Atheism on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Case for Unbelief, By W. Mark Lanier alt

Atheism on Trial

A Lawyer Examines the Case for Unbelief

by W. Mark Lanier

Atheism on Trial
  • Length: 216 pages
  • Published: January 25, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0227
  • ISBN: 9781514002278

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In the courtroom, lawyers depend on rules of evidence to make their arguments. A case is made by establishing certain facts from which proof can be determined. But what happens when the truth seems to be a matter of faith? Can the legal mind discern the validity of one's belief or unbelief?

Nationally recognized trial lawyer Mark Lanier turns his analytical mind to the arguments for atheism and agnosticism. With critical thinking and precision of thought, he examines the rationales made for unbelief and assesses them on their own terms, finding points of strength and weakness in their logic and coherence. He considers whether atheistic frameworks give satisfactory and consistent explanatory answers for understanding human existence and the world around us. He cross-examines the strongest arguments of prominent atheists and also interrogates the questions of agnostics as to whether God is knowable. Through his evenhanded, levelheaded approach, Lanier challenges us all to decide for ourselves what we believe.

"Steeped in the legal profession, adept at assessing evidence, skilled in careful argument, the author clearly takes with sober seriousness truth, the rules of logic, and the dictates of fair play. This happy conjunction enables the book to showcase a powerful legal mind applying his trade and prodigious gifts to questions of enduring importance and matters that matter. The book provides a valuable apologetic contribution to our fraught cultural moment. Lanier's consistent commitment to clear definition, reasonable inference, and uncommon common sense serve as a refreshing corrective to the poor inferential habits, selective evidence, and confirmation bias ubiquitous today. Enthusiastically recommended."

David Baggett, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for the Foundations of Ethics at Houston Baptist University

"For too long Christian belief has been subjected to uncritical scrutiny. Finally Mark Lanier, a lawyer of the first order, places disbelief before the bar. This book is a fair and balanced legal proceeding against the point of view that denies the existence of God and the redemptive results of faith on our culture."

Michael Card, writer, songwriter

"When trial lawyer Mark Lanier steps into the courtroom, the case for atheism dissolves. Like a well-prepared, determined prosecutor, Lanier goes on the attack and leaves the atheist defenseless. The reader will sit in the jury box and find atheism guilty. Even more, Lanier makes a case for faith. This book is compelling."

Jerry Root, professor emeritus, Wheaton College

"This book effectively lays out the wide-ranging, relevant evidence for the biblical God while exposing atheism's consistent failure to explain the way things are in the world. Of particular interest is that a seasoned, highly acclaimed lawyer takes the reader through it step by step, drawing on his own experience and illustrating how rules of evidence work. The book is an engaging, fascinating, and illuminating read."

Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University and author of Loving Wisdom: A Guide to Philosophy and Christian Faith

"A leading trial lawyer assesses the role of evidence in atheism, agnosticism, and Christianity. This is a witty, very engaging, and original contribution to one of the great debates of our age. Highly recommended."

Alister McGrath, professor of science and religion at Oxford University

"In Atheism on Trial, Mark Lanier has produced a clear, concise, and worthy companion to Christianity on Trial. With the sensibilities and skills that come with being one of the most successful trial lawyers in US history, Lanier carefully dissects and deconstructs the arguments posed by advocates of atheism and its more congenial sister, agnosticism. After closing arguments, the underpinnings of atheistic philosophy are found wanting, and a case for the Christian faith prevails."

David B. Capes, senior research professor at the Lanier Theological Library

"Mark Lanier embarks on a comprehensive and methodical examination of this subject matter as only one of America's great trial attorneys can. Do not read this book if you are looking for a superficial, feel-good, storybook faith journey. Using the great American courtroom as a backdrop, Lanier succeeds very well in gathering evidence, analyzing testimony, and presenting a case to a jury that will persuade the believer and nonbeliever alike into some compelling soul searching."

John Ashcroft, US Attorney General, 2001–2005

Read an Excerpt


1. A Legal Primer
2. Opening Statement
3. Atheism and the Burden of Proof
4. Atheist Arguments
5. Agnosticism, Evidence, and the Big Questions
6. Morality, Beauty, and Justice
7. Human Dignity and Significance
8. The Problem of Suffering
9. The Invisible God
10. Science and Faith
11. Evolution
12. Closing Argument


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W. Mark Lanier

W. Mark Lanier (JD, Texas Tech University) is an attorney, author, teacher, pastor, and expert story teller. He founded the Lanier Law Firm and has received numerous awards such as the American Association of Justice's Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Trial Lawyers Association's Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. Mark has appeared in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as on news shows on CNBC, Fox Business News, ABC, and other networks. He is the author of Christianity on Trial and Atheism on Trial and is the founder of the Christian Trial Lawyers Association. He also teaches a weekly, 750-plus-member Sunday school class focusing on biblical literacy.