Time For A Commercial Break

Many of you who follow my blog have already purchased and read my book, “Things I Never Learned in Sunday School: Facts about the Christian faith that will surprise and astound you.”

And I appreciate every single one of you!

But …

As I read some of the comments and statements in the blogosphere, it appears there are still many individuals who are relying on hearsay and false teachings related to the Christian faith. Even those who adamantly claim the title of atheist or non-believer occasionally share information that is (to use the vernacular of the day) …”fake news.”

I don’t claim to cover all aspects of Christianity in my book, but I do address — and often discount — many of the more popular beliefs circulated within and without “The Faith.” In fact, I think many people would be “surprised and astounded” to learn there are “holes” in what they have been taught.

Let me be perfectly clear. I do not claim to be an expert. And I’m most certainly no bible scholar. But I did spend several years doing research on many of the teachings of Christianity  and discovered that a considerable amount of what is stated as factisn’t.

For anyone interested, I have a blog dedicated entirely to my book — EscapeFromReligion.wordpress.com — where you will find a listing of the contents and also some excerpts. There is also information on where you can purchase various formats. The cost is extremely reasonable for the eBook version and less then $10 (on Amazon) for the paperback.

“Be sure to tell your doctor if …” Whoops! Wrong commercial. 😀

I welcome your comments and questions.

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I’m Stoked!

WOW!

I just received a review for my book (Things I Never Learned in Sunday School) that caused my hat size to expand significantly. What made it so fantastic is the reviewer (Infidel 753) didn’t just say things like, “I really enjoyed your book,” or “I learned a lot from your book,” or “Great book.” No, he wrote a comprehensive review that truly highlighted the contents.

Ordinarily, I would just refer blog readers to Amazon to read the review, but in this instance you won’t find it there — so I’m proudly sharing it here.

Most atheists know that the dogmas of Christianity have little or no basis in objective reality.  But it turns out a lot of them don’t even have much basis in the religion’s own sacred text either.

Nan Yielding became “born again” in her early twenties, spent the next fifteen years in mental subjection to conservative Christianity, and eventually started questioning what she had been told to believe.  Finding that the church had no answers, she started looking for her own, by studying the Bible and other primary sources.  Startlingly, she found that the Bible is not what most Christians believe it is, and she ended up leaving Christianity altogether.  This book, however, is not a personal deconversion story — it’s a systematic explanation of what she discovered and, more importantly, the evidence backing up her conclusions.

To begin with, the religion of the ancient Hebrews evolved over time under the influence of the more powerful cultures by which the Hebrews were dominated in pre-Roman times — Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenistic Greek.  Several concepts that modern Christians believe were always part of it were borrowed from Zoroastrianism, in forms quite different from what they have become.  For example, Satan and Hell (each of the two gets a full chapter) don’t appear in the Old Testament in anything like their modern Christian versions.  When the passages modern Christians believe refer to them are examined in context and with reference to the words in the original language — as the book does in detail — it’s clear that they did not mean, and could not mean, what moderns think they did.

The New Testament comes under similar scrutiny.  Passages which modern Christians interpret as prophecies of the distant future (perhaps even our own time), when considered in light of the cultural and political circumstances when they were written, are clearly references to events and persons contemporary with their authors.  The character of Jesus, the resurrection, the role of Paul, the Antichrist, and the nature of God are similarly examined, with similar results.  Modern Christianity, like the ancient Hebrew religion, has evolved over time — and it has drifted far from its supposed source material.

It’s easy, some might object, to assert such interpretations.  But the meat of the book is the supporting evidence it provides.  The basis for each point is carefully explained, and there are 26 pages of endnotes, bibliography, and other resources.  At 170 pages total, it packs a huge amount of information into a relatively short read.  It’s well-written and easy to understand, even when discussing concepts not familiar to most people today.  And it’s not framed as a debunking of Christianity, but as an inquiry into where its ideas really came from.

