Thinking Out Loud

September 1, 2017

The Problem of Reviewing The Problem of God

There is so much going on in this book. I feel like I’ve been handed an impossible task, somewhat akin from being dropped off a metropolitan core for a few days and told to write a review of the entire city. Every person. Every business. Every park and school.

Canadian Pastor Mark Clark has set himself to answer ten of the major objections to faith raised by outsiders, skeptics and seekers. It’s a tough assignment, even if you’re leaning heavily on the writings of Tim Keller and C. S. Lewis. Not as tough for Clark however as it would be for you or me, in part because this is his own story; the book is as much testimony as it is apologetics text.

I think that’s what make this one different. Until his later teens, Clark was camped on the other side of the border of faith. Partying. Drugs. Disbelief. So he has those still there clearly in view as he writes this; these are the type of people who made up the nucleus of Village Church when it was founded in 2010. Today they are in three locations on Canada’s west coast with satellites launching in Calgary and Montreal. Mark is part of a new generation of pastors and authors who really does his homework before speaking and writing and his passion and energy rock the house each week.

The ten “problems” form ten chapters:

But to say just that is too simple. Each one of these breaks down into several other subsections. These issues are complex and we’re given a look at each through several different lenses.

To repeat, the book stands somewhere between academic apologetics textbook (for its thorough treatment of each of the issues) and biography (for the times Clark references his own story.) It is the latter that makes this book what it is; an apologetics resource which wears a face and a name, and that makes it accessible to all readers. That last factor is important especially for potential as a giveaway to someone who is asking questions. (Read more about Mark at this CBC-TV story.)

I know I say this a lot — I choose my review books carefully — but this is definitely another of those “go back and re-read” and “keep handy for reference” titles.

The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity | Zondervan | 272 page paperback | September, 2017

Thanks to Mark at HarperCollins Canada for an opportunity to read this!



  1. I couldn’t disagree more with your response to this book. If Clark would’ve handed me the manuscript, I would have handed it back. For my detailed review:

    [Paul: I’ve decided to edit out the review linked in the original comment. Actually, I’ve never seen such a hate-filled book review in my entire life. I’m open to discussion across the lines of belief, but this just simply isn’t the right forum for it.]

    Comment by Steph McManis (@Ohwhoanoway) — May 25, 2018 @ 9:42 pm

    • Uh, okay then Paul. You must not read many reviews–or many books for that matter. You should see how fellow philosophers and scientists treat each other sometimes. In any case, frankly, I don’t really care. Clark threw a nasty cheap shot early on at atheists (indirectly) via David Bentley Hart. Hence my tone. “Hate-filled,” by the way, is overblown–and badly. It’s only because I easily trash his arguments that you say that. Seriously, grow a pair. Your response is simply embarrassing.

      Clark got what he deserved. He butchered and arguably lied about the views of people, scientific theories, arguments, and other religions in his book. I also suspect the real reason you edited out my link is because it makes you look like an ignoramus for writing such a glowing review. The arguments are on my side and you know it. You can catch me on Twitter here:

      Further engagement with you, however, is probably a waste of my time anyway. Start reading reputable biblical scholarship, philosophy of religion, etc, then maybe you’l be ready to engage informed skeptics. I won’t be commenting again. Farewell.

      P.S. You should see what Ravi Zacharias and many other Christian apologists have said about atheists throughout the years. But I’m sure you won’t look–and probably don’t care. Whatever. Enjoy your illusion.

      Comment by Steph McManis (@Ohwhoanoway) — May 26, 2018 @ 12:09 am

      • Isn’t it funny how you’re an atheist but you have such vitriol towards a Being you say doesn’t exit?

        I mean if your atheism is true and this is the only life you have because you can die tomorrow and yet you have nothing better to do with your time than argue and critique books from believers? Like seriously…you’re seriously doing this?

        You’re seriously wasting your life. I’m in no way saying, you should just “leave us alone” but you can’t even begin to live consistently with your own professed beliefs.

        Also, you have no right or justification for being upset at what Ravi and others have said about atheists. Bro, you believe you’re a highly evolved society of bacteria with no purpose, dignity, worth, or meaning. Please explain why you, as a society of bacteria, demand respect by other societies of bacteria?

        Comment by Justin B — July 30, 2018 @ 3:29 am

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