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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2011
I trust that if there was a loving, good god then everyone would go to heaven or cease to exist. Probably there is no supernatural realm. Valerie Tarico gives many reasons why this could very well be the case.

The chapters in this book are:
Preface; The way of reformation
Part I: Roots:
1, Leaving home, from certainties to questions
2, One Way, what evangelicals believe
Part II: The Bible:
3 The Bible stands, where the writings in the Bible came from 4 House built on a weak foundation, when the Bible doesn't agree with the bible
5 Females, Gays, and other samaritans
Biblical views on women, homosexuals and foreigners
Part III: This world
6 All truth is God's Truth, when dogma meets science
7 The Lion and the Lamb, what nature reveals about the creator
8 The problem of pain, human suffering
Part IV
9 Evolutionary Dei-ology Changing concepts of God
10 Small favours and minor miracles, Does God intervene in human affairs
Part V Sin and salvation
11 All like sheep , original sin and universal sin
12 Blood of the lamb, The roots of salvation in vengeance and human sacrifice
13 Belief in belief, is belief or disbelief a choice
14 Carrots and sticks, heaven and hell
Part VI Damned
15 Coming of age, how old is old enough for damnation?
16 The Noble savage, Those who die beyond the reach of Christianity
17 Luck of the draw, outside influences on salvation
Part VII Christian soldiers
18 Do as I say, common hypocrisies
19 Praying for me, myself and I and those I love )
20 Moral relativity, The evolution of christian morals
21 With God on our side, how orthodoxy breeds violence
22 Cleansing Canaan, divinely sanctioned genocide
Part VIII Bedrock
23 The left hand and the right, the psychology of belief
24 The joy of the lord, experiences of transcendence
25 Jabberwock: Ideas with claws that catch, why evangelical ideas are hard to shake
Part IX The measure of God
26 In spirit and in Truth,evangelical teachings in the light of christian ideals
27 Our shared moral core, Truth seeking, truth telling, humility and love
28 Coming home, from questions to hope
Postscript, from Bibliolatry to wisdom: co-creating the future
Appendix A, The development of western christianity
Appendix B, Father Dan's easter quiz
Appendix C, The Golden rule: Ethics of reciprocity

This is among the top five books giving a sceptical view of religion. Valerie Tarico writes in such a lovely, calm, polite, measured way. Valerie affirms the points in Christianity/ the Bible which are good and also points out the bits which are immoral and unacceptable in civilised society. Her book at the same time puts a very firm, clear message that there is no reason to fear the Bibles dire threats. Its authors were just guessing. She works through all the issues in a very methodical, balanced way. Her writing is an oasis of peace. There is just nothing to worry about. We just need to be loving, caring and not hurt anyone. To aim to live a virtuous life because that is more pleasant for us, to concentrate on doing our job well, to enjoy and look after our family because that makes us happy.
This book is totally brilliant. Intelligent, sceptical but not cynical. She is respectful and not insulting of anyone, she is understanding of the human condition. She has travelled the journey that rejects the dark side of Christianity into the light of a more loving caring way, a courageous way which refuses to be cowed by fear and instead stands for greater virtue by trusting in doubt.
Valerie Tarico shows that she can think and write as well as any man on this subject. But of course.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2014
Valerie Tarico has written lucidly about her early life as a fundamentalist Christian who began to question the rigid doctrines to which she was subjected by the practitioners of biblical literalism. The book resonated with me because I have asked all the same questions and come to similar conclusions. The main differences between us are (1) she can explain much more clearly than I can, and (2) it took her only 40 years to reach a state of liberation from the shackles of religion, as opposed to my own 75 years!
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