A scholarly look at the Bible and its value as a moral guide.
This in-depth work begins by chronicling the history of how the Old and New Testaments were written. Through well-researched facts from other biblical scholars, Garcia supports his assertion that there is no evidence for most of the stories in the Bible; rather, they are legends invented by scribes to create a common cultural heritage for the Judeans and Israelites. The time gap between when events actually occurred and when they were recorded seriously undermines the credibility of its “prophesies,” which were written well after the fact. Garcia goes on to argue that Jesus was probably only one of many insurgents whom the Romans crucified. Garcia skewers the morality shown in the Bible; its directives are more concerned with how to worship rather than how to behave towards one another. He gives many examples from the Bible of God acting in an immoral way, deceiving and murdering, as well as the obvious immorality of the Bible’s acceptance of slavery, war, and rape. He addresses the existence of God, and not by falling into the common assumption that if the Bible is fictitious, then there must be no God. He asserts that our universe, and life itself, is so complex that it is statistically impossible that it arose out of pure chance. Here, his writing can get rather dense with scientific jargon. However, though he seems to believe in the existence of a creator, a “biochemist of omniscient intelligence,” in the end, he says, it doesn’t matter if God exists or not. His (Garcia uses the masculine pronoun exclusively when writing about God) existence isn’t essential to morality. Therefore, the author argues, we must create a morality based not on religion, but on human dignity. Garcia’s only real weakness is his habit of belaboring the point. In the end, though, the book offers a scathing criticism of religion (Christianity in particular) backed up with plenty of research.
Though at times dense and hard to follow, still a useful reference to counter Christian claims that the Bible is a divinely inspired historical record.