Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
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24-06-2011, 09:49 PM
Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
Hallo forum members.

I'm Mark, I've been dabbling in this forum for a number of weeks now and I'm very impressed with the standard of comments and, generally speaking, the mutual respect members show each other.

I am a first time author. I have written a book over the last 5-6 years on the Bible, the origins of Christianity and therefore the legitimacy of Christianity in today's world. It is currently going through the first round of copy editing, and I hope it will be published in 4-5 months. I estimate I have put 10,000 hours of work into it. I believe I have some fascinating history to discuss and some fascinating conclusions. I am not a history or philosophy academic (I am, in fact, a doctor of medicine), but hope that very fact may make my writings fresh and appealing.

My plan is to bit by bit present it to you and ask for your feedback. Why should you help me? Well, I believe most of us are here to help share knowledge with our fellow men and ultimately therefore do our bit to make the world a better place. It is possible that the book may fill a niche in the market and create a bit of a stir. Please understand I have no delusions that I can change the world, but to try to do so may just help some people, and the journey can give us great satisfaction too. Most of us on this forum are dismayed at the damage Christianity sometimes causes on a community and personal level, and this book may help get our ideas out there. Also I believe the history I present is really interesting.

Why do I need your input? Well, I'm just one person, and one person's ideas are inferior to those of a community of intelligent and informed commentators. I will be pleased with constructive criticism and also will learn from your input about parts that "work". I'll only get one shot at this, so I want to get it as good as possible.

I am not trying to promote the book here. If anyone from this forum wants a copy they can have it for free as an ebook once it is published. I am not trying to raise my personal profile here either. I do have a website, with a couple of photos of me, because buyers of a book need to feel some sort of connection with an author. 95% of the website is about the issue of Christianity. I am a little embarrassed that there is a commercial flavour to this discussion because I'm going to try to sell something, and am aware that people might be cynical. I can't pretend, however, that I don't want it be successful. I'm being completely up front with everyone about this.

It is presumptious of me to imagine you may like to help, but fortune favours the brave so I am going to have a go! I have had a very favourable review from an independent manuscript appraisal agency, so have reason to believe some people will enjoy reading it.

The book is called "Get Over Christianity by Understanding It", although the title can still be changed. I'm going to give you the contents page and then the brief introduction so you can gain an appreciation of the scope and the flavour of the book. I hope I can stimulate some of you to become interested.

Regards, Mark

Contents

Introduction pg.8
Questioning the Bible.
Section One…The Bible
Chapter 1...The Old Testament pg. 12
Introduction. A Brief History of the Jews. Who wrote the Old Testament? The Formation of the Canon of the Old Testament. What’s in the Old Testament? The Ethics of the Old Testament. Characteristics of Yahweh. The Ten Commandments. An Exclusive and Powerful God. Explanations of Natural phenomena. The Creation story. Other myths. Heaven, Hell and Satan. The Old Testament is the Foundation of Christianity. Did the Old Testament Predict Jesus? Summary

Chapter 2… Jesus in the Gospels pg. 46
Eye Witness Accounts? When Were the Gospels Written? Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. The Problem of Translations. The Words of Jesus? Why Were the Gospels Written? 200 Years of Additions, Deletions and Alterations. Paternity Issues. The Virgin Mary? Jesus the Miracle Worker? Second hand Teachings! Jesus’ Teachings. An Intolerant Jesus. Jesus the Xenophobe. Jesus threatens People with Hell. Jesus Praises Poverty. Jesus Wants People to be Miserable. The Patronising Jesus. The Ignorant Jesus. Jesus Undermines the Family Unit. Poorly Explained Dogma. The Contradictory Jesus. A forgiving Jesus? Jesus and Eunuchs. Jesus and Sex. An Unbalanced Jesus. Jesus the Pacifist. Jesus the Sacrifice? Salvation. Jesus and Faith. Jesus Lied. Admirable teachings of Jesus. Jesus Should Have Left a Written Legacy. Was Jesus a Creditable Philosopher? Have I Offended Jesus? The Mind of an Omniscient God. Jesus’ Resurrection. Four Inconsistent stories. Summary. Today’s churches have Reinvented Jesus.

