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The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  707 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
In the history of the Western World, the Bible has been a perpetual source of inspiration and guidance for countless Christians. However, this Bible has also left a trail of pain. It is undeniable that the Bible is not always used for good. Sometimes the Bible can seem overtly evil. Sometimes its texts are terrible.

Bishop John Shelby Spong boldly approaches those texts tha
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 12th 2005 by HarperOne (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,375)
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Lee Harmon
Mar 17, 2011 Lee Harmon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle of this book is Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love. I read this book a few years back, and the reason it came to mind today is because I am feeling overwhelmed by the aggressiveness of anti-Bible crusaders. Unquestionably, there are many passages in the Bible that are not only questionable theology, but downright appalling. Unquestionably, there are “Christians” today who pounce on these texts in order to promote discrimination or oppression. But the majori ...more
Jun 11, 2012 Patrick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read this years ago after reading about it in the paper. He "debunks" the Bible as a man-made text full of sexism and obvious untruth.

I think he had many errors in both research and logic, but I can respect the man's position to not believe. What I cannot respect is his masquerading as a religious person. He's a bishop and apparently ministers to congregations. His last chapters are about how there is no man in the sky to listen to our prayers; mankind must solve our own problems.

Go be an acade
Jan 30, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In general, when I read John Shelby Spong, I am tremendously impressed with his grasp of the breadth and depth of the material and his ability to tell the story in such a straightforward, courageous, no-holds-barred fashion as well as in a very accessible style. He speaks my language, so to speak. In fact, he says/writes plainly and boldly what he thinks, and so often my response is "Yes, exactly; why have we Christians been so slow...perhaps see/say the obvious?"

The gist of this
Nov 29, 2011 kingshearte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
This book had some very interesting perspectives on a variety of topics, and I bet it has pissed a lot of people off. I think a lot what Spong has to say is quite valid though.

First and foremost is his assertion that the Bible is not, and never has been, the literal word of god. This is a belief I have held for a long time. God did not set pen to paper (or chisel to stone) and write this book. Men wrote this book. Even if we accept the notions that it was written as a result of divine inspiratio
Robert Bason
Jul 16, 2016 Robert Bason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a recoverng fundamentalist Christian (I fully understand that one is always "recovering" from any addiction), I decided to read this book I guess to make sure that I was right in my decision years ago to throw over my childhood training - or maybe just to get some reassurance and support - sort of like going to an AA meeting I suppose - to find friends and support to stay on the path towards wholeness, health and freedom. I got all of that from Spong's book.
Religious fundamentalism in all of
Jul 01, 2012 Cate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? I love Spong. There is much to rejoice about - and learn from - a person who earnestly, courageously, seeks to explore his faith without shying away from the ugly truths and inconsistencies in the institutionalised structures and dangerous dogma that lead to so much wrong being done in the name of God.
Mar 28, 2013 Kaci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I have had this book on my shelf for a number of years, but had only briefly browsed through it on occasion. I had originally purchased it when I was feeling particularly separated from the Church, and, I thought, God. I have since come to terms with the fact that my beliefs do not necessarily reflect the Church I grew up in, and that surprisingly, I feel closer to God because of it.

With all of the hub-bub surrounding the monumental Human Rights cases before the Supreme Court this week, I sat d
Jeremy A
The author offers his analysis and thoughts on some of what he calls the Bible's "terrible texts" which have been used by too many Christians as justification for judgmental/hateful attitudes and actions. As a Christian who is in a personal battle to separate the essence of beauty in Chritianity from all of the violence and oppression that has come out of these texts, I found it to be a worthwhile read and to offer serious challenges to some of the assumptions and beliefs I carry. I don't share ...more
Dec 28, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: progressive Christians
Shelves: religion
This is one of the many progressive Christian books I've read by Spong, Borg, Crossin, Armstrong, et. al.

Spong doesn't pull any punches and flat out points out the hateful and down-right evil parts of Christian scripture out there and how a modern person can reconsile oneself with it. These scriptures were all written by violent ancient people who really had no real understanding of the world they lived in. When you take the cultural crap out of it, the wisdom teachings can be very instructive.
Dec 31, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it
I much preferred this book to another of Spong's I read a few months ago, even though this one also contains some of the same irritating prose qualities as the other one, like long lists of rhetorical questions and overused exclamation points. I found that stuff much easier to look over in this book, though, perhaps because the chapters are so focused and short. Many of them pack quite a punch, and really get at the heart of what is wrong with fundamentalist/mainline Christianity today and how i ...more
Sep 08, 2008 tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you deal with people who like to use the bible to put you in your place, this book is your ammunition for fighting back. It's not hard to catch a bible-quoter in a contradiction, so that's the easiest part of this book. What I appreciate is the repeated argument against the bible as the Word of God and the repeated illustration of how it is simple a collection of stories that reflect the time, place, and authors of it's origin. If more Christians saw the bible as literature, we'd all be bette ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Charlie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Early in this book it becomes apparent that the author may not be the “deeply committed Christian” he claims to be, as much as he is a charlatan...

