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Naked God: the truth about God exposed

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  1. Not the best Review / Tip by Shelby Burk

    Title: Naked God: The truth about God exposed

    Author: Martin Ayers

    Date I Finished Reading: May 30,2013

    My Rating: 2/5

    In this book Martin Ayers explores questions such as is there a God? Who was Jesus? How does this influence my life? And he does so in an attempt to persuade or encourage non-believers to follow the Christian faith. Having this knowledge, I was eager and curious to begin reading the book, hoping to find a great resource to pass on to others, Christians and non-Christians alike. However, the book was not what I had hoped it to be.

    There were a few different issues, or arguments that I had against this book. One would be that it seems Ayers uses very little scripture or outside resources to support his points, instead following the path of reasoning and logic. Now reasoning and logic is not necessarily a bad or negative thing, but I believe that when exploring a theological issue God’s word should be at the center of our thinking, and other people’s writings and thoughts can prove to strengthen the argument. This is why I was disappointed that so few scriptures appeared throughout the book.

    Another aspect of the book that I disliked was the fact that at one point Ayers promotes the belief that evolution and the big bang theory is in line with biblical teachings, and therefore can be true. I personally was turned away by this. Scripture points to God’s creation of the world through his words in a six-day process. This is not what evolution and the big bang theory teaches, and therefore they cannot both be right. I believe that God’s word is true and right in everything, including creation. This alone would prevent me from passing this book on to another, especially a non-believer, because I find that it could become very misleading.

    The final complaint that I have against this book would be that it does not seem to go very deep. I personally did not find anything in this book that was challenging or even thought-provoking. At the beginning of this book Ayers says that his goal was to remove assumptions and merely explore the truth about God, who He is and how it affects us. And although he does remain neutral, I feel as though not much was exposed, but merely the more obvious was stated.

    To sum it up, I wouldn’t recommend this book to another person, especially to a non-believer. I just feel that resources we pass on to others should contain and be supported by scripture. This book is not. I simply feel that the points presented in this book are basic, and do not go very deep, and that there are many other resources for Christians and non-Christians alike that would be more beneficial to read from and to study on this topic.

    Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, the opinions expressed are my own
    (Posted on 31/05/2013)

  2. Exploring Christianity without getting lost in the junk Review / Tip by Dave McDonald

    It seems winter has come early this year! I spent most of yesterday in front of our open fire reading Martin Ayers’ book Naked God. I’d had a few people recommend it, and I’ve been on the lookout for good books to give friends who are interested in finding out more about what genuine Christianity is all about. I found this a very readable and helpful book, and enjoyed reading it in a couple of sittings. If you are keen to begin exploring Christianity, without getting lost or distracted by all the junk that often gets added, then this book is a good starting point.

    A quote from the book explains the title and the aim of the book:

    In his famous book and TV series, The Naked Chef, it wasn’t Jamie Oliver who was naked, it was the food. Jamie Oliver succeeded in stripping down the food to its bare but glorious essentials.

    And that’s what we need to do with God. We need to look at the evidence and find out what it uncovers. We need to strip away any false ideas we’ve developed from our culture or background, and reveal the truth. This is the truth about God, exposed. This is Naked God.

    Martin Ayers begins by arguing a case for why the God question really matters at all. He does this by first considering the alternative – a world where there is no God – and what this means for our day to day lives. He probes the implications for meaning, purpose, freedom, morality, life and death. In the first part of the book he explores where atheism leads, drawing upon some of the claims of Richard Dawkins and others. His aim here is not to prove whether atheism is true or not, but simply to highlight the real implications of holding to this view of the world and the difficulties associated with seeking to live with a consistently ‘naturalistic’ way of life.