Chapter 3… The Real Jesus pg. 81
Did Jesus Actually Exist? Jesus’ Birth. Jesus’ Early Life. Jesus’ Brothers and Sisters. A Man of his Times. Jesus and Judaism. The Political Climate in Palestine and Galilee. The Structure of Jewish Society. Sadducees. Scribes. Pharisees. Essenes. Jesus was an Essene. Zealots. Jesus the Young Man. Jesus the Political Activist. Brothers in Arms...John and Jesus. Jesus tries to build support. Jesus Enters Jerusalem. Jesus is Arrested. The Trial. After the Crucifixion. Summary of the Historical Jesus. Jesus of the Gospels is a Myth.

Chapter 4… Saint Paul pg. 113
Paul’s Early Life. Paul’s Early Opposition to the Followers of Jesus. Paul’s Change of Mind. The First Christian Author. Paul’s Theology. The Sacrificial Death of Jesus. Sin. Salvation. The Second Coming. The Source of Paul’s Theology. Paul Knew Nothing of the Gospel’s Jesus! Paul’s Relationship with the Family and Disciples of Jesus. Paul the Salesman. Paul and Judaism. The Last Supper. Paul the Empire Builder. Paul’s Ethics. Paul the Misogynist. Paul the Homophobe. Paul’s Attitude to Sex and Marriage. Paul the Totalitarian. Paul and Slavery. The Anti Semitic Paul. A Complex Character. Paul today. Summary of Paul

Chapter 5... James, Jesus’ Brother pg. 142
James’ letter. Jesus’ Brother Knows Nothing of the Gospels. Jesus’ Brother contradicts Paul. Cut from the same Cloth as Jesus.

Chapter 6... Followers of Jesus AD 30-70... The Nazarenes pg. 148

Chapter 7... The Beginnings of Christianity pg. 151

Chapter 8... The Book of Acts pg. 154
The Early Community of Jesus Supporters. A Historical Perspective. Stephen.
Paul in Jerusalem. Paul’s travels. Summary of Acts

Chapter 9...Peter pg. 165
Peter and the Vatican. The Lack of Biblical Evidence for Pope Peter. The Lack of Historical Evidence for Pope Peter. The Eventual Supremacy of Rome. Apostolic Succession? Peter’s Bones.

Chapter 10...Palestine AD 62-70 pg. 176
The Jews Gain Control of Jerusalem. Too Many Messiahs. The Kingdom of God?
A Disaster for Jews and Judaism

Chapter 11... Jews and Romans pg. 182
Jesus is a Gentile Creation. A Roman Plot?

Chapter 12…The Q Document and the Gospel of Thomas

Chapter 13…Important History and Characters Associated with the Formation of the Bible pg. 185
1st Century Christianity
Clement. Ignatius.
2nd Century Christianity
Papias. Polycarp. Marcion. Valentinus. Valentinus’ Gnosticism. Justin Martyr.
Irenaeus. The Catholic Church Invents History. The Gospels and Paul in
Historical Context.
3rd Century Christianity
Tertullian, Origen
4th Century Christianity
Eusebius. Ambrose. Jerome and Augustine

Chapter 14…The Compilation of the Bible pg. 218
Paul Resurfaces. The Gospels appear. The Apocalypse of Peter. A Bible Emerges. Conclusions

Chapter 15...The Integrity of Early Christians pg. 225
Some conclusions about Early Church Authorities. Why these Men were so Dishonest.

Chapter 16…Mithraism pg. 236

Chapter 17...What happened to the Nazarenes? pg. 239

Chapter 18...Conclusions about the Bible pg. 243
The Bible Can Only Look Backward. A Confusing Book. Which Bible? Cherry Picking the Bible. An Immoral Book. The Bible Doesn’t Have All the Answers. The Real Purpose of the Bible

Section 2. Christianity Today
Chapter 19...God in Context pg. 249

Chapter 20...Churches pg. 251
A Shameful History. Ignorance and Dishonesty. Power and Money. A Poor Track Record on Moral Issues. Churches and Children. Paedophilia and Churches. Marketing to Adults

Chapter 21...Christianity Damages the Individual and Society pg. 261
The Psychological Effects. The Damage to Society. The Future of Christianity

Chapter 22...Intuition pg. 263
The Power and Value of Rational Thought

Chapter 23…Thank-you and Goodbye pg. 273
[/b]

Introduction
On September 11th 2001 Islamic terrorists killed over 3000 innocent people. The world was shocked and wanted to know why. The terrorists were young suicidal Muslims who thought they were doing God’s work and that they would go straight to heaven. Some fundamentalist Muslims could barely control their glee at the damage done to America.

