I’m going to skip over the Young Earth Creationism debunking in the book because that has already been done and because the debunking in the book is based not on the science but on the Bible. This is a bit like debunking a work of fiction by turning to the front and reading the passage that informs you that ‘any resemblance to any persons – living or dead – is purely coincidental’.
Moving on then, Chapter 2 is entitled:
‘Does Muhammed Have the Keys to Your Grave and to Eternity’.
A fight between Muslims and Christians (of any kind) is usually quite fun because if they were as sceptical about their own religions as they were other peoples’… well, neither would exist. Let’s see what it has to offer.
As a case in point of the kind of thing I mean, the book says this:
“At the end of the day, what do we have left? The claims of one man: Muhammad—a man who died and was buried over one thousand years ago.”
At the end of the day what does Christianity have left? The claims of one man: Saul of Tarsus – a man who died and was buried nearly two thousand years ago.
This is the pattern for the whole section. Upbraiding Muslims for the self-same failing and moral problems that exist within the Biblical texts. Murder, lies, paedophilia, rape, slaughter, all exist in both books but the reason to dismiss both Bible and Koran are their incorrect claims, fallacious claims and fictional nature. Not that they outrage our morals – though inconsistency is rife in both.
We can skip over this section.
Chapter Three is tearing down Mormonism, a worthy goal but when you’re coming from a Christian position, simply hypocritical. Again, a dose of self-scepticism to the degree shown to another faith (or faith variant) would be a pretty healthy thing to do. As with the Muslim section, this is the flaw and thus we can skip over it.
Chapter Four does the same for Jehovah’s Witnesses and yet again, the irony in tearing down one version of Christianity for beliefs no crazier than those found in the Bible is not lost on me. Again, we can skip over.
Chapter Five seems to move on, finally and is titled:
Do You Want Religion or Immortality?
Definitely not the first, unsure about the second.
There is a common phrase used by Christians that theirs is not a religion, but a relationship with Christ. What these non-denominational Christians fail to understand is that Christianity is the religion, the particular sect is just that, a sect, or Church. It should be a warning sign that they want to cast themselves adrift from the word ‘religion’ since it has become so toxic.
Lest we forget, the definition of a religion is this:
A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
Christianity, even non-denominational Christianity, still fits this definition.
I’m an atheist, quibbling and arguing over interpretations of the Bible isn’t going to convince me otherwise, it merely cements the vagueness and fallibility of the text. While the actions of sects and Churches often outrage my moral sensibility, this is not the reason I reject the concept of god. Even arseholes can be right about things. I reject them because there is no evidence for god. That many of these people and organisations are doing great harm to the human species based on their faith and their teachings is a reason to fight theism, not to reject the god concept itself. That I do on its own merits, not on the basis that it is used (though it is so EASILY used) by charlatans, exploiters and pious liars.
Supposedly, according to the book, the keys to immortality are:
KEY: Death of Jesus—we repent (i.e., death to our old sinful ways)
KEY: The burial of Jesus—we must be buried in the name of Jesus Christ (i.e., be born of water)
KEY: The resurrection of Jesus—we must receive the Holy Spirit. (i.e., be born of Spirit)
I still haven’t been given any reason to believe in Jesus, god, the veracity of the Bible, any of the foundational assumptions that go into this and yet the book says this is the ‘meat’ of it and there’s only about forty pages to go. I skipped back to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, but I hadn’t.
After much of this, still without any evidence or anything for me to talk about, given the foundational assumptions haven’t been supported, we finally get to something testable.
Speaking in tongues.
While the writers seem to be a little coy about using that term, contextually it’s fairly obvious.
Here’s the problem though, speaking in tongues isn’t a language and whether people realise it or not, they’re fairly obviously making it up.
The part that I find particularly interesting is that while the babbling is void of informational content or organisation it can induce – in some – a trance-like state and different congregations develop different ‘dialects’ where they mimic each other’s babble.
Anyway, moving on…
The section Deciphering Jesus of course, presumes Jesus’ existence which – as a provisional mythicist – I’m going to need evidence for.
Nor do I care about the Trinity, because again – I’m yet to be given any reason to believe in a god.
And that’s the end of the book.
Did it present any evidence for anything?
Did it convince me to give up my wicked ways and no longer be an atheist?
The constant references to the Bible do nothing for me as a non-believer because I don’t believe its claims and, as a sceptic, I recognise that you can’t use a claim to prove itself. Ultimately this book is just another, different interpretation and – if the authors are very ‘lucky’ – the emergence of yet another sect or grouping calling themselves non-denominational.
All I can really welcome from it is that this is another shuffling step towards defeat of religion by reason since it stands against YEC. That’s not really enough to be happy about though.
I was told there would be empirical evidence for god and Jesus and the claims – supposedly – thereof and as usual I cam away disappointed.
If the authors wish to continue the dialogue on this blog I invite them to do so.