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The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth Paperback – November 17, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (November 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1411691253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1411691254
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John W. Loftus VINE VOICE on June 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a former Christian with a Ph.D in Psychology this is an admirable book for her intended audience. The focus of her book is described in the subtitle to it: "How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth," and she does an admirable job of showing this. It is not written for Christian apologists or scholars, knowledgeable skeptics or people well versed in their faith, although I myself learned a few things from it. It doesn't deal with the arguments for the existence of God, the problems with an incarnate God, or the resurrection of Jesus, which would've made this a much better book. Its focus is mainly on the Biblical teachings themselves and how they "counter both reason and morality." (p. 38). I liked the fact that she doesn't make any exaggerated claims about her book.

Her book is written in an easy to read conversational style and respectful tone from a unique female Psychologist's perspective that is rare among debunkers. It would be potentially doubt-producing if placed into the hands of the average Christian sitting in the pew. It's probably intended to be a resource for people who were teetering on the edge of Evangelicalism (either on their way in or way out) and who hadn't thought a whole lot the moral and rational implications about what evangelicals teach. As such, her book may be more dangerous to the Christian faith than many other books in the same genre, since she targets her audience so well.

She tells her personal story of her deconversion (which can be read over at debunbkingchristianity dot blogspot dot com), and which is similar in kind to our other stories there. She describes how she moved from "certainties to questions," which is a story similar in kind to many of us.
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Format: Paperback
There are few people in the world with the combination of background and training necessary to write this book - there are fewer still with the courage to do so. Given her childhood upbringing and schooling in strict Evangelical doctrine and her formal education in sciences and psychology, Dr. Tarico is almost uniquely qualified. That she then went on to write this book not as a dry academic polemic, but by exposing her own personal journey is truly extraordinary.

As a spiritual but non-practicing person raised in Judaism, I have for years been asking "What is up with these Evangelicals and why are they so un-Christ-like?" I started to seek some answers with Jim Wallis' book "God's Politics," but I just couldn't get into it. It was a slog for me. I found his writing slow, redundant, and un-engaging. I kept picking it up, reading a bit, and putting it down again. Then a friend recommended "The Dark Side." It, by contrast, is well written, gripping, clear, fascinating, and well researched. A quick glance at the references in the back will show how broadly the author has looked to support her arguments. I was really surprised how much I learned about not just Evangelicalism, but Christianity as a whole, and even old-testament Judaism.

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is wondering about the face of Christianity in America today, regardless of their own religious background. I would cheerfully buy a copy for any Evangelical who was willing to read it!
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Format: Paperback
Valerie Tarico's courageous book is both wrenching personal story and insightful analysis of the seduction / repulsion of Christian fundamentalism. Having heard her speak in person, I can attest to the eloquent inspiration of her unique combination of passion, compassion, maturity, and scholarship.

Those of us who grew up as skeptics outside the sphere of born-again Christianity are only too aware of the public face of right wing Christian fundamentalism. This is the "dark side" that trains the foot soldiers of imperial warfare and propaganda, that goes bananas over abortion and homosexuality, that retreats from scientific insights into "creationist" thickets of irrationality, that seeks influence by theocracy and corrupting alliance with wealthy elites rather than by democracy and social and economic justice. Yet Valerie also shows us the deep emotional responses that are given to those who can suspend their critical faculties to stay within the fold - responses like the promise of heaven, the threat of hell, the joy of devotion, and the security of simple rules and of forgiveness for their transgression.

The basic problem with Biblical literalism is that the Bible is full of contradictions, exemplified by Jesus' admonition to turn of the other cheek contrasted with the fury of Moses' genocidal massacre of the Canaanites. In fact, as Valerie testifies, it is the cognitive dissonance from reading the Bible that leads many fundamentalists to leave the fold. Those who stay end up favoring certain passages over others. Some find the universal values of the saints, while for others it is the power, blood, and greed of empire. The latter certainly contradicts what Jesus taught, but for fundamentalists it is belief, not right action, that leads to salvation.
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Format: Paperback
I appreciate how painful it must have been to write this book. Dr. Tarico is very frank about how she was effectively brainwashed by a fundamentalist upbringing before she started thinking for herself. She provides useful insight into how evangelicalism not only teaches lies, but dangerous ones. I especially appreciated the chapter titled, "Jabberwoks: Ideas with Claws That Catch." She goes into considerable detail about the contagion of certain words and phrases which Richard Dawkins has dubbed "memes." She correctly compares them to chain letters, including the threat if you "break the chain."
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