George W. Bush, a fundamentalist Christian, was outraged. He thought he should do something to retaliate, but didn’t know what, so he says he asked God. It wasn’t long before he thought he became God’s spokesman. He said
“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job.” He took America and a “coalition of the willing” from nominally Christian countries to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and claimed he had a moral authority to do this because Islam wasn’t a real religion. He said
“And I just — I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill in the name of — in the name of some kind of false religion.” His government lied to the world about the existence of weapons of mass destruction to justify their invasion of Iraq.

George W. Bush and the Muslim hijackers both imagined they were best friends with the same God, a character whose existence had been invented by the ancient Jews.
He spoke of an unbreakable bond uniting Israel and America, Jews and Christians, when he addressed the Israeli parliament in 2008.
“The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul.” He was talking about the Old Testament. The Israeli parliament responded to his speech with rapturous applause. It is clear some powerful Christians and Jews consider themselves allies, and in opposition to Islamists, because of deeply felt religious prejudices. Historically speaking that is a rather novel position, as Jews and Christians have been fighting each other for the last 1900 years. Both have been fighting Islamists over the last 1400 years for similar reasons.

We should be appalled and ashamed at the superstition and ignorance of the men who allow their religious prejudices to justify foreign policy.

There is and has been an undercurrent of religious antagonism between Christians, Islamists and Jews that is poisoning international relations, and one day this antagonism may lead to a nuclear war. All three groups have the same God in common, although each calls him by a different name. The only people who fail to see the irony of this are Jews, Christians and Islamists who are convinced their God, and only their God, is real.

Christian churches have had an integral and profound effect on the history of the world and still do. Some churches today are very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions. Every day churchmen give their opinions from the pulpit and through the media, advising people on social, moral and even scientific issues. Their activities are often financed by tax-free money. They educate a large proportion of the western world’s children. They are a very diverse bunch, yet there is one thing they all have in common; they claim to derive their authority from the Bible. All discussion about the merit of Christianity ultimately hinges on the legitimacy of the Bible, the very heart of Christianity. It has been and is the most important and influential book in the world. It colours people’s attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science and learning. I have spent six years researching the history of the Bible, and I want to share what I have discovered with you.

Most Christians have been told that everything they need to know about the Bible is in it, which is not the case. I will explain the social and political context in which the Bible was written. I will answer some big questions
- Who wrote the Bible?
- From where did they source their information?
- What were the authors hoping to achieve?
- What was fact and what was fiction?
- Who were the ancient Jews of the Old Testament?
- Who were Jesus, Peter and Paul?
- Is the Bible consistent?
- Are the ethics of the Bible good ethics, and are they all about love, forgiveness and caring for others?
- Has reliance on Christian teaching from the Bible been beneficial to the world and to individuals?
- Does God exist?

My book is an assimilation of creditable opinions drawn from an enormous Biblical scholarly community and my own assessments of primary sources such as the Bible itself and contemporary commentators. It is very apparent to me that the general public is unaware of the important conclusions of all this scholarly work. That is a seriously unfortunate failure of communication that this book will rectify. I will make it easy for the reader to put the whole topic of Christianity into its correct perspective.

This book is unique for a number of reasons. It won’t be found in a Christian bookstore because I don’t assume the Bible is the word of God, but rather an ancient document written by authors who had their own agendas. I discuss history in enough depth for the reader to conclude what probably happened and compare those findings with the conventional Christian story. That makes the history come alive because it makes it relevant to our lives today, something most historical books shy away from doing because it is too controversial and too hard.

I think I have unravelled the real story of Christianity and the conclusions I make rock the very foundations of faith. I think the reader will be enthralled by the facts revealed. Some Christians will have their feathers ruffled, but will ultimately benefit from the experience. They will free themselves from much guilt, depression and repression. I believe that anyone who has been lectured to or oppressed by dominant Christian figures will be empowered by these pages. This is a book the intelligent inquisitive person who is interested in history, the role of Christianity in the world, and how to best educate their children should find very enlightening.

