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Review of Persuasions by Douglas Wilson

Douglas Wilson’s book, Persuasions is a collection of short parables involving the character Evangelist, who meets various people in a variety of situations all having one thing in common. They are all walking the one Road toward the Abyss. The Master of the City tried to give warning to the travelers, but many ignored them. One man known only as the Evangelist meets these travelers. With what seems to them as almost otherworldly ability he sees right to the heart of the individuals and can share with them the truth about their journey.  Some of the people whom Evangelist encounters seem significantly impacted by his insight and profound revelatory words, others offended, while yet others just ignore and keep walking on. 

Persuasions deal with some very pertinent issues facing humanity today, Immorality, Feminism, Atheism, Marriage, Hypocrisy, Evolution, and other topics. Each issue discussed is done with articulation and a firm understanding in a manner that engages the reader to think as well as respond all in the same paragraph. 

Chapter title:

Mark- Atheism


Chapter summary:

Mark, a seemingly intelligent atheist is walking on the road when he encounters Evangelist. What follows is their discussion as to the validity of reason and the cogency of the argument Mark posed, to prove his perspective. Mark believes that by definition, Creation is a fairy tale. However, he is quickly given a question that sends his prior conception of reality into question. “How can time, and chance, acting on matter, produce reason?” What follows in the chapter clearly shows Mark the fallacy of his thought process and his notion of the believability of the existence of God.

Chapter flow of thought

“I don’t have time for fairy tales” Evangelist smiled.  “Neither do I.” The idea that belief in God equates to fairy tales is a common objection given by atheists. Persuasions doesn’t let the reader get bogged down in bad argumentation nor does it evade the questions posed by Mark, the Atheist. According to him, reason has always been thought to be the sole bastion of reality, as well as the proprietary realm of the atheist and not visited by the Christian. However, Evangelist shows Mark how his reasoning fails on his grounds and under its own merits; simply put, his reasoning for reason is unreasonable. 

Evangelist gets to the truth of the matter concerning the atheist plane of thought by uncovering its core of nihilism. Once he exposes the fallacy of Mark’s reliance on the very subject with which he dismisses God, Mark has only the truth that his denial of God is unreasonable. 

He is left with one more thought by Evangelist as he continues walking on the road, which is if there is no reasoning left to rebel against God, he must then be faced with the fact of his sinful nature. And that his only real reason for continuing to deny God is that he wishes rather not to live according to the way God insists that we live. Mark’s final comment is that Evangelist is presupposing the existence of God, to which Evangelist simply replies almost knowingly, “certainly.” 


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