I had to delete my review, because Amazon counts negative votes against our standings (which coerces us to give only positive reviews). However, my review was honest. The fact that so many negative votes were cast, shows how passionate the disciples of Harris and Dawkins are in their ideologies.
Here is my review in this format:
Harris makes many assumptions about those of us that believe the Bible and follow Jesus as our Lord. Yes, there are many out there using the banner of Christianity to herald their political agenda, but that isn't what many of us think we are to be doing.
I want to clarify some points about conservative Christians:
1. Believe it or not, many of us want to see the separation of church and state just as much as Mr. Harris does, but not to the point of infringing upon our freedoms and expressions of our beliefs. For example, if we had prayer in schools today, to whom would my children be asked to pray in this day of political correctness? I want the state to stay out of the church and out of trying to shape the beliefs of my children.
2. Some of us just love God and His doctrines and don't ascribe to every Republican doctrine.
3. Not all true Christians believe that we should be fighting a political agenda as our primary mission.. However, we are part of the state, and should participate as citizens of the state. The mission we were asked to undertake by our Lord was to spread the Good News, not to enforce our beliefs on our nation. Too often, the good news isn't heard because voices crying for some political agenda drown out the important messages from a loving God.
Separation of Church and State, is designed to keep the state out of the church. You can not take the church out of the state, because "we the people" are the state, and many of "we the people" are the church. The beliefs of the people are what lead our state, as it should be. Our beliefs come to bear just as much as Mr. Harris brings his beliefs to bear in the state, and I welcome everyone to participate in bringing their beliefs to bear, but please don't overbear.
I think it is a shame that this agenda against conservative, Bible believing Christians assumes that everyone that claims to be a "Christian" is the same as every other legalistic, politically motivated person that uses the banner of Christian." I have no desire whatsoever to dress up the unsaved of our nation to appear as Christians.
Yes, I believe the Bible, because it is irrefutable, and I am not an ideologue, I believe in applying the scientific method. God gave us brains and He doesn't want us to put them aside to believe something contrary to our rational minds. You may find this hard to believe, but some of us even have IQ's over 145, so please don't speak of us as though we are fools with a herd-like-following.
Sorry, Frank, but the act of asserting that the Bible is irrefutable, as you do, just doesn't make it so. It has been refuted ad infinitum. Christianity may have served a useful purpose over the centuries, but the Old and New Testaments contain countless statements that simply do not square with modern knowledge of nature and of history. At this point it is evident that it is time for Christianity to follow Mithraism, Paganism, Zeusism, Zoroastrianism, and the innumerable other early religious truths into the pages of history.
Regarding the alleged irrefutability of "the Bible," I sincerely hope that you do not in your mind, include the many commands found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus to wreak violence on our fellows, including instructions to stone people to death for various religious infractions (see e.g. Deuteronomy 22:13-21), approval of slavery, the regarding of women as possessions of their men, etc.
Unfortunately, intelligence alone does not prevent one from being a herding animal. Your case appears to testify to the failure of our educational system to teach our young people the most rudimentary elements of thinking logically and the formal application of the scientific method on which our immense technological industry is founded. Jefferson advocated a life-long process of learning, and if you are indeed an intelligent fellow, it may be that with continued study you may yet become enlightened in the 21st century sense. However, this is not very likely, as long as your mind remains closed to ideas not found in the writings of the ancients.
Why do you care so much about your "standing?" You seem awfully easily "coerced" if negative votes are all it takes for you to withdraw your opinion to a forum almost nobody reads. Be willing to stick your neck out.
You cannot call yourself a believer in the scientific method if you can accept the notion that something is irrefutable. A true scientist not only allows himself to be be proven incorrect, but seeks the opportunity. I suggest you apply your IQ consistently to all thousand-year-old books instead of singling out the Bible as an exception.
Well, Mr. Klein, if that was really your review, I can see why it received negative votes -- it is not a review of the book in the slightest, but only an expression of your own beliefs. It was "voted down" because it was not relevant.