On Questioning the Bible
I think many Christians have been conditioned to be afraid of any ideas that don’t support the power of churches. They have been told they should just accept the Bible’s authority. Those Christians have been lied to and I want to tell them the truth.

Many Biblical stories and concepts raise serious questions. Who made God? Why would God commit genocide? Did a virgin really have a baby? Did Jesus really outwit the laws of nature with all those miracles? Did he really rise from the dead? Why would a man sacrifice himself for someone else’s sins? Why would God condemn people to hell? Surprisingly, it is children who most often ask questions like these because they have an unbridled, natural curiosity and a good sense of what is real and fair. Their willingness to question puts their hesitant and suppressed parents to shame. I think all Christians deserve to have questions like these answered.

Christians are always told they must have faith. Yet faith, in the religious sense, is the belief in something for which there is no good evidence. When there is evidence, faith is replaced by fact. Faith is just a nice word for wishful thinking, bias, or superstition, has no intellectual merit, and is no substitute for honest scepticism.

People are sometimes told that to be sceptical about the Bible is to be irreverent. The Bible deserves to be examined with respect. Reverence, however, is respect tinged with awe, and awe compromises a rational assessment of the facts.

Some Christians claim that to question their religious beliefs is offensive. Yet in the Bible the ancient Jews and God himself attacked people because they had different beliefs. Jesus even threatened to have anyone who didn’t worship him killed (see Luke 19:27). Paul, the man often credited with inventing Christian theology, was highly critical of his fellow Jews’ beliefs. Throughout history Christians have criticised and attacked Islamists and Jews for their beliefs. It is therefore very hypocritical of Christians to claim to be offended when their own beliefs are questioned.
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24-06-2011, 11:40 PM
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
Hello, I am something of a writer myself. I will gladly give my critique as I absolutely understand the value of genuine constructive criticism.

First bit of advice, I'd change the title. The title you currently have would work fine as a subtitle, but a title absolutely has to have more punch.

Something like this...

Bible Morphology: Getting Over Christianity by Understanding It

As to the writing itself, I find it concise and clear, but a little lacking in rhythm. A narrative needs a cadence.

Take this sentence for example: "It is very apparent to me that the general public is unaware of the important conclusions of all this scholarly work."

The first clause "It is very apparent to me" is clunky. You don't really need the word very. Apparent is apparent. Also people seldom say "it is" they say, "it's." Also, if you start with the words "to me" you instantly personalize the thought in a way that's not overly authoritative. So what we have is "To me, it's apparent that the general public is unaware of the important conclusions of all this scholarly work." Continuing, we don't need the word "that". Also, the phrase "is unaware" is more passive and lacks the punch of "is not aware." Finally, the concluding phrase "of all this scholarly work" says what it needs to say, but it could say it better.

So here's my edit.

To me, it's apparent the general public is not aware of the important conclusions compelled by this scholarly work.

***

A few other points. I find the opening salvo about Bush and 9/11 to be disconnected. You need to bring it back in for the conclusion of your intro. It should be easy to do since in the final paragraphs you're discussing the themes you laid out in the opening.

I also think you would be well served to tone down some of the conclusion-based commentary. Rather than "I will show" say "I intend to show." This will make the ideas more palatable IMO.

I hope I helped. If you'd like more help, I'll be glad to read the entire manuscript and submit notes. It honestly does look like fascinating material.
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25-06-2011, 12:19 AM
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
Long ago, the Bible may have helped in promoting social cohesion until the Age of Enlightenment. Maybe giving equal weightage to how Christianity, or religion in general has started to produce more drawbacks than benefits after people started recognising the value of science helps Big Grin Usually, problems arise when people warp what they see in the Bible to their own benefit, or when they cherry-pick verses. Maybe select certain verses and illustrate how people warp these verses to backup their points? Highlighting how the church rose to power in the 1600s may help too. Otherwise, sounds like a great book!

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25-06-2011, 12:27 AM (This post was last modified: 25-06-2011 01:13 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
(24-06-2011 11:40 PM)gamutman Wrote:  Hello, I am something of a writer myself. I will gladly give my critique as I absolutely understand the value of genuine constructive criticism.