At page 25, Spong makes the assertion of what constitutes a disciple of Jesus: “We are to build a world inwhich every person can live more fully, love more wastefully and be all that God intends each person to be.” Well, that’s nice: but the reader is ultimately left abandoned with the incredulity of Spong’s following chapters which proceed to isolat
Feb 01, 2009 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book. Spong is a great writer and has a great understanding of what Christianity should be. He carefully discusses the uses and abuses to which the Bible has been used for centuries. Anyone who wants to see Christianity mature and shed its discriminating past should read this book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interesting in seeing Christianity become more than what it it.
Bob Buice
The “Word of God” commanded the original residents of the earth to “be fruitful and multiply”, as a way of populating the newly created earth. Now, that command is still being promoted by certain religious groups. Certain denominations are opposing the use of birth control. All of this despite the potential disaster to the earth from overpopulation. The “Word of God” has been quoted to support this. The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church today refuse to ordain women and certai ...more
Oct 29, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book, one I wish more Christians should read. Spong makes many good arguments as to the Bible and how we interpret it. He does not disparage the Creator in any way. He is only asking people to reexamine a book written by man.
Dec 28, 2007 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book written by a devout Christian looking to save his religion from doing more harm than good. In doing so he makes many beautiful points, which even a non-Christian like myself can appreciate.
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
I've read many Spong books, and they all tend to overlap quite a bit. I wish that he'd space his books out a bit more so that he isn't repeating himself so much. This book was novel mostly in the organization. He looks at several ways in which biblical texts have been used to exclude, kills, and hate, and he demonstrates how even though these texts *are* in the bible, it is possible to refute them while still remaining a Christian. Some of the things he says are rather outlandish. In the chapter ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Lara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow! Another eye-opener! Someone who supports what I've been saying for a long time: the Bible was written by MEN not by God and it is an attempt to put our understanding of God into human words, which is not possible. The Bible is actually a history of the Jewish people and should not be taken literally. When people take it literally it leads to hatred and unacceptance. Jesus was a MAN, not some divine being, but he taught LOVE of ALL people, no matter what creed, religion, sexual orientation, ...more
Mark Payne
Apr 24, 2012 Mark Payne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. The section on Women and the Bible bordered on brilliance.
Steve Goble
May 30, 2013 Steve Goble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
A thought-provoking look at the Bible, and well worth a look.
Dec 13, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with a lot of what this author says about the verses that have justified homophobia, sexism, and various other social ills and agree they need to be looked at in context and just disregarded. However, when he moves into redefining the basic tenants of Christianity, it was both interesting and puzzling. His ideas are worth a read but not sure if they will ever be implemented, or if they should be. Still, very good read and nice to see someone speak out against the hatred that homosexuals, ...more
Nov 05, 2008 Dollie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
the title intrigues me greatly!
Patricia Joynton
Just trying to figure it out.
Jul 08, 2016 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spong investigates and discusses Biblical texts that have been and are used by many Christians to discriminate, oppress and even murder, distorting the truth of Christianity and the love of God. Spong surveys great conflicts in Western history through the lens of Biblical texts and highlights the history of the construction of the Bible. A deeply committed Christian and Episcopal bishop, Spong is led by his insights to radical conclusions about the nature of the Bible and the future of religion. ...more
Choong Chiat
Sep 24, 2011 Choong Chiat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides a highly thought-provoking and incisive criticism of how certain passages in the Bible have and continue to be cited by many as justifying "sins" such as the oppression of women, homosexuals and non-believers.

On top of this, towards the end, the author of this book also sketches out his vision of a Christianity which will be much more inclusive, tolerant and progressive.

While I, as a free thinker, am highly supportive of what has been put forth in this book, I cannot help but
Jan 21, 2010 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bible quoters & Bible haters, and those who don't know which side they belong to
Shelves: religion
A good book with a thesis that should be the subject of more authors' attention. Spong enjoins us to approach the Bible as an epic written by men and to seek within this epic those aspects of the Christian faith that are genuine eternal truths: kindess, love, the other, God as the force of nature (not as a doting parent), etc. I appreciated that breath of fresh air and honesty with himself and facts. However, his arguments about particular "sins of scripture" are not rock solid, and I interprete ...more
Jun 04, 2008 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
This book was a difficult start for me, but I found it to be one of the best books I've read in the last couple of years. This book examines some of the passages from the Bible that have been used to justify certain positions and attitudes that are hurtful towards particular groups of people. I thought that this book had the most compelling argument that the passages regarding homosexuality as a sin are not the word of God. I especially liked the concluding chapters that talk about how the Bible ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In light of recent events and the push for Christianity into politics and government, this is a well thought out Christian book on where we get it wrong. An antidote for fundamentalism.
Oct 13, 2013 Clorush rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Christians who retained their brain after being 'born again'
Recommended to Clorush by: richard dawkins The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins said in his The God Delusion that religious readers who open his book will be atheists when they put it down.

Well, his book was exciting and wonderful, but I'm still a Christian. You don't leave religion easily after been attracted to it for 3 years.I decided to read this book, which was mentioned by Dawkins himself in The God Delusion.

And now I'm convinced to keep my Christian identity maybe for about another fifty years.

It's hard to put into words the feelings that I felt when
Dec 09, 2007 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book got me going to church again (as an episcopalian). a long time ago i went to church as a southern baptist and it was just bad (except for one time when my friend jessica and i had a laughing fit over a sermon about dorcas, cause we were immature and her name was dorcas) so i stopped going. but then one day i saw tavis smiley interviewing the rev. spong and i thought, 'oh golly, look how smart and not a biggot he is, i think i'll give these episcopalians a try.' so i did and i've been v ...more
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John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000. As a leading spokesperson for an open, scholarly, and progressive Christianity, Bishop Spong has taught at Harvard and at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also lectured at universities, conference centers, and churches in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. His books in ...more
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