Excellent review, you read my mind. About the negatives, I don't mind getting the negatives as long as a review's not deleted after reaching a certain threshold or otherwise cause a reviewer to get flagged and as a consequence have trouble in posting reviews.
KMC, Klein's review addressed the book by challenging its underlying assumptions that cause the entirety to be flawed, that's a fair and key factor to point out, since if the premise is off, the details and conclusions will be too.
First of all, don't be be so caustic. Can we express views on here without being ridiculed, and having heretical statements made of us and our education?
If my mind was closed, I wouldn't have read his books. Whereas, you speak from complete ignorance of the Bible, and your mind is closed to wisdom, because of a superiority complex that is abundant from your writing, and in your attempts to disparage me as a person. You have no idea what I believe nor why, because you are blinded with dogma in disguise.
Jennifer Kerns: I care that I am receiving undue negative votes for expressing how I viewed the book. The disciples of Harris are like sharks out to destroy the credit of anyone that dissents with their veiws.
By the looks of the responses here, I think that plenty of people read this.
Eugene Lin: You have no idea the exhaustive research I have done to disprove the Bible, and study other religions. I am not closed minded, I read this book, and many similar books, like Dawkins. I like a lot of what they contribute to science. I even read books like Dan Brown's (which by the way, was good fiction). I don't have a problem reading their thoughts, but as soon as I share my beliefs, everyone attacks, even using childish names. Double standards abound! It is actually quite amusing how foolish people sound when they act pompous, and belittle others as not being open-minded, while their fingers are in their ears.
If I can be shown one, even one bit of evidence to negate the Bible, I will renounce Christianity. But, I have to tell you, I have been a Christian for many years, and have read a lot. I find it amazing that anyone can believe in something as foolish as the theory of evolution, when all evidence is for the opposite to take place, with the loss of DNA. The second law of thermodynamics supports entropy and the breakdown of this cosmos. But, even with that said, do you know that the Bible never once says, "Life doesn't evolve?" Yes, I have read books by secular geneticists, and I am amazed at how they can believe is some very unfounded beliefs, such as a "gene creator that must have existed at one time." How anyone can not think that a God doesn't hold all this together, amazes me. When Dawkins speaks of the universe, I enjoy it, as it all points to a creator. It is too amazing to be chance. Just look at the complexity of one cell, and it is amazing. Do some mathematical computations for this to all take place by accident. I find it staggering that you can not believe in the master Scientist: God.
Encompassed Runner: I read two Harris books, and Dawkin's books during that week. When I posted the reviews, I received over 100 negative votes in a couple hours. Yes, I didn't want to be discredited from other reviews about different topics, just because of my views on these books. I am primarily a reader of fiction.
The fact that the system works this way is a shame, because it ensures that overly positive reviews are provided.
Dear Frank, You didn't "have" to delete your review, you only did so because (a) people vote on whether they agree with people's opinions (rather than whether the review is helpful as they are supposed to and (b) you care about your reviewer ranking.
As such, you raise a good point, for anyone who reads this. Please, everyone, vote on whether the review is helpful in your decision to read or buy a book rather than on whether you like what the reviewer has to say.
As an aside you said that you believe in the bible because it is irrefutable. However, every claim any person makes ever is irrefutable - the reason for this is that you can't ever absolutely prove a negative. We can't prove that Santa Clause does not exist (he may really be able to freeze time to deliever presents, whereever we look, he may be hiding somewhere else or be able to be invisible). If you believe everything that is irrefutable you should believe EVERYTHING, making you the world's only Christian-Jewish-Muslim-Hindu-Zoroastrian-Pagan that I've ever come across.
I'm merely going to use you to illustrate the problem with people who attack the Bible by citing Leviticus or some random Old Testament saying to prove the Bible as promoting a flat earth or barbarous ethics.