First bit of advice, I'd change the title. The title you currently have would work fine as a subtitle, but a title absolutely has to have more punch.

Something like this...

Bible Morphology: Getting Over Christianity by Understanding It

As to the writing itself, I find it concise and clear, but a little lacking in rhythm. A narrative needs a cadence.

Take this sentence for example: "It is very apparent to me that the general public is unaware of the important conclusions of all this scholarly work."

The first clause "It is very apparent to me" is clunky. You don't really need the word very. Apparent is apparent. Also people seldom say "it is" they say, "it's." Also, if you start with the words "to me" you instantly personalize the thought in a way that's not overly authoritative. So what we have is "To me, it's apparent that the general public is unaware of the important conclusions of all this scholarly work." Continuing, we don't need the word "that". Also, the phrase "is unaware" is more passive and lacks the punch of "is not aware." Finally, the concluding phrase "of all this scholarly work" says what it needs to say, but it could say it better.

So here's my edit.

To me, it's apparent the general public is not aware of the important conclusions compelled by this scholarly work.

***

A few other points. I find the opening salvo about Bush and 9/11 to be disconnected. You need to bring it back in for the conclusion of your intro. It should be easy to do since in the final paragraphs you're discussing the themes you laid out in the opening.

I also think you would be well served to tone down some of the conclusion-based commentary. Rather than "I will show" say "I intend to show." This will make the ideas more palatable IMO.

I hope I helped. If you'd like more help, I'll be glad to read the entire manuscript and submit notes. It honestly does look like fascinating material.

Thankyou gamutman!

Your comments are spot on. That is very generous of you to offer your help. I feel honoured.

There is a fabulous synergy possible here from my perspective. If I can find people like yourself who are passionate about the topic at hand and willing to help a little, it may just turn from a good book into a great book.

Warmest regards, Mark


(25-06-2011 12:19 AM)robotworld Wrote:  Long ago, the Bible may have helped in promoting social cohesion until the Age of Enlightenment. Maybe giving equal weightage to how Christianity, or religion in general has started to produce more drawbacks than benefits after people started recognising the value of science helps Big Grin Usually, problems arise when people warp what they see in the Bible to their own benefit, or when they cherry-pick verses. Maybe select certain verses and illustrate how people warp these verses to backup their points? Highlighting how the church rose to power in the 1600s may help too. Otherwise, sounds like a great book!

Thankyou for your suggestions and encouragemet

I agree with you about the warping. I'll have a go shortly at rewriting the intro.

As to 1600's and church power, I'm by no stretch an authority on this period of world history. I'm therefore a bit tentative about commenting. I think churches in Europe have been quite powerful since the fourth century, and I am sure you are right about them augmenting that power in the 16th century. Do you think that's an important point to make in the introduction....or later in the book?


Ok, gamutman and robotworld, here is the introduction with some minor changes...

Introduction
On September 11th 2001 Islamic terrorists killed over 3000 innocent people. The world was shocked and wanted to know why. The terrorists were young suicidal Muslims who thought they were doing God’s work and that they would go straight to heaven. Some fundamentalist Muslims could barely control their glee at the damage done to America.

George W. Bush, a fundamentalist Christian, was outraged. He thought he should do something to retaliate, but didn’t know what, so he says he asked God. It wasn’t long before he thought he became God’s spokesman. He said
“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job.” He took America and a “coalition of the willing” from nominally Christian countries to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and claimed he had a moral authority to do this because Islam wasn’t a real religion. He said
“And I just — I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill in the name of — in the name of some kind of false religion.” His government lied to the world about the existence of weapons of mass destruction to justify their invasion of Iraq.

George W. Bush and the Muslim hijackers both imagined they were best friends with the same God, a character whose existence had been invented by the ancient Jews.
He spoke of an unbreakable bond uniting Israel and America, Jews and Christians, when he addressed the Israeli parliament in 2008.
“The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul.” He was talking about the Old Testament. The Israeli parliament responded to his speech with rapturous applause. It is clear some powerful Christians and Jews consider themselves allies, and in opposition to Islamists, because of deeply felt religious prejudices. Historically speaking that is a rather novel position, as Jews and Christians have been fighting each other for the last 1900 years. Both have been fighting Islamists over the last 1400 years for similar reasons.

