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Bible Thumper to Athiest Kindle Edition
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This will be equally appreciated by atheists and by the liberally thinkingly religious. For he would be astonished to know I have actually attended a liberal church Lent study on then impossibility of accepting all the Bible as inspired, using 3 passages on the side of injustices. This highlights what he most gets wrong: he does not appreciate the option of liberal critically thinking religion that does not accept any book as inspired. You have that option in all the major religions, but not in the cults. He has a couple of mentions of Biblical points that the more liberal believers avoid pushing, but whenever he presents you with a belief challenge he does not acknowledge that liberal Christianity or Gnosticism exist as options at all. He just assumes that discrediting the literal Bible should make you atheist.
Another though he throws in to clinch it for atheism is a look at the inconsistency of miracle rescues of healing stories, happening to some folks but not others arbitrarily. This complements his responses to the Bible's urgings to believers to pray in confidence of getting results. Where is God when a prayer fails: mean, or not existing, or, he asks, if he can't deliver on the prayer then he is not God. This is this book's key fallacy. He assumes God must be the Abrahamic faiths' version, all powerful. Why? There is nothing innately in the idea of a universal intelligence that requires it to be all powerful and magic. I am an aomnitheist, that's "-omni-" inserted between "a-" and "-theist". If you do not believe in magic, if you are scientifically inclined but believe in spirit, then it has a clear common sense appeal for God not to be all powerful. Its appeal to modern liberal Jewish thought is obvious, and it has an ancient history as the Gnostics' position.
Crawford thinks he has demonstrated atheism because aomnitheism has not occurred to him, as it has not occurred to many folks whose concepts have been set by the Abrahamic faith tradition. In aomnitheism it makes perfect sense that God is missing a physical voice, yes it is an impairment. In aomnitheism the only ways God can intervene are when you in your desperation open your will to consent to outside guidance that steers your actions or your life force in the critical moments when you can't make an informed decision for yourself. and showing a situational knowledge that you do not have. I came through a frightening survival situation that way and can't possibly credit myself with finding the way out. That is how you know it is not an illusion inside your head. Because how much God can do is different according to each situation's details, including how open your will is to receive this private input, that sensibly explains why there is a variety and inconsistency of outcomes.
A Christian friend told him of a girl who got up out of a wheelchair. He pointed out that the church had disabled parking and disabled regular attenders who had not been healed, and he presents that as a won argument. Atheism and aomnitheism totally agree that this pattern does not fit an all powerful being, so yes that is a good point scored - but then! he offers not a word of explanation for this specific wheelchair healing, nor of grounds to decline to believe it happened. If you are an admiring atheist reader he probably slipped that hole in his argument past you unnoticed. Exactly the same as the Christians slipping the argument of the unhealed past their faithful unnoticed.
Sometimes you need to know the believers have answers even when you are rightly on his side. I am totally evolutionist, I don't believe in Cain or his mysterious wife. Yet what he presents as an unanswered problem I have read creationists' answer to, and in the world they imagine, it stands up. Remember I don't believe it! am just pointing out the creationists have an answer to this one. Genesis does not say when Cain married her, it mentions it before it mentions further procreation by Cain's parents but that allows Cain to wait until after said procreation before he found her. Then to the incest objection, they say, oh but incest only became bad after our bodies became less perfect and more vulnerable to genetic problems as time passed after the imagined fall.
On Mithraism and the old trick of making Jesus's story sound copied from it,
he never looks at the reverse possibility. That Mithraism copied Jesus's story he appears to rule out by saying Mithraism was older. But there was not that sameness of story in the older Mithraism. Mithras was born from a rock and never died. His story only became more like Jesus's in the first century AD, the time when it could be by copying.
So very selectively written in making his atheist case, need not sway anyone. But valuable for quick finding of sceptical facts about the Bible. I have seen no other book that exposes as Crawford does, how much selective rewriting there is in the New International Version, a modern Bible popular with churches. He gives examples of how it is sanitised beyond being honest. Many Old Testament atrocity lines are simply removed, or are rewritten to change it to God punishing strong yobby youths instead of small kids, so to sound less sick. The king who gets horribly stabbed at Judges 3:20, it deletes that the charming Bible said the sword came out with his poo on it. It rewrites Jesus being nasty to his mum, turning it into "Dear woman" spuriously. Where Kings said Solomon had 40 000 "stands" for his horses, but Chronicles says 4000, NIV makes them both 4000. All valuable to know, and what trusting NIV students in churches need to know.
So change does happen. Talking to biblicists, that is, those who believe the Bible has no errors in every respect, about evolution or science, has its place, but nothing makes your average evangelical Christian respond better and quicker than the Bible. After all, it's not evolution or science that their faith depends on. If science doesn't conform to the Bible, it's ignored or rationalised away, as is everything else.
To challenge Christians with the source of their faith takes research and commitment, something which is evident throughout this fine book. Tom has produced a wonderfully entertaining read, with lashings of humour and seriousness in equal measure. His cartoon drawings are a delight and are often deeply provocative. Like the one which depicts God asleep in his heaven while his people are crying for help on the earth. Another has God, at the time of Noah and the ark, watching the worlds children drowning, while mothers desperately cry in vain for help.
What the author does extremely well is the way he goes to the heart of a Christian's faith - be it fundamentalist or not. He hits the jugular! Taking the Bible at its word, assuming it to be entirely accurate, the author dismantles and destroys such an unfounded assumption. Such demolition is done with over 300 questions, based on the Bible, the source that Christians claim has the answers. Take question 169 for example: Did Jesus kill children? Well, yes, he did as a matter of fact, if you're a Christian who believes that Jesus is the God of the Bible.
