Aug 09, 10
Read from August 03 to 09, 2010
This book was pretty darn good. The reason it gets four instead of five stars is that he sort of glosses over a few arguments in the later chapters that he either could have omitted altogether or expounded upon. As it stands, a few of the things of which he does not go into very much depth felt understated and brought the pace and academic tone a little down. If he'd gone deeper, the book would have been more consistent. If he'd skipped them, the book would not have suffered, since the book is half autobiographical anyway. It doesn't need to have every argument to be compelling.
The arguments he does delve in to are very well documented and sourced. He is a scholar, and he cuts no corners in those chapters that are devoted to specific arguments and/or exegesis. His understanding of New Testament Greek is staggering.
Also, the beginning of the book feels a little braggadocios, in that he lists his enumerable credentials and experiences while a believer. But, it certainly serves to set the tone for the rest of the book. If he wasn't a believer, given his track record and zeal and thirst for both knowledge and experience, then no one is (or was?).
But his arguments against the best apologetics out there are fantastic. I can't cover them here, just read the book. He simply blows them away with logic, reason, and points out how others are no more than word games, simple bad grammar, or flat out logic fallacies.
His (painfully abbreviated) list of bible contradictions is illuminating. I asked many of the same questions in bible college and got trite, vapid answers at best. And he lists many things I never noticed but when I open my bible now, there they are, staring me in the face, almost laughing at how simple it is to show the illogic behind belief in this version of god. (Theology, in my mind, amounts to word games that make the otherwise completely nonsensical or illogical somehow seem deep and "nuanced" or "mysterious".)
Overall, I give this book four stars because I relate to it so much. I used to be a music pastor myself. I know exactly what he's talking about, and I know exactly where he's finding those cognitive dissonances that have plagued me as well. I find my departure from Christianity to be very similar to his, not because I feel cheated or wronged or hurt (although each of these have certainly been the case, at times, as well); but because I feel lied to and manipulated by men with respect titles they don't deserve, men with degrees in things they can't possibly know.
I will read this book again, if only to undo the years of indoctrination. I need to set things straight and put Reason where it belongs in my life. I think this book will help with that goal.