We should be appalled and ashamed at the superstition and ignorance of the men who allow their religious prejudices to justify foreign policy.
There is and has been an undercurrent of religious antagonism between Christians, Islamists and Jews that is poisoning international relations, and one day this antagonism may lead to a nuclear war. All three groups have the same God in common, although each calls him by a different name. The only people who fail to see the irony of this are Jews, Christians and Islamists who are convinced their God, and only their God, is real.

Christian churches have had an integral and profound effect on the history of the world and still do. Some churches today are very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions. Every day churchmen give their opinions from the pulpit and through the media, advising people on social, moral and even scientific issues. Their activities are often financed by tax-free money. They educate a large proportion of the western world’s children. They are a very diverse bunch, yet there is one thing they all have in common; they claim to derive their authority from the Bible. All discussion about the merit of Christianity ultimately hinges on the legitimacy of the Bible, the very heart of Christianity. It has been and is the most important and influential book in the world. It colours people’s attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science and learning. I have spent six years researching the history of the Bible, and I want to share what I have discovered with you.

Most Christians have been told that everything they need to know about the Bible is in it, which is not the case. I will explain the social and political context in which the Bible was written. I will answer some big questions
- Who wrote the Bible?
- From where did they source their information?
- What were the authors hoping to achieve?
- What was fact and what was fiction?
- Who were the ancient Jews of the Old Testament?
- Who were Jesus, Peter and Paul?
- Is the Bible consistent?
- Are the ethics of the Bible good ethics, and are they all about love, forgiveness and caring for others?
- Has reliance on Christian teaching from the Bible been beneficial to the world and to individuals?
- Is reading the 2000-year-old Bible to help determine international foreign policy justifiable in today’s world?
- Is cherry picking and reinterpreting the Bible’s writings justifiable?
- Does God even exist?
My book is an assimilation of creditable opinions drawn from an enormous Biblical scholarly community and my own assessments of primary sources such as the Bible itself and contemporary commentators. To me, it's apparent the general public is not aware of the important conclusions compelled by this scholarly work. That is a seriously unfortunate failure of communication that this book will rectify. I will make it easy for the reader to put the whole topic of Christianity into its correct perspective.

This book is unique for a number of reasons. It won’t be found in a Christian bookstore because I don’t assume the Bible is the word of God, but rather an ancient document written by authors who had their own agendas. I discuss history in enough depth for the reader to conclude what probably happened and compare those findings with the conventional Christian story. That makes the history come alive because it makes it relevant to our lives today, something most historical books shy away from doing because it is too controversial and too hard.
I think I have unravelled the real story of Christianity and the conclusions I make rock the very foundations of faith. I think the reader will be enthralled by the facts revealed. Some Christians will have their feathers ruffled, but will ultimately benefit from the experience. They will free themselves from much guilt, depression and repression. I believe that anyone who has been lectured to or oppressed by dominant Christian figures will be empowered by these pages. This is a book the intelligent inquisitive person who is interested in history, the role of Christianity in a social and political context, and how to best educate their children should find very enlightening.
On Questioning the Bible
I think many Christians have been conditioned to be afraid of any ideas that don’t support the power of churches. They have been told they should just accept the Bible’s authority. Those Christians have been lied to and I want to tell them the truth.

Many Biblical stories and concepts raise serious questions. Who made God? Why would God commit genocide? Did a virgin really have a baby? Did Jesus really outwit the laws of nature with all those miracles? Did he really rise from the dead? Why would a man sacrifice himself for someone else’s sins? Why would God condemn people to hell? Surprisingly, it is children who most often ask questions like these because they have an unbridled, natural curiosity and a good sense of what is real and fair. Their willingness to question puts their hesitant and suppressed parents to shame. I think all Christians deserve to have questions like these answered.

Christians are always told they must have faith. Yet faith, in the religious sense, is the belief in something for which there is no good evidence. When there is evidence, faith is replaced by fact. Faith is just a nice word for wishful thinking, bias, or superstition, has no intellectual merit, and is no substitute for honest scepticism.

People are sometimes told that to be sceptical about the Bible is to be irreverent. The Bible deserves to be examined with respect. Reverence, however, is respect tinged with awe, and awe compromises a rational assessment of the facts.

