Mary Eberstadt Ignatius Press 2010-03-01

Fictional character twenty-five-year-old A. F. Christian has converted to atheism. Through disinterest in her Roman Catholic upbringing, a university education, some drugs, her “idiotosaurus” boyfriend Lobo, an abortion, and a full diet of the New Atheism, a spunky young writer with total enthusiasm has left the Dulls (those religious people) and joined the Brights. In ten letters this buoyant correspondent sets out to inform Dawkins, Dennent, Harris, Hitchens, and company how they might improve a bit on their atheist arguments. She was feeling a little left out as a woman in what feels like a white male lodge, so she set out to help her dear “Awesome Leading Atheist Idols” (as one letter begins) understand why a lot of people do not find their arguments especially convincing and do not like them either—notably women, children, and families.

Author Eberstadt is not a twenty-five-year-old. As a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, consulting editor to Policy Review, and contributor to a host of national publications, she has led a distinguished political and editorial career since the 1980s, including serving as a special assistant to the United States ambassador to the United Nations and a speech writer for the United States Secretary of State. A conservative scholar and Roman Catholic by conviction, the author is a strong defender of human dignity (from conception) and the freedom of religion.

None of this is in the least evident (at first) in this hilarious, “wickedly witty satire” on the New Atheists, in which it seems that raising her four teenagers provided the basis for her vocabulary. The ten letters were originally published in National Review online. And while readers may find some of the language over the top or certain themes worn a bit thin, the book forcefully and repeatedly drives home intellectual arguments for the superiority of Christianity over a morally bankrupt atheism. Compared by some to C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, The Loser Letters will keep readers laughing, while learning with every page.

About the Contributors

J. Scott Horrell

Scott Horrell, Th.D, until recently was Senior Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and continues as adjunct professor at DTS (including the DMin Brazil program), the Seminário Teológico Centroamericano (DET/PhD SETECA) in Guatemala, the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (Amman), and the Centro de Desenvolvimento de Liderança in Maputo, Mozambique. Most of his ministry years have been outside the US and centered on theological education and pastoral training especially in basic doctrines of the faith. While teaching at several schools in Brazil he was coordinator of graduate studies at the Baptist Theological Seminary in São Paulo, and co-founder/editor of Vox Scripturae, at that time the largest Protestant journal in Latin America. He has written and contributed to various books and written multiple articles in Portuguese and English, notably From the Ground Up: Biblical Foundations for the 21st Century Church (Kregel 2004), Exploring Christian Theology, Vol 1, eds. N. Holsteen and M. Svigel (Bethany, 2014), and A Trindade, a Igreja, e a Realidade Social (2021). His current writing centers on the doctrine of the Trinity, the supernatural world, and human personhood.  


His wife Ruth, children, and eight grandchildren currently reside in Dallas and Houston.