There’s a saying that the Bible is like those long terms-and-conditions pages you get when you buy software on the internet.  Nobody actually reads it; they just scroll to the end and click “I agree”.  Nan did read it, and found that it doesn’t say what moderns think it does.  It isn’t even about what moderns think it is — its stories and polemics are addressed to the long-vanished and alien times when they were written, and have hardly anything to say to us at all.

P.S. If you would like to comment on anything in the review, you can find the “original” on Infidel’s blog. Hint: He also has other posts you might enjoy reading. 🙂

Like To Read? Don’t Miss This Opportunity!

Smashwords.com is sponsoring “Read an E-Book Week” starting Sunday, March 4th and running through Saturday, March 10th.

I have decided to participate and will be offering my book (Things I Never Learned in Sunday School) for $1.00. Yes, you read that correctly. One Dollar (regularly $3.99 @ Smashwords and $3.49 @ Amazon).

Perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard of my book — or perhaps you’ve been thinking of reading it but weren’t sure you’d like what it might contain.

Either way, here’s your chance to download it for a measly dollar. Even if you end up not liking it, what’s one dollar in today’s economy? And you can always delete it off your computer/tablet/phone and no one will be the wiser. 🙂

Of course if you do decide to take a chance … and end up LIKING it (!) … I would always appreciate a review on Amazon and/or Smashwords.

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about what the book is about, visit EscapeFromReligion.wordpress.com.

Things I Never Learned in Sunday School

The Identity of God

Back in March of this year (2012), I posted this question on my blog: “How Would You Describe God?” I didn’t get a single response. Now there’s always the possibility that no one read the posting, but I tend to believe it’s more that people find it difficult to answer the question.

Following is an excerpt from the last chapter of my book, “Things I Never Learned in Sunday School:”

With all that God means to Christians, when you ask them to describe their God, few have a ready answer. They may tell you what God means to them personally, they may quote scriptures about God, or they may use the aforementioned adjectives (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent) – but to actually put into words who or what God is seems to be a near impossible task. Some have gone so far as to say it is impossible for the finite mind of humans to define God. Perhaps part of the problem is that within Christianity there are actually three Gods, although believers will argue the three are simply different aspects of one God (more on this later).

Interestingly, non-Christians seem to be able to answer the question quite readily. One person I asked said God is an all-loving, all-powerful being who created everything there is. Another gave a more esoteric description by saying that God means “existence.” And someone defined God as the Truth that is unfathomable. An online website provided the very abstract definition of God as the “Transcendental Signifier.”

One individual supplied me with this profound definition: “A massive energy source that can transfer its energy, storing it into living things and allowing us to use it to function and transfer that energy into new beings as well. (Energy cannot be created or destroyed. So the energy we have in us was transferred from a previously existing energy source, not simply created.)”

Paul Tillich, a Christian existentialist philosopher, used the term “Ground of Being” to describe God. In his opinion, humans need something to overcome our existential angst, i.e., our fear of death. We need something “out there” to save us, to help us overcome the dread of our demise. To Tillich, God is this “Ground of Being,” the agent that helps us deal with our finitude.

An online dictionary defines God this way: “A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality.”

A few other definitions I came across are: God is love, God is nature, God is the infinite potentiality that underlies all matter and energy, God is the force behind the creation of the universe and the laws of nature.

[…]

Atheists (and secular humanists) often define God as nothing more than superstition, but more often they ask the question: “Can a thing which does not exist be defined?”

The basic truth is this: People may say they believe in God, but most have no clear idea exactly who or what that “God” is. One person summed it up by asking God this question: “Do any of us actually know what you are all about? We worship, revere, and pray to you but have absolutely no clue about you – who you are, where you came from, why you are, where you are, what you are … or if you even exist.”

If you would like to know more about the identity of “God,” I encourage you to read my book. In it, you will find information not only about God, but you will also learn the history behind several popular, but incorrect, Christian beliefs (e.g., Satan, Hell, Armageddon, the Antichrist).  It’s currently in eBook format but should be in paperback very soon.