Some Christians claim that to question their religious beliefs is offensive. Yet in the Bible the ancient Jews and God himself attacked people because they had different beliefs. Jesus even threatened to have anyone who didn’t worship him killed (see Luke 19:27). Paul, the man often credited with inventing Christian theology, was highly critical of his fellow Jews’ beliefs. Throughout history Christians have criticised and attacked Islamists and Jews for their beliefs. It is therefore very hypocritical of Christians to claim to be offended when their own beliefs are questioned.
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25-06-2011, 01:20 AM
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
Quote:Do you think that's an important point to make in the introduction....or later in the book?

In my opinion, I feel that it should be placed in the introduction, to show the readers how the church possess such power to influence nations and their people in the past using the holy scriptures, and then draw a comparison to the modern day, where although the power of churches are reduced, various branches of Christianity frequently use the Bible to influence how people perceive controversial issues, usually along the lines of "God will be very angry if you do (...)". From then on, you can start your first chapter on the old testament. People usually assume something to be the truth if they strongly believe in it, and this is usually a result of nurture by parents or influences from the environment. Maybe add it after the 911 introduction? That example makes a strong point on how hypocritical some people are.

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25-06-2011, 01:40 AM
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
(25-06-2011 01:20 AM)robotworld Wrote:  
Quote:Do you think that's an important point to make in the introduction....or later in the book?

In my opinion, I feel that it should be placed in the introduction, to show the readers how the church possess such power to influence nations and their people in the past using the holy scriptures, and then draw a comparison to the modern day, where although the power of churches are reduced, various branches of Christianity frequently use the Bible to influence how people perceive controversial issues, usually along the lines of "God will be very angry if you do (...)". From then on, you can start your first chapter on the old testament. People usually assume something to be the truth if they strongly believe in it, and this is usually a result of nurture by parents or influences from the environment. Maybe add it after the 911 introduction? That example makes a strong point on how hypocritical some people are.

Ok...got it...thanks. What do you think of this...

Christian churches have had an integral and profound effect on the history of the world. In the sixteenth century, they became proficient at wielding power to influence nations and their people using the holy scriptures. In modern times, although the power of churches has been reduced, Christians frequently use the Bible to influence how people perceive controversial issues. Some churches today are very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions. Every day churchmen give their opinions from the pulpit and through the media, advising people on social, moral and even scientific issues. Their activities are often financed by tax-free money. They educate a large proportion of the western world’s children. They are a very diverse bunch, yet there is one thing they all have in common; they claim to derive their authority from the Bible. All discussion about the merit of Christianity ultimately hinges on the legitimacy of the Bible, the very heart of Christianity. It has been and is the most important and influential book in the world. It colours people’s attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science and learning. I have spent six years researching the history of the Bible, and I want to share what I have discovered with you.
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25-06-2011, 02:10 AM
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
(25-06-2011 01:40 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(25-06-2011 01:20 AM)robotworld Wrote:  
Quote:Do you think that's an important point to make in the introduction....or later in the book?

In my opinion, I feel that it should be placed in the introduction, to show the readers how the church possess such power to influence nations and their people in the past using the holy scriptures, and then draw a comparison to the modern day, where although the power of churches are reduced, various branches of Christianity frequently use the Bible to influence how people perceive controversial issues, usually along the lines of "God will be very angry if you do (...)". From then on, you can start your first chapter on the old testament. People usually assume something to be the truth if they strongly believe in it, and this is usually a result of nurture by parents or influences from the environment. Maybe add it after the 911 introduction? That example makes a strong point on how hypocritical some people are.

Ok...got it...thanks. What do you think of this...

Christian churches have had an integral and profound effect on the history of the world. In the sixteenth century, they became proficient at wielding power to influence nations and their people using the holy scriptures. In modern times, although the power of churches has been reduced, Christians frequently use the Bible to influence how people perceive controversial issues. Some churches today are very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions. Every day churchmen give their opinions from the pulpit and through the media, advising people on social, moral and even scientific issues. Their activities are often financed by tax-free money. They educate a large proportion of the western world’s children. They are a very diverse bunch, yet there is one thing they all have in common; they claim to derive their authority from the Bible. All discussion about the merit of Christianity ultimately hinges on the legitimacy of the Bible, the very heart of Christianity. It has been and is the most important and influential book in the world. It colours people’s attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science and learning. I have spent six years researching the history of the Bible, and I want to share what I have discovered with you.

