Atheist Missionary vs. Christian Missionary

It all started in early June with a challenge. The Atheist Missionary (TAM) was contacted by a Christian missionary known as da:

I am a convinced theist (new-born christian) and also a missionary. You propose a book I will read, I propose a book you will read. … If your book is convincing you might convert a theist into an atheist and get rid of one of their missionaries. This blog is about convert, isn’t it? So what about cutting the chitchat and getting serious. Who dares?

Ooh, ooh, pick me! Pick me! TAM nearly frothed at the mouth for a chance like this, and accepted this duel of literary exploration.
Purpose Driven Life vs. The End of Faith

The books of choice are The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren, well-known evangelical pastor of Saddleback Church, and The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris, a prominent Atheist and founder of The Reason Project. [Enough links for ya?]

I am very eager to catch up on the chapters these two intelligent people have already examined. I think you’ll enjoy their insights and humor.

It all starts with TAM’s first post on TPDL chapter 1 (scroll down) and da‘s initial installment on chapter 1 of TEOF.

Da‘s posts are all titled “Why the End of Faith is just its beginning #__” and TAM’s posts are called “Deconstructing The Purpose Drive Life Chapter __”. Until an archive is set up just for these posts, you’ll have to do a little hunting through the monthly archives.

You should keep an eye on the posts over at TAM’s blog and follow him on twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed to get the updates! Let’s see how it goes. We might learn something!

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June 23, 2009  |  Christianity


  1. I really don't think Sam Harris's book was the best choice for an atheist book… There are much better ones. Interesting idea though. I'm curious to see how it plays out.

  2. I remember when my dad did a similar swap of dvd's a few years ago. He swapped Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion" for a Ted Haggard [speelling probably incorrect] delusion as to the genealogy of the Bible and why it was perfectly feasible for people to be in excess of 300 years old. I watched both and was highly amused by the arguments ventured by Haggard. Mostly frightened that someone could believe this stuff, whats worse is it is not just someone, it is a lot of people. Great Idea this is though, i'd like to see how it goes too – particularly the way each party responds will be interesting.

  3. I agree that Harris isn't ideal. He's very woolly at times and has his own weird ideas come through that have nothing to do with the question at hand. I wouldn't even focus on getting the individual to actually become an atheist with one book. Instead I'd recommend Dennett's Breaking the Spell. The book is far more effective in that it is less confrontational but puts people on the right mindset such that a slow, downward slide into godlessness is almost inevitable. I suspect that Dennett has won far more souls for satan than Harris.

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