Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Biblical Nonsense

A Review of the Bible For Doubting Christians
Dr Jason Long

I ordered this book, along with 50 Reasons People Give For Believeing in A God because they are on the list for the book club on Adrian Hayter's Atheist Blogger site.

Biblical Nonsense arrived first so it got read.

On the plus side it was an easy read, for me that was also its downfall. I felt that often Dr long is talking down to his reader. There wasn't much that I didn't know already, but I found his chapters on Prophesy Slavery and Women most interesting.

The book is subtitled - "A Review of the Bible For Doubting Christians" but I doubt very much if doubting Christians would enjoy it. In the chapters on the flood, logical fallacies and science he uses disparaging language to describe the mindsets of believers and apologists. Perhaps such language is justified, but I'm not convinced it will help to persuade.

I felt another weakness of his argument for the scientific weaknesses of the Bible is to criticise the science of events that are obviously miraculous. For example, he states that it neither logical nor scientific that God created light before he created the sun and the stars. Sure it's illogical, but he's God, by the Christian definition he is entirely capable of anything. he can have plants groing before the sun's creation, sure, why not? he's God.

I felt the book did a very good job of illustrating that the Bible cannot be divinely inspired because of the errors and contradicitions contained. And importantly for me were the errors of edition. A book authored under the direct guideance of Holy God had a crap proof reader.

Dr Long explains that the book grew out of a series of essays and unfortunately, in this respect it is a lot like the Bible it criticises: A collection of disparate works that don't hold together well. With more time and effort, Dr Long could have re-worked some of the chapters to homogonise the writing style across the whole book. A stricter editor would have insisted on it. I've never written a book, and I acknowledge it must be pain in the arse to rework and re-write material.

I spent my church time in a Baptist Church and was led to believe that the NIV translation was super accurate and tip top. I was amazed to discover via this book of some of the liberties the NIV has taken in its translation.

I'd recommend the book, not as an in-depth study, it doesn't claim to be that, but as a great primer into the failings, errors, fallacies, and lies contained in The Holy Bible. It is certainly a stimumus to further study.
The end of the book gave a list of further reading of on-line sources which I am going to find very useful.


pecheur said...

I'd like to add you to my CL blogroll. I find you to be a reasonable atheist and it's nice. ;)

Stew said...

You're too kind. I'm only nice to you!
I recommended your blog to the rabid dogs at Raytractors. I told them you were atheist friendly.