While Ingersoll's choice of subject matter will forever ensure that his works will be more obscure than those of his contemporary, Mark Twain, his books deserve the same attention. Witty and scholarly, SMOM is a landmark work of Biblical criticism. Ingersoll disassembles the Pentatuch, pointing out the absurdities and barbarities contained within. While he does give the occasional bit of humor, he is serious in his conviction that the Bible is not the "good book" that it's often made out to be. This one is a must.
Robert Ingersoll has to be the most important nineteenth century figure who is now totally unknown. Ingersoll was known as the "Great Agnostic" and devoted his life to challenging people to rethink their preconceived notions about religion and the Bible. This book is his analysis of Genesis and over a century later it still forces you to open your mind and reconsider. Some of his arguments have been made a number of times in the intervening period but never with more punch or flare. A real eye opener!
The author makes dismantling the Pentateuch look easy. I have yet to hear or read a theologian debater or writer who is the equal of Ingersoll, or able to present any persuasive rebuttal in response to his arguments. Rather, generally, Ingersoll's detractors have either: urged the faithful to ignore his arguments; and/or heaped personal attacks upon him. Ironically, this is the same methodology that hate groups such as the KKK, the Neo-Nazi's, and others of their ilk, use in response to those who urge different views. The rationale of such strategy is that the end justifies the means. However, such conduct tacitly ackowledges that the defenders of the faith have conceded they cannot directly confront Ingersoll's arguments and ideas on the merits.Ingersoll's chapters on Noah's Ark and the flood to end all floods (pages138-168), the plagues God had Moses inflict upon Egypt (pages 190-209), the tower of Babel (pages 169-175), and the Jews flight from Pharaoh, including their forty years of wandering in the Sinai Desert (pages 210-240), render these stories fanciful and unworthy of literal belief, much less divine inspiration. This book is a must read for any thinking Christian or Jew. The author demonstrates logic, common sense,and humor. Ingersoll disects the contradictions and impossibilities of these, and other, Old Testament scriptures.I am now reading "American Infidel: Robert G. Ingersoll", a biography by Orvin Larson. I recommend it as a good read too.
I was referred to this book by "Losing Faith In Faith", another excellent read. Robert Ingersoll's easy to understand writing for the common person, including those not well versed in the bible, makes this book impossible to pass up. Every point and criticism of religion he made of his time still applies today. Highly recommended.
This book is joy to read, even if but for the literary style of Mr. Ingersoll. Though not a trained philosopher, Ingersoll points out much of the errancy and contradiction in the first books of the Bible.Better yet, he does it with a style and flair that is only comparable to Mark Twain! Most theists (especially Christians) will certainly STILL object to this book. Of course, Mr. Ingersoll used to get death threats in his day so I suspect the criticism by and large, is nothing new.Regardless, if you're a non-theist or have an open mind and appreciation for a well crafted and written book, this one is for you!
Wow. I thought that I knew the first 5 books of the bible fairly well, and had found most of the logical flaws that existed... but wow! Ingersoll has an incredible intellect and is quite witty as well. He goes through the first 5 books of the bible and just rips them apart. I don't see how any objective/rational person could read this and continue to believe any of it. Brilliance!
Ingersoll himself stated that it was not his goal to shatter Christianity, but to shatter the complacency of blindly following fundamentalist doctrine. He was encouraging genuine reflective equilibrium on the part of the religious. At first, this may seem like a road that leads directly to atheism, but I am here to testify that this is not true.
I'm glad that our Jewish friend resolved to sustain his quest and that Alexandre was strengthened in his freedom from stagnant thinking. But this is not the end. This is not all there is to say about what the mono-theistic tradition can contribute to humanity. It is not the perfect remedy for the "holly bible" as a whole but the perfect remedy for the fear of questioning it, which leads to seeing it clearly for what it actually is and understanding its true value.
After the hilarious and witty Ingersoll, who will get you thinking, I recommend moving on to the excellent scholorship of Karen Armstrong, who will give you not only evidence to support Ingersoll's claims but a new way of understanding the tradition in question. Ready to accept the world with a God-shaped hole in it, I was floored to realize that such a perspective wasn't a clear way of understanding the situation at all. I can tell you with confidence that if Ingersoll peaked your interest that at least A History of God is worth a read (if not all of her other books as well, which I haven't read but am anxiously planning to). Another interesting argument (similar to Ingersoll's) about the nature of complacent awe of the Bible can be found in the first chapter of Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton Mack.
Another fascinating perspective is that of the scientifically-focused Gerald Schroeder. All of his books are worth a read, but The Hidden Face of God is his most lucid account.