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41 of 490 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pseuds Corner, 27 Mar 2011
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This review is from: The Good Book: A Secular Bible (Hardcover)
Readers are going to die laughing when they open this volume. It is formatted along the lines of biblical chapters, verses and books, and is meant to be a secular alternative to the scriptural tradition. What will immediately strike even the most partial reader however is how infinitely superior the Judaeo-Christian scriptures are as literature (aside from anything else) compared to Grayling's paltry rag-bag of would-be "humanist" quotations from the ancient world (and pseudo-intellectual musings of the type 'Wet birds don't fly at night'). Why Grayling's effort ultimately fails is because he cites or draws upon the texts of various world religions, or from the writings of theists, but excises any reference to God in their work. This would be incredibly deceitful and libellous if it wasn't so juvenile. As a cheap, desperate evangelistic effort, this tome will only serve to send readers back to the Judaeo-Christian Bible in their droves.
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Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 172 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Mar 2011 16:27:19 BDT
dinkle life says:
I can't believe that someone who has the confidence to decide what is, or is not, literature does not know how to use an apostrophe. Also, is it not arrogant to talk on behalf of all readers? How do you know? Why are you so sure? Isn't that sort of certainty a weakness of human thought?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2011 16:41:02 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 2 Apr 2011 09:52:39 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2011 18:54:44 BDT
dinkle life says:
Thank you for writing back, I am flattered. You did claim to speak on behalf of all readers. You said, 'Readers are going to die laughing when they open this volume.' That means all readers. You could have said, 'Closed minded readers are going to...', or 'Those readers who don't like atheists are going to die...'. That would have cleared up your idea of reader. I hope you do not think me rude but I think you were attempting to write on behalf of all readers because you have grown used to doing it. I will confess I am shocked when I find Christians telling me that I will not see the face of God when I die. I always ask how they know this. We are both humans but they seem to be able to tell what is going to happen to me. I think this type of thinking may well lead a person to start believing they were writing for everybody, as you have done. It would be so much more helpful if humans owned up to the fact that they just don't know that much.

Yours respectfully,

S

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2011 19:10:25 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 2 Apr 2011 09:53:01 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2011 20:09:31 BDT
dinkle life says:
Once again, thank you for writing back,
I am not surprised that you disagree with me. Sorry, your opening sentence does not say that they will be bemused. It says, 'Readers are going to die laughing when they open this volume.' If you want to say that they will be bemused you should say it. That way readers (all of them) will not get confused.
I disagree with your assumption that you wouldn't presume to know where I might stand before God. As a Christian you must surely believe that I will not stand before him otherwise what is the difference between you and me? One person says some things and believes some things and the other doesn't and God will love them both? As a Christian you must think your belief does something and my non-belief does not. You may think you do not presume but by your belief you already do. Thank you for omitting the dreaded apostrophe from your comment. May I also suggest therefore that you wanted to write 'impartial' in the third sentence, so it would read, 'What will immediately strike even the most impartial reader however is how infinitely superior the Judaeo-Christian scriptures are as literature (aside from anything else) compared to Grayling's paltry rag-bag of humanist quotations and pseudo-intellectual musings.'
Thank you again for writing back.

S

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2011 13:35:03 BDT
Three things:

- where did you get the book from? (I thought it wasn't being released until April the 4th).

- I think Grayling's works are pretty consistently incisive, inspiring and generally fantastic. But even if they weren't very good I'm still fairly sure it would take more than a fairly badly written piece of 'counter Bible' work to make me go running to the Bible as if the Bible was the default position to take - I'd prefer to read Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Stendhal or something equally as fictitious, but something that is actually not fairly banal.

- Why are you complaining about eachother's grammar and trying to pick eachother's comments apart to the point of outright pedancy? (Especially when you could be telling me where I ca get an advance copy of the book. And, while we're on the subject, I'd appreciate any info regarding where I might get the book in Kindle or audio format!:-)

Good luck,

Chris

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2011 15:52:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Mar 2011 15:53:17 BDT
Dr Dee says:
Hi Chris

Thanks for your email.

Grayling's book is available in bookstores - Cambridge Waterstones for instance. Give them a buzz - they do postage I believe if you wanted them to forward a copy.

I wouldn't, for example, call the Epistle to the Hebrews "banal". It's subject is the abolition of religion.

As for picking each other's grammar - you are quite right. I shouldn't have got sucked into it - and have closed correspondence on points of punctuation!

Best wishes

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2011 16:57:48 BDT
Thanks for the Waterstones' info, DR BW Devitt (I actually went to see a Grayling lecture a week or two ago and asked him if I might get an advanced copy; Even he thought it was April the 4th, but perhaps the publishers have seen fit to advance a few copies).

As for the Bible seeming banal, I'd still stand by what I said. If Shakespeare had produced 60+ plays and all but a few of them read like something a 10 year old might write (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers etc) or an averagely bright 18 year old might write (much of the New Testament), then I'd consider his works generally banal and his better works little more than a good phase he was going through, or even perhaps a fluke. Some of it might have some half decent poetic, philosophical or moral merit, but take away the divine nature/label of the books and I doubt it would have stood out much versus the works of Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes et al - much less Plato, Seneca et al!
The above only talks of the Bible as a piece of literature, of course. If we're talking in absolute terms ie the bible is supposed to give us a decent description of how the universe began and our supposed purpose within it, then the Bible barely warrants the term 'banal'. Versus what science seems to be offering these days, the Bible comes across as a lot of superstitious, childish, human centred/geocentric (therefore arrogant), self-serving drivel for credulous, ignorant, frightened people.
Apologies for what might seem like strong language, but I think religion (and probably mysticism in general) is something we really need to shake off if we are to progress as a species and consider ourselves mature and, at least to some extent, enlightened.

Anyway, I'm getting off-track here. I'll hopefully read Grayling's book and get back to you on it!

Good luck.
CM

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2011 00:33:08 BDT
Dr Dee says:
Thanks Chris.

If all the classical, Shakespearean, philosophical literature you allude to was so existentially robust it would have swept the planet. But it hasn't. It is still, for the most part, the preserve of posh western academics like you and me. But at least I have read and studied the works to which you refer (and read some of them in the original Greek). I sense however from your vituperative remarks about the bible that it is as familiar to you as Samuel Richardson's "Clarissa". You simply can't brush aside a book you haven't read given it's foundational influence on western civilisation to say nothing of the two thirds world where its influence is currently burgeoning. As a worshipper of science you should be more sympathetic to religious views of reality. Best wishes for getting a hold of Grayling's book. It's definitely on sale in Waterstones Cambridge.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2011 01:07:05 BDT
dinkle life says:
Chris has bot brushed the Bible aside. He has said it is superstitious. Do you say it is not superstitious? Let's stick to one or two questions. Is the Bible superstitious? Are superstitious books any less superstitious in Greek?
As a Bible reader I would love an answer to these questions.
S
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