father takes issue are stronger than others. The father seems not to recognize most of the weaknesses in the son's arguments, but to readily accept his e ...more
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Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of ReKnew. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) for sixteen years where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor.

Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). Gre

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