An attorney offers a highly readable debut treatise on the history and contradictions of Christianity and its Gospels.
In this book, Craig aims to offer his readers ammunition to counter the rhetoric of fundamentalist Christians by pointing out hypocrisy, biblical contradictions and what he deems to be flat-out inaccurate beliefs. Overall, he meets this goal, as when he includes the history of the Gospels’ publication and their content, including the unsourced, later additions of one of Jesus’ most famous moments and the concept of the Holy Trinity. That said, a few moments seem to be mere hair-splitting (such as minute differences in the Gospels regarding what was written on Jesus’ cross) or miss the point entirely, as when the author triumphantly shows that Mary wasn’t a lifelong virgin but fails to disprove the Immaculate Conception before she became sexually active. He also uses extreme examples, such as the highly controversial Westboro Baptist Church, to characterize all fundamentalists everywhere, and the occasionally grating cartoons, illustrated by Christian Mirra, wear thin. Nonetheless, the author makes a good argument against what he sees as fundamentalist greed, self-promotion and intolerance. However, one suspects that he and his readers won’t ever win over fundamentalists’ hearts and minds; after all, Galileo might have been right about Earth revolving around the sun, but the Catholic Church still kept him under house arrest until his death. But even if readers can’t use this book to truly triumph over Craig’s nemeses, it doesn’t make it any less interesting to read. Ironically, the book is at its best when it offers more moderate Christians an entertaining primer of their own religion’s history. Readers who’ve been Christians since childhood but whose knowledge of the Bible is limited to Sunday school lectures and Hollywood epics may find valuable information in this book. Craig delivers his engaging research in a breezy tone throughout, and he remains respectful of Christianity’s core message: Love God and thy neighbor, no matter what.
An enjoyable way for moderate or lapsed Christians to learn the history—and possible absurdities—of their faith.