What to Get the Atheists on Your Christmas List

Book cover for "Cross Examined" by Bob SeidenstickerThe toughest people on your Christmas list—it’s always the atheists, right?

You can give a Jesus Dressup refrigerator magnet.  Or a Darwin Fish car sticker.  Or a Buddy Christ dashboard statue.  But let me suggest something that’s a little more intellectual.

My new book, Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey is now available at Amazon.  I wrote my first notes about this project over eight years ago, so I’m pretty excited to finally be able to share it with you.

While many books defend the atheist position, this book takes a fictional approach to tough counter-apologetics arguments.  Indeed, the intellectual debate nearly becomes another character within the story.

The book targets two audiences.  First, I want to give thoughtful Christians something to think about and to encourage complacent Christians to critique the foundations of their religion.  Many Christian leaders make exactly this point, that they too want to push Christians to think.  I think of the book as an intellectual workout—a taxing project, perhaps, but one that leaves the reader a stronger person.

Second, I want to reach atheists who might enjoy approaching these intellectual arguments in fiction rather than in the usual nonfiction form.

The book is set in Los Angeles in 1906, in an odd new church that is suddenly world famous.  The pastor’s prediction of imminent disaster had been front-page news the day before the great San Francisco earthquake—true story.  Here’s the back-cover summary:

In 1906, three men share a destiny forged by a prophecy of destruction.  That prophecy comes true with staggering force with the San Francisco earthquake and fire, and young assistant pastor Paul Winston is cast into spiritual darkness when his fiancée is among the dead.  Soon Paul finds himself torn between two powerful mentors: the charismatic pastor who rescued him from the street and an eccentric atheist who gradually undercuts Christianity’s intellectual foundation.

As he grapples with the shock to love and faith, Paul’s past haunts him.  He struggles to retain his faith, the redemptive lifesaver that keeps him afloat in a sea of guilt.  But the belief that once saved him now threatens to destroy the man he is becoming.

Paul discovers that redemption comes in many forms.  A miracle of life.  A fall from grace.  A friend resurrected.  A secret discovered.  And maybe, a new path taken.  He realizes that religion is too important to let someone else decide it for him.  The choice in the end is his—will it be one he can live with?

Cross Examined challenges the popular intellectual arguments for Christianity and invites the reader to shore them up … or discard them. Take the journey and see where it leads you.

Buy copies for those hard-to-buy-for friends who would enjoy a different approach to the Christian/atheist debate.  It’s guaranteed to be far more intellectually stimulating than a refrigerator magnet or a Buddy Christ dashboard statue (and less cliché than frankincense or myrrh).  Thanks!

Bob Seidensticker