Guarenteed to be one of the weirdest biographies of Jesus you will ever read.
The Man Nobody Knows was written in 1925 by a man in the advertising bu Guarenteed to be one of the weirdest biographies of Jesus you will ever read.
The Man Nobody Knows was written in 1925 by a man in the advertising business who claimed (among other things) that Jesus was the founder of modern business, that he was a success due to a strong "personal magnetism," that he was a tough guy and a lady's man instead of some kind of "sissified" (spiritually minded?) girly-man, and that he was a blue-eyed (Anglo-Saxon?) sales dynamo with superior organizational techniques.
Only an ad man could and would write something this factually absurd and historically inaccurate. Good book for a laugh and not much else....more
Left Behind is one of the most wretchedly awful books I have ever forced myself to read.
If possible, I would give this book zero stars. Only by sheLeft Behind is one of the most wretchedly awful books I have ever forced myself to read.
If possible, I would give this book zero stars. Only by sheer willpower and by listening to the audio book one short installment at a time was I able to get through this one. Whole essays/rants could be written on how much this book sucks, but I'll limit myself to just a couple observations.
The worst thing about LB isn't LaHaye's crazy religious beliefs, it's the fact that it's such a horribly written piece of garbage. The only other books I have read that have been written this poorly are L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth series (which, interestingly enough, are also religious propaganda fiction written by a fanatical religious leader in his declining years). C.S. Lewis was a popular Christian author with whom I often disagree, but Lewis is infinitely more readable and infinitely more enjoyable than LaHaye and Jenkins regardless of whether you agree or disagree with him.
Apparently, the writing process for the LB books was as follows - LaHaye would write up a couple hundred page outline of notes and then submit the notes to his co-author Jenkins who would turn these notes into a story. Jenkins set a goal of writing 20 pages a day, which means that within less than one month's time he could crank out a whole book. A real writer worth his or her salt might spend years taking notes, writing, editing, rewriting, editing some more, re-re-writing, etc. It's not surprising then that LB reads like mass-produced crap, because that is exactly what it is - McFiction for the McMasses. No, scratch that. Stephen King used to joke about how his books were the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries (most of what he wrote was at least a hundred times superior to LB). LB is the four-day old, rotting McFiction that somebody salvaged from a dumpster.
A final comment on this travesty of the written word - there is an almost total absence of Christian virtue or compassion in LB. The Christian scriptures speak of the fruit of the spirit being love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. None of the "Christian" characters in this book embody these kind of virtues.
Christianity in LB is more like a form of Manichean dualism than a religion of faith, hope, or love. The so-called Christians in LB are grim survivalists resigned to a fatalistic worldview of kill-or-be-killed. Their only concerns seem to revolve around taking care of their own and signing up more recruits. It's no wonder that so much of what passes for Christianity in America consists of extremist, right-wing militia groups holed-up in their gated compound mall fortresses rather than genuine religious communities when books like this are what so many "Christians" imagine to be representative of their faith....more
I read this because I had heard that it's a popular fantasy/propaganda novel within white supremecist circles, and I was curious as to what exactly goI read this because I had heard that it's a popular fantasy/propaganda novel within white supremecist circles, and I was curious as to what exactly goes on in their heads. (Sick things, that's what.)
This book is about a future "race war" in which a band of militant, ultra right wing white supremecists overthrow the U.S. government through murder, terrorism, and other assorted means. Once the takeover of the U.S. government is completed, all the white people around the world band together into a fascist alliance and then set about murdering all Jews and non-whites on earth. I have no idea where these people get the simplistic idea that exterminating all Jews and non-whites will usher in some kind of golden future, but apparently that's the way these morons think.
This is a stupid and vile book written by a stupid and vile person for other stupid and vile people. ...more
Rated 1 star for fear-mongering, conspiracy theorizing, repetitiveness, naivete, and disturbing authoritarian overtones.
This was a terrible book, a bRated 1 star for fear-mongering, conspiracy theorizing, repetitiveness, naivete, and disturbing authoritarian overtones.
This was a terrible book, a book which is little more than an extended rant where the author regurgitates the same set of ideas over and over again. While the presentation of the ideas is bad, the content of these ideas is far worse. Nevertheless, this book provides a valuable little window into the mind of Ken Ham, one of the leaders of the "Creation Science" movement... a scary little window.