    The second part of Naked God focuses heavily on the historical person of Jesus. He defends this approach by highlighting the extraordinary life, teaching, and impact of Jesus. This focuses ultimately on Jesus’ unique claims to be, quite literally, God among us. His untimely death at a young age by crucifixion, and the claims by his followers that he had been raised from death, are shown to be the linchpin in understanding Jesus and his relevance for us. In doing this, he tackles problems people may have with the reliability of the New Testament, the transmission of manuscripts, and the claims to uniqueness over against other world religions. While this is a relatively brief book, the arguments are well made and references to more substantial works are offered to the serious researcher. Ayers also addresses the ‘gut reactions’ many have against Christianity, such as its perceived social regressiveness, or the taking away of personal freedom, or the appalling track record of many who claim to be followers of Jesus.

    The final section of the book speaks to the reader in a more personal way. Ayers explores the barriers we have to really knowing God. Importantly, he demonstrates that religious self-righteousness is just as big a blockage to relating to God as the choice by many to ignore God and shut him out of their lives. However, the book takes us beyond the problems and difficulties that stand in the way of knowing God, and invites us to take hold of what God is offering. And this is a genuine personal relationship with the One who made us. This relationship is shown to be a step into reality, not an escape into wishful thinking or myths and legends. It makes a big difference to life now, and beyond the shadows of death into eternity. (Posted on 25/11/2012)

  3. Naked God Review / Tip by Modelk66

    DISCLAIMER: I received an Advance Reader’s Copy of the book Naked God by Martin Ayers from Matthias Media Publishers in exchange for a publicized review of the book.

    Of all the books I have reviewed so far – and it isn’t many I know – this one has been the most disappointing. It is not a bad book nor is it full of errors. I guess I had hoped for more from the title. Ayers said his goal was to do with God what the “Naked Chef” has done with food. In other words, strip away all of the assumptions and added nomenclatures about God and reveal the plain and simple truth about God. He does encounter some of the atheistic points of view and their contentions, but I feel he doesn’t go quite far enough. He leads the reader through a series of chapters that instead of revealing the truth about God and letting the facts fall where they may, he leads to a direction where at the end of the book there is a chapter on salvation and even a “sinner’s prayer” to be prayed to become a Christian. While that is certainly fine, I just felt it gave the book a feel of more of a gimmick rather than a real breakdown of falsehoods and misgivings about God. There will be those who will never come to Christ outside of this book, and for that I say “To God be the Glory!!” I just feel he wound up in a different place than his title and goal suggested. It’s still a good place, but would have liked to have seen what the other place would look like. (Posted on 28/09/2012)

  4. Useful and Timely Review / Tip by Jenna Mayne

    I found Martin Ayers book 'Naked God' to be thought provoking, easy to understand and conclusive. I enjoyed the structure of the book and feel he adequately addressed the issues he put forth in a clear format. I would recommend this book to anyone as I believe the book has been written in such a way, it connects with all kinds of people whether they be Christian or Naturalists or whatever belief they may hold. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and it kept me engaged from start to finish.

    Full review: (Posted on 3/05/2012)

  5. Disappointing Review / Tip by Liz P

    I received a complementary copy of Naked God from Matthias Media as part of their Free For Bloggers program.

    Naked God, by Martin Ayers, is an evangelistic and apologetic book aimed at exposing the assumptions of naturalism and taking those assumptions to their logical conclusion, and offering God, and the person of Jesus, as an alternative.

    Part One, Chapters 1-6, describes the assumptions and beliefs of naturalism and takes these to their natural end. Ayers paints a picture of a life that is purposeless and meaningless, when founded on naturalism. He quotes from Richard Dawkins extensively when explaining the beliefs of naturalism.

    Part Two, Chapters 7-11, examine the person of Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures, specifically the gospels. He also examines common misconceptions about Jesus and refutes these, quoting from the Bible but also regularly from C.S. Lewis.

    Part Three, Chapters 12-15, look at the implications of beliving in Jesus and God. It discusses common objections to becoming a Christian, and talks about what becoming a Christian actually means.

    It was in Part Three that I had some serious difficulties with what Ayers said, in three instances: two regarding sin, and one regarding hell.

    On page 144, Ayers seems to be making light of getting drunk, and at least hinting that getting drunk is acceptable even for the Christian.