Those verses have to be placed within the whole of Biblical revelation which is then tied to a progressive Biblical theology. The Levitical law was part of the Old Covenant meant to purify the nation of Israel from her enemies. But ultimately it was a curse because no one could live up to the law, they could only be condemned by it. The Israelites didn't even get the point of the law, which was the condition of their hearts and willful obedience and submission to the one living God.
This is what Christ told the Pharisees and preached to the people when he came to fulfill the law and establish the New Covenant with his death and resurrection on the cross. The Bible isn't telling us to stone people or possess slaves. It requires an understanding of the specific scriptures placed within the whole of scripture to grasp this. A text without a context is a pretext.
Additionally, any understanding of ancient near easter hebrew, linguistic devices, and literature enables one to perfectly understand that the Bible doesn't advocate for a flat earth or any other such nonsense.
I hope this enables you to at least recognize why it is that such appeals to scripture fall flat when you use them against a Christian who has studied the Bible. Do you not think that I have asked these very questions? The Bible poses even more difficult ones once you really get into the meat of it, but amazingly it always comes around. That's been my experience. The day I can refute the Bible is the day I walk away from my faith.
Mr Wittman: The fact that "the bible always comes around", "amaizingly" is because you always expect it to do so. What I find amazing is how the human brain molds things to fit what it wants to believe no matter how much they must be streched using "ancient near easter hebrew, linguistic devices" and the like. The question you should be asking your self is why isn't God self evident and why isn't the Bible a clear cut factual book like, say the Pricipia Mathematica (Bertrand Russel). That anyone from any time and place could read and actually understand without the "aid" of organized religion.
Caustic? Ridiculed? These were not my intent. However, if you think my comments were caustic, I suspect you have little experience in publishing your writing through an editorial process.
It is indeed commendable on your part if you have read Harris's books, and moreover, your views on separation of church and state are admirable. I still contend that though you may have read Harris, your mind appears closed to his ideas, as you merely reject them without refuting them with any logical argument.
I confess to a certain amount of difficulty in precisely understanding some of your beliefs as expressed in your comments. You apparently have fallen into the trap of imprecisely stating your ideas which I see frequently in the writing of my younger colleagues. Given sufficient time and continued effort no doubt you will master the art of expressing your thoughts in the written word, as your intellect does seem to be a cut above many of the most vociferous of Harris' critics.
You state for example "Not all true Christians believe that we should be fighting a political agenda as our primary mission." There are two issues lacking clarity in this statement. First, I am assuming that you meant to say "fighting FOR a political agenda," vice "fighting a political agenda." Secondly, it could be inferred that, while not a PRIMARY agenda item, you consider it a legitimate SECONDARY agenda of Christians to press for laws that legislate Christian views of morality. Is this accurate, or did you mean to imply that the laws of the United States should in fact reflect the collective views of all honest citizens, including the minority views of non-Christians?
Another example of imprecision appears in your opening two-line paragraph. I have apparently written something that you interpret as making "heretical statements" of you and your education. I do not believe this to be the case. I don't even comprehend your meaning. Perhaps you meant that I had made disparaging statements about your education, as you intimate elswhere. My comments were only based on the evidence you provided in your written remarks. My conclusions are based on numerous specific points of EVIDENCE, some of which have already been stated. Other examples of your unclear thinking, or perhaps unclear writing which follows from unclear thinking include: You state that you are presenting your review in this format, but your "review" is not actually a review, but rather a statement of your beliefs (some of which, as I have said, are admirable).