Since this work contains so many questions, with an underlying message or subtext, and covers so much ground, your average Christian would need to be illiterate or ''dumb with faith'', in not being provoked by what's on offer here. There's nowhere to hide. The author has done a superb job in exposing the Bible as its own worst enemy.
Bible Thumper To Atheist is a terrific test for Christians. It's challenging them to look at the Bible differently and to think outside the box. The author has produced a first-rate though provoker. For many, reading the Bible will never be the same again. I urge you get your copy now! This Kindle edition is fine and a bargain at the price.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is the worst book I can remember reading from an atheist perspective. The book is essentially in two parts. The first part is a brief description of the author's journey from "bible thumper to atheist". The second section is a series of 388 questions about the Bible and related matters.
The autobiographical section is interesting in providing some background of the author but is pretty superficial with little depth of reflection on the dynamics of his movement from fundamentalist Christian to becoming an atheist. It is primarily descriptive and, of course, needs to be accepted at face value as someone personal experience.
The largest section of the book - the 388 questions - is atrociously superficial and demonstrates an ineptness of dealing with hermeneutics. At no point does Crawford show any indication of having interacted with biblical scholarship, modern critical hermeneutics, or literary analysis of ancient texts. It is as though Crawford hasn't moved on from his Christian fundamentalist approach to reading the biblical text and now criticises the biblical documents from an equally naive fundamentalist, albeit atheistic, position. This should be disappointing to atheists as it is doesn't represent an intelligent, sophisticated critique of Christianity or the biblical documents.
Some examples: Crawford writes:
'... the Bible tells us that God created everything and it therefore follows that if he created everything, then, by definition, everything must include evil.'
There is most definitely a significant problem of evil for Christians to deal with. But evil is not a "thing" that can be created like a tree or rock or person. It is a moral category. Constructing the problem of evil in the way that Crawford does is naive and philosophically ignorant. Crawford also completely ignores the important free will defence which, although it may be criticised, is something that any critic of Christianity needs to be aware of.
Another example is Crawford's handling of the book of Job. He makes the sweeping statement that 'Christians believe this story to be true.' Many, many Christian scholars would understand Job to be a sophisticated folktale consisting of a combination of prose and poetry to raise questions about suffering rather than to answer them. Crawford's approach to Job is simplistic and ignorant of the contemporary scholarship of the book.
The examples could go on and on. He criticises the OT for not mentioning Satan, not realising that most biblical scholars recognise that the OT writers did not have a well developed concept of Satan. Throughout the book, the author displays a complete disregard for the cultural and historical contexts of the texts he is 'analysing' and raising questions about. He also ignores the presence of metaphor, hyperbole and other literary devices and raises questions that are the product of reading the text in a fundamentalist literalistic way. Crawford also ignores the symbolic nature of apocalyptic literature such as the NT book of Revelation. Nor does he seem to demonstrate any understanding of the translation of an ancient text, criticising translators for changing the words of the Bible on the basis of manuscript analysis.
My criticism of Crawford's analysis of the Bible is not meant to imply that there are no serious questions to be asked of the biblical text. There are and some of them are intractable. But Crawford's book is not the place to go to find out what they are. If anyone were to take Crawford's questions and repeat them to educated Christians it would be laughable and only bring embarrassment.
So if someone is looking for a serious, substantial critique of the Bible, don't start here.
"Bible Thumper to Atheist" is indeed a thought-provoking book about one man's transformation from believer to atheist. During his transformation from a Christian to an atheist, the author shares over three hundred questions that any believer can share with their religious leader. This 1,181 KB electronic book is broken out in a series of biblical topics that the author does not consider logical.
1. Well written, engaging, page turner of a book.
2. True to the cover, a thought-provoking book indeed. Many interesting takes.
3. Hits on so many fascinating religious topics.
4. Makes compelling arguments by using sound logic.
5. An interesting childhood life that sets the scene and base of this book.
6. Great mastery of the bible. Very insightful passages.
7. A unique look at creation.
8. The problem of evil exemplified.
9. Many eye-opening passages.
10. Many inconsistencies exposed. As an example, "God told Adam he would surely die, if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. " Adam ate the forbidden fruit, and went on to live a further 800 years.
11. Omnipotence put under question. Judges 1:19.
12. Why did God never condemn slavery? Interesting question.
13. Is the world flat?
14. Scientific errors in the bible. A bat for instance is not a type of bird.
15. Misogyny rears its ugly head.
16. Is homosexuality an abomination?
17. So what part of the body is the soul located in?
18. How the bible evolved.
19. The world rest on pillars, who knew?
20. Do prayers works?
21. The different versions of resurrection.
22. Dahmer became a born again Christian, is he in heaven?
23. The amusing story of Lot.
24. Noah's Ark..the story is all wet.
25. Why were the stone tablets not preserved for future generations?
26. Why did Got not ensure that the original copies of the bible be preserved?
27. If we are not descended from monkeys why do we still have a bone in our bodies called the "tail bone?" Interesting.
28. Near-death experiences.
29. So much more...
30. Author's cartons.
1. One technical error. Evolution does not account for the origins of life. It accounts for how life changed over time.
2. Many great topics but doesn't go into too much detail.
3. Doesn't go into the history of how the bible was assembled.
4. There is no bibliography or notes section.
In summary, I enjoyed this book. It really is thought provoking and takes some unique angles. The author takes a respectful tone yet doesn't hesitate to ask the tough and important questions. If you are a skeptic or don't mind having your faith tested this is the book for you. A recommended read!
Further suggestions: "50 reasons people give for believing in a god" by Guy P. Harrison, "Godless" by Dan Barker, "Why I Became an Atheist" by John Loftus, "Christian No More" by Jeffrey Mark, and "The Invention of God" by Bill Lauritzen.
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