Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler have done a good job of taking the belief pulse of today’s teens. Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door is their book for this age group. It identifies and refutes 42 commonly held beliefs about Christianity in an attempt to “…discuss common myths, many of which people accept without thinking, and evaluate them in the light of the Bible.” (Introduction, Kindle Location 184.)
The book is broadly divided into six subject sections: Myths about God, Jesus, the Bible, the Resurrection, Religion and Christianity, and Life and Happiness. Each chapter within those sections deals with one myth.
The short chapters have colorful titles with descriptive subtitles, making it easy to locate chapters by subject (e.g. “The Luke Skywalker God — the Impersonal Force Myth"; "Lily-White Jesus–The Racist Myth” etc.). Each begins with a captivating anecdote or example. The writing style is snappy and the authors come to their signature conclusion, “But that’s a myth” efficiently and without beating around the bush. Each chapter ends with a “Brain Food” section—a deeper look at what the Bible says about the chapter’s subject.
Don't Check Your Brains has a lot going for it. It does a good job of tapping into common perceptions and beliefs about Christianity. The anecdotes and examples that begin each chapter are interesting and pull the reader in. The authors cite a variety of supporting sources and illustrations, from the quotes of famous theologians to illustrations from sports and entertainment. The “Brain Food” section makes excellent use of the Bible, employing a variety of assignment types (reading, fill in the blanks, checking the right response, character analysis, story analysis etc.).
However, there were a few things I didn’t get. For example, I wondered why the authors chose the order they did for handling these myths. They began with myths about God and Jesus, which they debunked using, among other things, lots of passages from the Bible — and this before they established the credibility and reliability of the Bible, which wasn’t addressed till Chapter 9. It seemed that a more logical order would have been to deal first with the Relativity Myth (Chapter 18) to establish the possibility of the existence of objective truth, then the myths about the Bible to lay the foundation of the Bible as a possible purveyor of that truth, and then the other subjects.