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The Nativity: A Critical Examination
The Nativity: A Critical Examination
Price: 6.17

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you think you know the nativity story?, 2 Jun 2012
When was Jesus born? What was his birth date? Where was he born and why was he born there? Who knew of his birth? How is Jesus related to biblical characters past? Who thought that baby Jesus was the messiah and why? What important historical events do you expect we should have records of if the bible accounts were accurate?

If you think you know the answers to these questions, think again.

Jonathan Pearce points out how, despite the heartwarming Christmas pageants we are all familiar with, there is no real cohesive narrative regarding the birth of Jesus. It appears that when they originally calculated the year of the nativity in the 6th century, they were averaging two different years as estimated by the two very different accounts of Jesus' birth given in the bible-- both of which seem purposefully manufactured to make Jesus' birth match the description of the messiah foretold in Jewish prophesy.

Step by step, Pearce shows us how it is impossible for both biblical accounts (Luke and Matthew) to be true, and, as we delve into the finer details of each account, it become increasingly obvious that neither account comports with historical facts.(How can a star guide the "three wise men" towards the birth site when a star would move across the sky as the earth rotates and disappear during the day? Why do people think there were "three" wise men anyway when that is not mentioned in the bible?)

If the Christian would not accept specious reasoning to suffice as an explanation for another religion's miraculous claims, this book should give a clear understanding as to why an outsider rejects the bible's miraculous claims. The Jesus story doesn't make sense from the get go.

This little book is a must-read for Christians brave enough to consider whether their beliefs could be as mythological as conflicting faiths. It's also a gem for those outside the Christian faith who want to know whether Christianity is built upon a coherent narrative. This, however, is most definitely is not a book for those afraid that their god will damn them to hell unless they believe in the inerrancy of the bible. Before you read this book, ask yourself, "If the nativity story is a myth, would I want to know?"


The Little Book of Unholy Questions
The Little Book of Unholy Questions
by Jonathan M. S. Pearce
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bible Study Woud Have Been Much More Fun With This Little Book Around!, 12 Jun 2011
Every aspiring theologian ought to become familiar with the questions in this book, because folks are starting to ask the questions that they daren't speak aloud in generations past. I'd love to hear the answers to these questions from those who claim God speaks to them. Will they get the same answers as each other?

Can religious faith stand up to such probing questions as: Can you (God) get bored? Without sensory organs, how do you feel anything? Where did you (Jesus) get the male half of your genome from given that Mary had an immaculate conception? Were you naughty as a child? Did you ever lust after anybody? If you did not, then how can you claim to be fully man? When you prayed to God, how did that work, since you are God?

There are also very specific questions about Bible passages: The Old Testament declares that the smell of burnt offerings (sacrifices) pleased you (for example, in Leviticus 1) - is this true? In saying in Ephesians 6:5 that slaves need to obey their masters just as they would obey Christ, are you implying that slavery is acceptable?

This is a valuable book to have on hand for anyone wondering if their faith stands up to scrutiny. It's sure to prompt interesting thoughts and discussions. It's also a handy little book for freethinkers-- the questions will keep the proselytizers too busy to do much proselytizing; the book provides ongoing fodder for internet debates as well.

No matter where you are coming from, this book is chock-full of questions that will have you pondering things you've never pondered before. It contains the sorts of questions we should all be asking those who claim to know what God/Jesus did, feels, thinks, or wants. Heck, we should be asking these questions to anyone who claims to know God exists.


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