After reading the kind of arguments made in this book, it would seem that Ham is a deeply credulous and inconsistent thinker. When it comes to any scientific hypothesis (what fundamentalists like to call "a theory of men") where there is room for any doubt and uncertainty (which is the case with many, if not most, scientific theories), Ham approaches it with a fierce, radical, and uncompromising skepticism. Any room for doubt and that theory must be thrown right out! Yet, at the same time, this almost Hume-like skeptic in regards to all matters scientific and philosophical clings to an inflexible and laughably simplistic understanding of his own Christian religion and it's Bible. His is a belief that takes no cultural, historical, or interpretive issues into account when trying to understand and evaluate the Bible or his own Christian dogmas. The bumper sticker, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it," was created for people like him.
The Lie has it's share of other random and bizarre ideas. According to Ham, people only wear clothes because it is a practice mandated in the biblical book of Genesis. Ham goes on to claim that that if one were to invalidate the Book of Genesis as a record of literal history and fact, the practice of wearing clothes would thereby be called into question which could lead to some sort of anarchy of nakedness. (Presumably the ancient natives of Asia, the Americas, Australia, etc. who all developed their own customs of clothing themselves had a copy of the Bible?) For some reason Ham also makes the claim that all fathers are biblically appointed to be the priests of their families. Make of that whatever you will. (Dad's duty to offer up sacrificial animals on the grill?)
Taken as a whole The Lie fails to make a coherent, logical argument. The book opens with a rambling tirade on the growing evils of society where the author would have us believe that all of these growing evils stem from a single cause - the scientific theory of evolution, the supposed root of all evil. Following this is more rambling on about how true Christianity and the Bible are. This is a given we are supposed to take for granted without any proof. Around and around we are led in the same loops of absurd illogic. There is a term for people who reason and argue like this - cranks. (Cranks always want to oversimplify things to down to a singular evil that threatens society which can be defeated with a silver-bullet solution. For prohibitionists booze was the singular evil destroying society, for Scientologists psychology is the one, true evil, for the Cold Warriors, it was Communism, etc., etc.)
The Lie makes it clear that Ken Ham is one of those black-and-white thinkers with no room in his brain for either ambiguity or nuance. Conservative, right wing, authoritarian types like him reduce everything to a simplistic morality tale of Good and Evil. Ham's mind is made up, and he and his like-minded compatriots will not abide any other members of society deviating from their own narrow-minded ideas of proper belief, thought, and behavior. What makes this all the more clear are Ham's favorite words (or the variant forms thereof) popping-up frequently throughout this text: "lawlessness", "right and wrong", "dogmatic", and "authority". The single word (and it's variants) which Ham uses most frequently is "absolutes". (Out of curiosity, I went back and counted it as having been used 24 times throughout this short text.)
Given his deeply conservative, authoritarian outlook, it's not surprising that Ken Ham's religion is one of rigid discipline and law. He pictures God first and foremost as being the Absolute Authority - God the Divine Cop. What distresses Ham is that the world is no longer the squeaky clean, never-never land he imagines it once was back in those glorious, moral days of yore that never were. In order to save the world from itself, Ham believes he must sally forth and lead a crusade against, in his own words, "the Satanically backed religion of evolution."
Make no mistake, the "Creation Science" and "Intelligent Design" movements are the groups with the truly evil agendas no matter how innocent they might try to pass themselves off as being. To paraphrase Ham's stated views in this book, Creation Scientists view themselves as Christian soliders fighting to take back control of society in the name of Absolute Authority. "The Lie" isn't evolution, it's all of Ham and company's talk about bringing balance and fairness to science classrooms. The real goal these people (or at least their leaders) have is to take over the public schools, the courts, the government, and any other seats of power in order to foist their fundamentalist brand of right wing Christianity on to us all.
As individuals, members of the Creation Science movement can be nice, well-meaning people, but as a collective, their ideas and goals, insofar as they follow what Ham has outlined in The Lie, are on par with that of the Taliban....more
Rated 1 star for false advertising, unsatisfactory answers given.
Here we have another spin-off for Strobel the self-proclaimed "former atheist," "skepRated 1 star for false advertising, unsatisfactory answers given.
Here we have another spin-off for Strobel the self-proclaimed "former atheist," "skeptic," and "journalist." In brief, Strobel goes on a quest to find answers for "the toughest questions that stand between people and faith in Christianity." What's funny is that Strobel thinks (or pretends to think) that he can actually "get to the bottom of this Christianity thing once and for all," and that he can accomplish this monumental task after a mere two years of research(!) - and by research, Stobel means interviewing a small number of Christian apologists who all share the same opinions.
