In his debut, a physician raised in a conservative Christian sect writes about his discovery that biblical literalism and scientific fact aren’t compatible.
Skeptic was brought up in the Middle East, and his family subscribed to the theology of the Plymouth Brethren, a nondenominational Christian group. As a Christian in a predominantly non-Christian land, Skeptic grew up in an unsurprisingly insulated community. (The author opts to use a pen name, partly out of respect for his devoutly Christian family members and also to protect himself from inevitable criticism for his current opinions.) He describes regular, intensive religious study, and a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible. The author found ways to obtain additional reading material, however, and he found that biblical inconsistencies made it difficult to reconcile his group’s literalism with his own expanding worldview. As his doubts reached crisis proportions, he read the works of other literalist evangelical writers in an attempt to reconcile with his faith. The author pursued a career in medicine and turned to the work of scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, for answers. Confronted with modern realities, Skeptic built the foundation of his new worldview on science. To his credit, he uses a novel approach to explain the rationale for his choice, by examining historical accounts of medical ailments and accounts of miraculous healing in Scripture, and scrutinizing them both under the microscope of modern medicine. He apologizes for potentially appearing condescending or patronizing, but his disdain is fairly dripping from the pages. Interestingly, however, he appears to have limited his examination to writers who held to his group’s literal interpretations. Readers may wonder why the author doesn’t mention other Christian denominations that support more metaphorical interpretations of Scripture, nor other non-Christian philosophies, such as Buddhism, which might have supplied him with an alternative perspective on faith. Instead, he simply determines that if the Bible’s facts are false, then science must be correct.
Skeptic exorcises his conservative Christian upbringing by matching literal Scripture to medical fact in this intriguing work.