* You say "Separation of Church and State, is designed to keep the state out of the church." This is not correct. According to most historians, the intent of the majority of founding fathers was indeed to keep the church out of the state in the sense that the clergy were not to control the business of making and enforcing civil laws as they had frequently done in England and elsewhere in Europe. Many of the most influential founders were not Christians, but "theists" strongly influenced by the Enlightenment who actually rejected Bible as anything more than a collection of ancient writings that generally encouraged people to behave morally and responsibly. * You say "Some of us just love God and His doctrines and don't ascribe to every Republican doctrine." I presume you mean to say SUBSCRIBE vice ASCRIBE. * You write of "this agenda against conservative, Bible believing Christians," but there is no "Agenda" against Christians. Harris does argue strongly against the blind belief in Biblical and other religious books as some inerrant revelation into the mysteries of the universe. He prefers the use of science to make such revelations and apparently hopes to persuade Christians to give up their irrational beliefs, but you seem to infer a Machiavellian plot to destroy people rather than to save them from ignorance. * You say "I have no desire whatsoever to dress up the unsaved of our nation to appear as Christians." I don't understand what this statement is intended to convey. * You say you "believe the Bible, because it is irrefutable," but offer no explanation for the multitude of biblical passages that are no longer taught by any Christians. There are numerous examples given in Harris' first book, "The End of Faith." I mentioned some of these in my original comments, but you chose not to respond on this subject. As one example we are admonished not to "suffer a witch to live." Conservative Bible Christians seem unable to address this particular issue. * You say you are a smart guy "so please don't speak of us as though we are fools with a herd-like-following." But this makes no sense, "a herd-like-following?" What? * You state that I "have no idea what (you) believe nor why, because (I am) blinded with dogma in disguise." Frank, you just wrote 7 paragraphs giving us all a fair exposure to "what (you) believe." I do, indisputably, now have at least some idea of what you believe. * You accuse me of being "blinded with dogma." Surely you mean blinded BY dogma? * You assert that "(I) speak from complete ignorance of the Bible." It is you, however, who is ignorant of my background. As you must be aware, there are innumerable non-believers such as I who grew up regularly attending church and Sunday school, until we became mature and "saw the light." * You say that "(my) mind is closed to wisdom." Au contraire, Frank. Au contraire. There are many forms of wisdom. Some of it is actually contained in Biblical writings, though there is also nonsense there as well. Many wise and highly intelligent men and women have recorded their thoughts and analyses, and their works serve as wonderful resources for the study and acquisition of wisdom. It would appear that yours is the mind that is closed to any form of wisdom found anywhere but in the Bible. Show me that I am wrong. I have an open mind.
A high IQ gives one an excellent start toward the formation of a rational world view and philosophy of man's place in the universe. However, without the serious training in the application of reason and logic even intellectually gifted people easily can be lead astray. You do not reveal how you came to view biblical writing as "irrefutable," nor do you offer any evidence to support this position. You state that you "believe in applying the scientific method," but offer no evidence to support your blind faith in Biblical texts. Can you provide some examples of your application of the scientific method?
In the sciences, we learn that absolute are very few. We learn to accept nothing on the basis of authority alone; always look at the supporting evidence for any conclusions, even those of the foremost experts. We may accept someone's conclusions as highly probable if sufficient evidence is available, but yesterday's truth can be rejected today in the face of new evidence. Such is the power of the rational application of human logic that truth is cumulative and the search for understanding of natural phenomena is never finished.
It's time to close for now. I hope you will respond. I hope you will respond dispassionately and thoughtfully, choosing your words with care.
Okay Mr. Klein, you didn't actually review the book, but I want to post a question to you. You say the bible is 'irrefutable'. Exodus 31:15 says: "Whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death". So, I imagine that if you have EVER done ANY work on the sabbath, you will arrange for your own execution. Likewise, if you know anyone who has ever done any work on the sabbath, you will put that person to death. If the bible is irrefutable, you have no choice, right?
