Neil Shenvi. Why Believe?: A Reasoned Approach to Christianity. Wheaton: Crossway, 2022. 272 pp.
Over the past few years, the name Neil Shenvi has become known among certain Christian circles. Shenvi, a PhD research scientist and homeschooling dad of four, has offered a great deal of helpful and gracious material regarding the issue of critical theory in a variety of arenas. So, when I saw that he was releasing an upcoming book offering a reasoned approach to the believability of Christianity, I immediately reached out to the publisher for my review copy. I was not disappointed!
In Why Believe, Shenvi takes his readers through a variety of thoughtful arguments that point to the reasonability and believability of the faith. Borrowing from thinkers such as C. S. Lewis, Shenvi challenges readers to seriously consider the claims of and about Jesus. Looking at science, Shenvi points to evidence for God in nature, even in astronomy. And, telling his own story, the author helps his readers to see how a reasonable, thoughtful, scientifically minded man moved from skepticism to belief.
As I read through this work, I found myself particularly enjoying the logical construction of Shenvi’s arguments. Perhaps this is because of his scientific background. Whatever the reason, I find that Shenvi’s writing is something I would not hesitate to recommend to a thoughtful person who is not sure about the veracity of the Christian claim. And, honestly, this is not something I would say about every apologetic text out there.
Understand what you are getting in picking up this book. Shenvi is not writing to solve every theoretical problem with the faith or to settle every objection potentially posed. This book is evidential apologetics and not presuppositional in nature—though Shenvi never attempts to find that elusive and nonexistent neutral starting point. He will not settle for you arguments about the age of the earth or the problem of evil. Instead, in many ways, Shenvi simply takes the objections to the faith that we often encounter and presents very reasonable responses to show that the faith is at least as credible as any alternative theory. For example, in response to naturalistic attempts to explain away the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, Shenvi points out that, when all evidence is weighed, the possibility of resurrection is only less likely if one assumes the impossibility of anything supernatural.
I happily recommend that believers interested in a new, clear, helpful evidential apologetics book pick up Shenvi’s work. Perhaps his words can open doors for skeptics to give consideration to the faith they assume to be illogical on its surface. Only the work of Almighty God can convert a soul, and I would certainly never suggest otherwise. But, perhaps the Lord will use these encouraging and well-reasoned arguments to at least make someone sit down and talk.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.