Michael Kruger’s new book, Surviving Religion 101, is a book written for Christians going through college. It is no secret that many campuses today in the United States and elsewhere are rather hostile to the claims of Christianity. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Christian students to be singled out and ridiculed for their faith in these settings. It may be that Christians will have to avoid some colleges and universities for these reasons. But for those followers of Christ who are in college or about to start, this book is a good one.
Surviving Religion 101 is basically an apologetics book that covers topics such as truth, morality, sexuality, evil, scientific claims, New Testament documents, and so on. Kruger wrote each chapter as if it were a letter to his daughter about to start college. Although some might appreciate that perspective, for me it seemed a bit tacky. The book could’ve been shorter and more straightforward if it weren’t written as a series of letters. But it’s still an excellent book. Here’s one helpful section about relativism that I highlighted:
Relativism, therefore, is the equivalent of saying something like “All sentences are false.” But if all sentences are false, then that very sentence is also false.
Incredibly, most relativists don’t see the enormous inconsistency in their own position. Consider this statement by the popular Indian spiritualist Sri Chinmoy: “False religions will find fault with other religions; they will say that theirs is the only valid religion and their prophet is the only savior. But a true religion will feel that all the prophets are saviors of mankind.” Essentially, Chinmoy is saying it is wrong to tell other religions that they are wrong. But isn’t he doing the very thing he forbids? He’s telling all those religions that claim to be right that they’re wrong. Indeed, he even calls them “false religions”! It makes little sense to try others for being intolerant and dogmatic if you turn around and do it yourself.
Here’s the main point: in order for relativists to condemn others for making absolute truth claims, they must make their own absolute truth claims (namely, that there are no absolute truths). Thus, what seemed to be a humble position ends up being as dogmatic and absolutist as the positions it condemns.
Although this book is meant for college students, other Christians will benefit from it for sure. I’m very much enjoying it. I do believe that it might be a bit of a difficult read for Christians who aren’t advanced readers. There are quite a few names and terms in the book that could be overwhelming for some readers. But the good thing is that each chapter is independent. You can skip around in the book and read the chapters that interest you. All in all I very much recommend this book for all Christians, especially those in a school setting where the claims of Christianity are doubted and attacked.
Michael Kruger, Surviving Religion 101 (the above quotes are found on p. 59).
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015