Frank: I wouldn't worry about the undue negative votes. Amazon is out to sell books and too many negative votes is not good for business! The irony in all of this, of course, is that atheists spend more time than the average believer thinking about God. This suggests to me that at least some self-professed atheists have some repressed yearning for God and/or religion. By the same token, the fact that so many believers feel so defensive about their faith suggests that they have repressed doubts about their beliefs. I'm not suggesting any kind of intellectual dishonesty on either side. But when people get so riled about something it usually means that something is going on below the surface of consciousness. Anyway, here's a quote for both sides to consider. It's from William Sloane Coffin: "...it's clear that while blind belief of any religious stripe is bad for us, the nation and the world, the answer to blind belief is not blind unbelief. FdF
If the Jesus story is real, that no one can get to the Father exceprt through him, there are billions of sould destined for hell. So, if Jesus really wanted to save those souls, he's make his story believable and back it with evidence that can't be refuted by evil scientists. Instead, God has permitted hundreds of fake religions to poison the minds of children. He has given us fake fossil evidence to confuse us. He allows viruses to "mutate" and "develop resistances" to modern medicines that looks a lot like evolution. Why would he let us get tricked? Why would he start a church and let its leaders torture and kill in his name? To confuse us? It confuses me. Can you address any of these questions directly?
Mr. Wittman, I am not sure that I understand you correctly. Are you saying that in the light of knowledge now available, portions of the Bible, particularly passages of the Torah, can be considered invalid? If you believe they are invalid, are you not therefore refuting them? If so, is not "the Bible," or at least portions thereof, refutable or perhaps in error? Perhaps you are meaning to say, as some do, that only the New Testament is inerrant; that Jesus himself refuted the Old Testament and updated God's law to reflect the realities of his more modern era. If you do hold this view, then wouldn't you have to argue that God's law is a work in progress, and requires occasional revision to bring it into compliance with newly gained knowledge and new social and cultural values that did not exist 2000 years ago?
This debate to a large degree misses Frank Klein's point. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, and I'm distressed that Klein's review was voted down because -- there can be no other reason -- people disagreed with his position. This makes those of us who eschew faith look as intolerant and as small-minded as the worst of the fundamentalists.
Frank Klein said, "You have no idea the exhaustive research I have done to disprove the Bible. . ."
It seems to me that if you believe in the Bible you have two options: 1) You have to accept it literally--word-for-word--as the inspired word of God, and I'm aware of nothing in the Bible that says you can do otherwise, or, 2) It is an error-filled attempt to decipher God's word and must be interpreted by mankind to determine what it really means.
Surely you can't accept it literally, nor does any Christian I know, because they don't stone their sons to death when they misbehave nor stone their wives if they find they weren't virgins. This although many fundamentalist Christians do say they believe every word in the Bible. Obviously they don't.
Or, if you want to do the same for the New Testament, it says in John 14:13-14, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." I say, "Lord, God, Jesus, in your name I ask you to immediately give all people on earth one million dollars." Everyone on earth didn't get this money when I asked for it, and asking for it immediately gives the apologists no way out, so the Bible lied. It simply can't be taken literally. And, since the Bible lied, this certainly disproves it as the sacred book of a perfect God. What else does one need to disprove it? And if it isn't God's sacred word, why read it, what does it mean?
So now you have the other option: to interpret the Bible. Here we have a perfect God who is all-powerful and all-knowing who can't figure out how to write His sacred book so it doesn't have to be interpreted. If you can interpret some of it, where do you stop? Paul said it was better for man not to touch a woman. Can I interpret this to mean that marriage--between a man and woman--is forbidden by the Bible, yet gay marriage is O.K.? The Bible says you shouldn't kill. If I can interpret that, I'll just say it doesn't apply to me-that's my interpretation-how could I be wrong? If I don't get my request for a million dollars as shown above, can I just interpret it that God didn't really mean parts of the Bible he inspired? For Christians they then have to wonder which parts God didn't mean. How about the segment about having complete faith in order to have an eternal life? Maybe He didn't mean that one, and how is one to know exactly what, if any parts, God actually meant? Does it become, "That depends on what you mean by 'the?'" I can't see how the Bible could have any validity if you open it up for interpretation. That simply means the Bible has no meaning in and of itself, just what each reader feels it says.
In my mind either option disproves the Bible as the word of a perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful God. You can't take it literally nor can you just interpret it anyway you want, so it can't be God's word.