How about...

"In modern times, although the power of churches has been reduced, some churches today are still very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions."

The sentence omitted is a bit redundant with the next few sentences on "Every day churchmen give their opinions..."

Also, maybe some notable examples and general verified trends can help make your introduction stronger.

Hope that helps Smile

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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25-06-2011, 02:46 AM
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
(25-06-2011 02:10 AM)robotworld Wrote:  
(25-06-2011 01:40 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(25-06-2011 01:20 AM)robotworld Wrote:  
Quote:Do you think that's an important point to make in the introduction....or later in the book?

In my opinion, I feel that it should be placed in the introduction, to show the readers how the church possess such power to influence nations and their people in the past using the holy scriptures, and then draw a comparison to the modern day, where although the power of churches are reduced, various branches of Christianity frequently use the Bible to influence how people perceive controversial issues, usually along the lines of "God will be very angry if you do (...)". From then on, you can start your first chapter on the old testament. People usually assume something to be the truth if they strongly believe in it, and this is usually a result of nurture by parents or influences from the environment. Maybe add it after the 911 introduction? That example makes a strong point on how hypocritical some people are.

Ok...got it...thanks. What do you think of this...

Christian churches have had an integral and profound effect on the history of the world. In the sixteenth century, they became proficient at wielding power to influence nations and their people using the holy scriptures. In modern times, although the power of churches has been reduced, Christians frequently use the Bible to influence how people perceive controversial issues. Some churches today are very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions. Every day churchmen give their opinions from the pulpit and through the media, advising people on social, moral and even scientific issues. Their activities are often financed by tax-free money. They educate a large proportion of the western world’s children. They are a very diverse bunch, yet there is one thing they all have in common; they claim to derive their authority from the Bible. All discussion about the merit of Christianity ultimately hinges on the legitimacy of the Bible, the very heart of Christianity. It has been and is the most important and influential book in the world. It colours people’s attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science and learning. I have spent six years researching the history of the Bible, and I want to share what I have discovered with you.

How about...

"In modern times, although the power of churches has been reduced, some churches today are still very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions."

The sentence omitted is a bit redundant with the next few sentences on "Every day churchmen give their opinions..."

Also, maybe some notable examples and general verified trends can help make your introduction stronger.

Hope that helps Smile

Sure does help! How does it read to you now?

Christian churches have had an integral and profound effect on the history of the world. In the sixteenth century, they became proficient at wielding power to influence nations and their people using the holy scriptures. In modern times, although the power of churches has been reduced, some churches are still very wealthy, very powerful and have close links with the world’s governments, stock markets and financial institutions. The Vatican, for example, is the wealthiest institution in the world. Every day churchmen give their opinions from the pulpit and through the media, advising people on social, moral and even scientific issues. In America, for example, some churches own television and radio stations. Their activities are often financed by tax-free money. They educate a large proportion of the western world’s children. They are a very diverse bunch, yet there is one thing they all have in common; they claim to derive their authority from the Bible. All discussion about the merit of Christianity ultimately hinges on the legitimacy of the Bible, the very heart of Christianity. It has been and is the most important and influential book in the world. It colours people’s attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science and learning. I have spent six years researching the history of the Bible, and I want to share what I have discovered with you.
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25-06-2011, 06:40 AM
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
I have a title suggestion as right now that's what I'm stuck on. Sorry that it's only one title suggestion but I'm tired today.
A Pattern of Faith: Getting Over Christianity by Understanding It

The opening is looking very good I will try to be more help as we come along.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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25-06-2011, 06:45 AM (This post was last modified: 25-06-2011 08:47 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Anyone Interested In Critiquing My Book?
(25-06-2011 06:40 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  I have a title suggestion as right now that's what I'm stuck on. Sorry that it's only one title suggestion but I'm tired today.
A Pattern of Faith: Getting Over Christianity by Understanding It

The opening is looking very good I will try to be more help as we come along.

Hey thanks...I will put that one on the list. Have a sleep! warmest regards, Mark

Ok attached as a word document is chapter 1 on the Old Testament. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks, Mark
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