    Sin is not about the 'seven deadly sins', or those things that are 'naughty but nice', like getting drunk or eating chocolate.

    Ephesians 5:18 says "Do not get drunk on wine" (not that's it's ok to get drunk on beer either) and I cannot think of a single Scripture that supports the notion of getting drunk. The instances of drunkenness in the Bible lead to sin, as far as I can recall (such as Lot and his daughters in Genesis 19). Getting drunk impairs judgement and cannot be suggested to be appropriate for a Christian.

    On page 148, Ayers states that anger is a sin.

    God cares about wrongdoing far more than we can imagine. It's not just murder that matters to him, because getting angry is wrong as well. It's not just rape that matters to him, because lust is wrong as well.

    Lust, as understood in a Biblical sense is an uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness. Lust is always wrong. Anger, on the other hand, is not always wrong. Ephesians 4:26 exhorts us "In your anger do not sin", at least suggesting that it is possible to be angry and not sin. Jesus was angry when he threw the money changers out of the temple (Matthew 21), and we know that Jesus was without sin, so we know that anger does not equal sin.

    On page 171, Ayers describes hell in a way that I believe is contrary to what the Bible states about God.

    his (Jesus') descriptions of hell focus on the absence of all that is good. This is because God is profoundly absent from hell, and is the source of all that is good.

    While the residents of hell will not partake in God's goodness, I do not believe that God is absent from hell. God is omnipresent. God is everywhere; there is no where we can go and not be in God's presence (Psalm 139:7-12). God is present everywhere at all times. Instead of God's goodness, hell will be the place where God's wrath resides. Perhaps my views on hell are not the common ones however I know of no other way to reconcile the doctrines of hell and omnipresence.

    On the whole, I didn't enjoy the book. I found that the arguments would not convince someone who genuinely held these misconceptions particularly those in Part Three), although they would likely satisfy someone who was running through all the excuses they could think of as to why they shouldn't become a Christian. I would also say that the level of the book would be suited to university students and professionals rather than those who were poorly educated. I didn't find the book engaging and I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone I know. I am quite disappointed by this as it is the first Matthias Media book I've read that I haven't enjoyed. (Posted on 13/04/2012)

  6. Naked God for naturalists Review / Tip by David Burke

    Ayers, Martin (2010) Naked God – the truth about God exposed. Matthias Media; 184p plus further reading and endnotes

    Internal evidence gives a picture of this book’s author. He is young, English, male, enjoyed life at Cambridge and worked in corporate-level law. He is also someone who became a Christian believer at law school and whose life turned upside down as a result. That picture tells us about who the book will be most useful to – but, more on that later.

    Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef inspires the work of apologetics and evangelism. It aims to get back to basics on questions of Christian belief by a three-section discussion.

    • Part 1 (six chapters) strips philosophical naturalism bare and tracks the implications if we live in a closed-system universe where there is nothing outside the cosmos.

    • Part 2 (five chapters) strips Christianity back to its basics and has a good hard look at Jesus. Evidence and arguments for belief in him are considered and some common myths and supposed problems around him are considered.

    • Part 3 (four chapters) strips the reader bare by zeroing on in the key barrier to belief and giving a warm challenge and invitation to faith.

    Let’s look at Part 1. Ch 2 equates atheism with naturalism and sets up for the following chapters which track how freedom, knowledge, morality and purpose are lost if God is removed from the equation. The argument here is brief, effective and challenging. When preparing this review I was also reading Religion for Atheists by Alain De Botton. De Botton is an atheist who is trying to have the religious ‘icing’ of community, kindness, tenderness, beauty and such like but without the religious ‘cake’ on which they traditionally rest. Ayers argues that if there is no theistic ‘cake’ you can’t have the ‘icing’ and are left with a dark and miserable world.

    This is a good argument, although we can question Ayers’ simple equation of atheism with naturalism. Naturalism may be the main form of God-denial in the west, but it is not the only one and there are many alternates to Christian theism in the world at large. However, if the book is understood as an apologetic against naturalism, this problem is avoided. There is some material addressed to relativism but naturalism is the main target.

