I have just finished reading God’s Problem by Bart D. Ehrman, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His earlier book, Misquoting Jesus, made the New York Times bestseller list. A former fundamentalist, Ehrman graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, did graduate work at Wheaton College (Billy Graham’s alma mater), and obtained a doctorate at Princeton Theological Seminary. Slowly over the years, he lost his faith in Christianity. His new book explains why. It is the latest in a surprising spate of books defending atheism. The book’s subtitle is How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer.

If we lacked free will, Gilbert Chesterton liked to say, there is no point in thanking someone for passing the mustard.

Like all writers on the topic (theist,...


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