The idea that this breezy, half-assed book is somehow going to put any serious doubts about the Christian faith to rest is absurd to begin with. It's also a mystery as to why Strobel thinks he can continue posing as a no-nonsense, hard-nosed investigator. He spends most of his interviews accepting everything he is told only occasionally raising a token objection here and there for show. Even somebody who knows next to nothing about how to carry on an investigation outside of crime novels or detective movies could tell you that an investigator never gets anywhere by just taking one side of the story at face value the way Strobel does.
The preface to TCFF is the most telling part of the book. It serves as a parable summing up the thrust of Strobel's entire argument, a story about two men, Billy Graham and Charles Templeton, the preacher and the preacher-turned-skeptic.
In this prefatory parable we are told that Templeton (former evangelical crusader and colleague of Graham) lost his faith because he began to ask serious questions about his evangelical Christian beliefs. In Strobel's own words, instead of "letting his heart soar to God, Templeton's intellect kept him securely tied down." In contrast to Templeton, Billy Graham, when confronted with troubling questions, prayed to God and decided to simply believe in things he couldn't understand instead of grappling with these difficult questions head on. Because he chose the way of simpleminded faith, we are told that Graham was rewarded with feelings of strength and empowerment and later further rewarded with great success in his ministry career. (Prosperity and success always carry more weight with these people than any kind of intellectual integrity. They're salesmen, not sages. )
Is it a little odd that a book claiming to ask and answer difficult religious questions would begin by demonizing critical thinking and intellectual honesty? Is it strange that before the reader even reaches the first chapter of a book claiming to take an honest look at "the toughest questions facing Christian beliefs", a person who dares question conventional, evangelical/fundamentalist dogma is portrayed as standing on a precipice of doom all but surely condemned to a future of misery, failure, ruin and despair? This might seem quite strange at first, that is until you realize this book never intends to ask any questions in the spirit of legitimate inquiry. TCFF is nothing more than another way of remarketing the same old type of fundamentalist Christian theology where "making a decision for Christ" far outweights any thinking for oneself.
Look for the further adventures of Strobel in his upcoming book: The Case for More Ca$h: How an Aging, Mediocre Journali$t Found Jesus... Could Be So Financially Profitable!...more
At the beginning of The Case for Christ Strobel presents himself as a journalist and a former atheist/skeptic who is about to conduct a serious investigative search into whether or not Jesus is exactly what orthodox/fundamentalist Christian churches teach him to be - the God Man with miraculous powers born of a virgin to die for the sins of the world, etc., etc.
But here's the problem - the contents of this book are nothing resembling serious investigative journalism. They are a collection of arguments, quotes, and information almost 100% of which are supplied by a small group of like-minded, Evangelical Christian apologists. Strobel never interviews any of the many, many other scholars with views that differ from that of this small, very conservative Evangelical group. (And there are plenty of scholars just as, if not more, qualified and respected who would disagree with what the members of Stobel's clique have to say.)
I rate TCFC at 1 star not because I disagree with the arguments presented in it (which I do), but because it's so dishonest. It claims to be investigative reporting when it presents only a mass of one-sided, biased apologetical material. After having spent years as an investigate journalist, Strobel is either clueless as to what constitutes investigative journalism (possible, but unlikely), or he began this project already possessing a set of strong religious convictions, proceeded to gather only those arguments, interviews, and info which support these particular convictions, and then combined that material into a book dishonestly marketed as investigative journalism (the more likely case).
Strobel is free to write whatever kind of books he wants, but he isn't free to make false claims without expecting to be called out on them.
The true intended audience for TCFC are Christians who are looking for somebody to tell them exactly what they want to hear, that all the traditional (and overly-simplistic) beliefs they were taught about Jesus in Sunday School are true and proven. TCFC is not a book written for critical thinkers looking for an honest exploration of well-researched and well-supported scholarship and arguments concerning who Jesus was.
If you are interested in a more honest discussion of opposing viewpoints about Jesus written for the average reader where different sides get to present their own views in their own words (although one that is still quite slanted in it's presentation), check out Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? edited by Paul Copan....more
Pretty comprehensive and well structured book, but arguing from a quite limited viewpoint.
The authors of this book are alarmed that the kind of conserPretty comprehensive and well structured book, but arguing from a quite limited viewpoint.
The authors of this book are alarmed that the kind of conservative, traditional Lutheranism that they endorse is disappearing from Lutheran churches. Even though I don't agree with the authors' beliefs and viewpoints, I thought they did a good job arranging their subject matter, so as to show the clear difference between their views and the views of other Lutherans.