    Part 11 does a great job of presenting the faith. Ayers covers the evidence for the historical Jesus and shows Jesus in the fullness of the Bible’s claims about him. He tackles several misconceptions about Jesus and especially concerned to address reductionist and selective accounts of Jesus. For example, he insists that we can’t just pick and choose among the moral teachings of Jesus. Either all he said (including his self-claims about his identity) is believed or he has nothing worthwhile to say. This is a good re-working of CS Lewis’ familiar argument about Jesus being mad, bad or God.

    The final Part gently pushes readers to face the Jesus question rather than ignore it and just put the book down. Ayers presents Jesus as the only who can help humans with the otherwise unfathomable problem of guilt before God. Willing readers are carefully led through to a prayer of commitment. I really like the way this is followed by some material on getting started as a Christian: Ayers is looking for a lasting commitment to Christ, not just decisions for Christ.

    Now back to the author and the reader. This is a book for people like the author. I would gladly give it to thoughtful people whose context is modern western culture. It arises from that setting and well addressed to it. It presents Jesus in a manner designed to connect well with such folk and hopefully help them to connect to God through his Son.

    (David Burke has been in ministry since 1979 and teaches philosophy and world view in a theological college.)
    (Posted on 13/02/2012)

  7. Review Review / Tip by Alex Macdonald

    “Naked God” is a cracker, right from the word go: Easy to read and not too long, it is nevertheless hard-hitting.
    The reason this book is great is because it doesn't allow any room to dismiss it's concerns – the necessity of wrestling with the existence of God is hammered home.

    Section one (of 3) establishes our need to investigate God, by examining what it means if God does exist, and what it means if he doesn't. By exploring the logical results of atheism, (with reference to Dawkins etc) Ayers shows that there are real consequences for our lives. Delving into morality, truth, freedom and knowledge, Ayers is comprehensive whilst retaining his down-to-earth tone.

    Having brought us to the understanding that there ARE real consequences, Ayers investigates Jesus. He says that whilst people know of Jesus, their understanding is distorted through their view of the church, their childhood, pop culture and mainstream society. To make the all-important decision between God or atheism these layers must be peeled back until we see “Naked God” - as the cover says, we need “the truth about God exposed.” Ayers says it plainly - “Jesus claimed to be naked God.”

    The reasons why people ignore Christ are myriad, but Ayers debunks or discredits many such reasons (or excuses). Ayers deals with science, relativism (all roads lead to Rome), reliability of the bible, and history, among other objections to the gospel.

    This section really made the book for me – it considered things that other books fail to address (particularly how relativism, proclaiming itself as the tolerant solution to dispute, is presumptively guilty of it's own accusations). Equally interesting is Ayers's treatment of the classic CS Lewis trilemma (Liar, Lunatic or Lord), in which he provides a strong case for the latter based upon real people's responses to Christ.

    A look at the teaching and character of Christ, coupled as always with straightforward logic dispels many more myths.

    Finally, section 3 gets to the crunch – what will you decide? If someone has followed the logic consistently, they are left with 2 real options, and the evidence all seems to support one – evidence of history, logic and experience all point towards the fact that Christ is indeed God exposed, naked God, held up for all to examine.

    And not just figuratively. Christ was literally stripped down, and pinned up on a cross, for all to see. This final section wrenches us up out of the black hole we are left in after part 2. If all the evidence is correct, and logic serves us well, then we are inevitably dumped at the end of section 2 as sinners who are in a dire situation, facing death. “On our own, we all face hell.”

    The fact is, however, that this crucifixion and the resurrection that followed are a gift. The gospel is expounded clearly; what happens when one accepts Christ is explained. The concepts of justification, regeneration, sanctification by the Spirit and more are laid on the table.

