Reasons to Believe: One Man's Journey Among the Evangelicals and the Faith He Left Behind

From a veteran journalist and former 60 Minute s producer comes an intimate portrait of evangelicals, one of the most influential forces in America today, and the story of how this lapsed believer came to terms with his faith. "In 2003, while on assignment for 60 Minutes , I interviewed a couple for a piece on the Left Behind series, the bestselling Christian novels about the apocalypse. At the end of that meeting, they asked me a question: would I be left behind? In other words, had I accepted Jesus as my savior or would I go to hell? This book represents the answer to that question.". Born again at age sixteen, John Marks later abandoned his faith. In Reasons to Believe he attempts to cross a deep cultural barrier to understand those who now condemn his way of life. He grapples with the message that millions of evangelicals attempt to deliver to their fellow citizens every day and speaks at length with missionaries, political activists, theologians, Christian musicians, and filmmakers—the rich and powerful, the poor and broken, and the pastors who have turned small congregations into megachurches. This is familiar and often comforting territory for Marks, and he still has a profound understanding of what it means to be an evangelical. In Reasons to Believe he presents this world from the inside out.

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By Carrie (envinoveritas) (Warrenville, IL) · ★★★☆☆ · September 07, 2010
John Marks is an exceptionally compassionate journalist with a powerful message in this book. I chose the book because stories about abandoned faith revisted interest me, perhaps because it's such an unsettled question in my mind.

Spoilers below

My favorite part of the book was the conclu... ...more
By Kristi (Frisco, TX) · ★★★★☆ · May 27, 2012

A beautifully poignant book, it was, at times, profoundly painful for me to read. John Marks is a man who lost his faith, first in Christ then in the existence of God. There is an air of suppressed rage towards evangelicalism and yet that rage coincides with both respect and, dare I say it, love... ...more
By Kaye (The United States) · ★★☆☆☆ · April 10, 2008
John Marks is a former "born-again" Christian and US News & World Report reporter. Given the first credential, I find it pleasing that he was able to interview Christians with such equanimity. He wasn't overtly critical, and was able to separate the people from the beliefs that he found dista... ...more
By Jessica (Venice, CA) · ★☆☆☆☆ · May 02, 2008
This was the worst-written book I've ever really wanted to read. Many many sentences simply did not make sense, and I eventually had to abandon it entirely. Like, take this, which was the start of a new section (so we hadn't heard anything about his counsins, etc.):

"A few years ago, in central Te... ...more
By Doug (The United States) · ★★★☆☆ · August 25, 2014
For all his digging into the mind of Christianity, Marks starts and ends with his own presuppositions and preconceived notions. Having once had faith he claims to have lost, he writes as an insider of sorts in order to explain but not apologize for Christian traditions, beliefs and it's many quir... ...more
By Kim (Milledgeville, GA) · ★★★☆☆ · September 04, 2010
Marks clearly explained the "levels" of Christianity that are prevalent in the USA. Having been at one time or another involved in all of those levels I could appreciate his desire to share how he has been personally affected by their influence. He certainly took an in-depth look at the evangelic... ...more
By Cbpax (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · April 20, 2008
Mr. Marks visits/revisits all the evangelicals he knows about or has previously met in his life's journey. From his life's journey he concludes that he can no longer believe in God. Not yet anyway. (Based on the amount of evil in the world that he has seen basically and I know that this is just a... ...more
By Michael (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · April 30, 2008
I've read a few of the recent crop of books from the "New Atheists" (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett), and, while I enjoyed them each to differing degrees, I found this title by John Marks to be a more even statement along the same lines. Highly recommended, especially for people who have... ...more
By Angela (Canada) · ★★★★☆ · May 02, 2012
For anyone who has ever had a "born again" experience, this is a must read. For those who have no first hand knowledge of the evangelical world, this gives a very clear picture of what that world looks like. I found Marks' story to be gripping in an unexpected way as I felt the suspense rise almo... ...more
By Laura (Chicago, IL) · ★★★★☆ · May 07, 2008
A friend of mine recommended this book to me (the author is a Davidson grad) and I soon found myself struggling to put it down. This was the first time I've taken a more "academic" look at Evangelical Christianity, and while John Marks certainly has a biased perspective, I think he painted a real... ...more