Sunday, July 22, 2018
Dan Barker - God, The Most Unpleasant Character In All Fiction (Sterling, 2016)
I once made the effort to summarise all the atrocities of the Bible, both Old and New Testament, because if one thing is obvious, it's the high level of selectivity with which clergy cite from the bible, giving the impression of a benevolent and moral god. My manuscript - in Dutch - was rejected because deemed blasphemous, despite only offering passages from the bible.
Anybody who has actually read the bible will confess that god is nothing less than a monster by today's standards, and I think Dan Barker's title is even a soft description of what the bible actually tells us.
In this book, Barker - a former evangelical preacher - enumerates all the atrocities in the bible, ordering the chapters by theme : the jealous and proud god, the unjust god, the unforgiving god, the misogynistic god, the ethnic cleanser, the genocidal, infanticidal, the vindictive, the bloodthirsty, the megalomaniac, ...
Most of us have no idea about this side of the bible, because it remains hidden in sermons and speeches. It also shows the hypocrisy of people who use the bible for reference to take moral positions against for instance gay people, but then not applying the good rules of the same bible to stone a girl to death because she was raped.
This book is not one to read, because it actually only lists passages from the bible according to the characterisations I described above.
It is 300 pages long. It is 300 pages of absolute horror. Not one person in his right mind would follow the moral guidance of its lead character. Unfortunately, too many do, which says a lot about their ignorance, irrationality and lack of intellectual curiosity.
I'm just afraid that only atheists will dare buy this book.