    Ultimately, the reader is left with the option of following Christ.
    All Christians are called to spread the gospel and help others into relationship with Jesus. That is why this book is one I strongly recommend. As a Christian reaching out to others, its simple but extensive argument is one we would do well to know, and the book itself is written to a target audience who currently do not know God.

    “Naked God” is an easy yet powerful read that will force the reader to think hard about their philosophy, and I have every confidence in it (alongside the Bible, of course!) as an effective ministry tool. (Posted on 9/02/2012)

  8. The Truth About God Exposed Review / Tip by John Brand

    If the proof that you understand something complicated is that you can communicate it with simplicity, former lawyer Martin Ayers has a very good understanding of some of the most profound and important truths. In this, his first book, a mixture of apologetics and evangelism, he presents the case for the Gospel to the sceptical and even largely disinterested unbeliever who “might still need persuading that this really matters.” As Jamie Oliver did with food, so Ayers seeks to do with the truth about God; “strip away any false ideas we’ve developed from our culture or background, and find the truth. This is the truth about God exposed. This is Naked God.”

    The book is divided into three parts – the first, Naked God, arguing why the existence of God matters, highlighting the emptiness and illogicality of naturalism; the second, Naked Jesus, looking at the evdience for who Jesus was, based on his claims, works, death and resurrection; the third, Naked You, turns the spotlight on the reader, addressing the need to respond to the evidence presented and stating clearly how the unsaved man or woman stands in relation to God.

    One of the problems faced by apologists and evangelists as much as anyone else is stating momentous truth in a simple way while avoiding being simplistic. Generally speaking Ayers achieves that. I felt that his final section on repentance could have gone a bit deeper, especially in the area of sorrow for sin, but perhaps his intention is that having given the book to a friend, you will then have an opportunity to follow up with a conversation which can elaborate where necessary.

    One thing that did concern me was the statement which followed a specimen prayer of repentance and commitment, in which Ayers says, “If you have prayed that prayer, then you have become a Christian.” I believe that’s an unhelpful and even dangerous word of assurance to give in such circumstances.

    The tone is very engaging, its completely free of jargon and, all in all, I would recommend the book. I am even thinking of a suitable person to give a copy to for Christmas.

    For the purpose of review, I received a complimentary copy of the book from the Publishers. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. (Posted on 14/11/2011)

  9. Naked God Review / Tip by Shih Ying GUN

    To be honest, I was a little alarmed when I first came across the title of Martin Ayers' book. The bold combination of the words "naked" and "God" - surely Martin had good reasons to put them together?

    Indeed he has, as he exposes to the reader the truth about God by stripping away false ideas, hence the concept of "nakedness". Divided into 3 parts (Naked Truth, Naked Jesus, Naked You), Martin cleverly navigates the reader to first evaluate and correct the common misconceptions surrounding the origin of life, true freedom, knowledge and morality. By examining propositions put forth by atheists and naturalists, the reader is made to uncover for themselves the existence of God.

    The reader is then ushered into the next section to investigate who this God is by taking a closer look at the man Jesus who claims to be the Son of God. The Bible is well-quoted to demonstrate Jesus' true self to the reader. This section also answers with 3 common objections that the reader may have in accepting the implications that Jesus is the Christ He claims to be: Isn't His teaching socially regressive? Don't His followers have a disgraceful track record? Won't He take away my freedom?

    In the final section, the reader is prompted to make a choice as Martin takes an evangelistic approach to explain faith and repentance. The assurance of the future for a Christian is also emphasized as the commonly misconstrued concept of heaven and hell is demystified. A prayer is also included for the reader who chooses to live a new life in Christ.

    Packed with real evidence, illustrations and metaphors, Martin uses simple language to help the reader relate to his writings and understand the truth about God. An easy yet challenging read, Naked God is particularly helpful for the non-Christian investigating God but also lends a hand to the believer in further strengthening his/her faith.

    Looking forward to laying your hands on a copy of Naked God? Order one today (or order more to give away to your friends!) from Matthias Media at where you can also sample the first chapter for free.
    (Posted on 15/10/2011)

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