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The Rejection of Pascal's Wager: A Skeptic's Guide to the Bible and the Historical Jesus Paperback – May 22, 2009
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Tobin's whole argument is aimed to show that Pascal's famous wager has no effect on us because we are not forced to choose between Pascal's Catholic brand of Christianity and unbelief. Why? Because the central claims of Christianity are false. He takes aim at the Bible to show that while it may be a great work of literature it is not the word of God. And Tobin backs his claim up with his massive 652 page book, complete with a nice bibliography and indexes.
If you're a Christian who deconverted at a later time in life then you need to re-learn most all of what you were taught about the Bible. If you were college and seminary trained like me, this can be a difficult thing to do. So you could go on a massive reading binge spending many hours and a lot of money feasting on book after book. Or, you could just read this one. Given that choice I highly recommend you get this one. Tobin masterfully takes us through the Bible using critical scholarship to show us what we can and cannot know about it. It has helped me remember several things I learned back in seminary but had forgotten. It taught me some very interesting things I hadn't yet thought through as a skeptic, and I think I've read a great deal on the subject since my deconversion. Tobin showed me I hadn't read enough.
It's all here for the most part, in an encyclopedic fashion, covering the ancient myths, the errors, the lack of confirming archaeology, the failed prophecies, and the forged authorship. He also covers the ad hoc canonization process and the textual transmission of these texts.Read more ›
Some quibbles: the current title is too obscure for most laypeople, who will miss what the book is about; the summary conclusions at the end of each chapter are uneven with some lacking detail compared to others; there are too many grammatical and spelling errors throughout the book (a hazard of self-publishing with no competent proof-reader) - e.g. calling Pilate a "perfect" rather than "prefect" (p.223), and the Emperor Caligula, "Carigula" (p.505), and spelling "know" as "now" (p.290). However, these shortcomings do not detract from the validity of the book's findings. It is a must read for both skeptics and believers - to strengthen the arguments of the former and to challenge the points of view of the latter.
As to Mr. Christensen's point, well, Tobin does spend some time covering theistic counterarguments, and why he finds them not compelling. But, ultimately, somebody wanting to research both sides should indeed consult theist sources directly. After all, I get annoyed when theists only consult theist works when considering atheist positions, so, likewise, it would be fair for a theist to want their side to be aired by a theist.
So, in short, get this book, and any theistic book you want, and put them head to head. I think you'll find Tobin's work outshines about any theist book out there. But, of course, that is an exercise for the reader.
I just wanted interested potential readers to know that since retiring as a claims examiner for the U.S. Government about twelve years ago and beginning my own research into the veracity of the Christian Bible, I was amazed at what I did and did not discover. I wish this book had been around back in 2000 when my own research began. Mr. Tobin has definitely presented a wonderful and detailed overview and chronology which in many ways mirrors my own feeble attempts to separate history from fantasy, etc. He has presented an exceptionally well laid out road map for anyone embarking on a historical-crritical examination of the subject matter and I will be recommending this book to believers and skeptics alike. I sincerely appreciate the obviously detailed effort and considerable time he has poured into this masterwork! I will be referring to it often as a resource.
Also, John W. Loftus has written an excellent critique that can be found in the Amazon comments associated with the paperback version of this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has detailed rationales and clear thinking. Pascal was a brilliant mathematician but a creature of his time when it came to religion. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paul H.
Years ago, during one of my pastor's sermons, he stated that most people who go through main line Christianity ministerial training end up in unbelief. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Larry Hamilton
This is one of the best all around refutations of religion you can buy. I had the paperback version and wound up downloading the kindle version so I can make notations and such. Read morePublished on June 19, 2014 by Dragongunner3011
Paul Tobin has written an absolutely phenomenal book that discusses the reasons, top to bottom, why Christianity cannot be viewed without complete skepticism toward it's... Read morePublished on February 22, 2014 by Anthony Reaves Jr.
Excellent book! However the formatting in the Kindle leaves a lot to desired. Missing pages, chopped up graphs, etc. The author tries to present an objective picture. Read morePublished on November 16, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is the best book demolition of Christianity. But the website is better because it also deals more fully with the history and role of Paul and other matters. Read morePublished on July 26, 2013 by Kingsley John Lewis
Perhaps the most comprehensive work on the question of the validity of religion. Exhaustingly referenced, this text makes the clearest case for religion being 90% mythology and 10%... Read morePublished on April 2, 2013 by Christopher Lyden
Having read at the website for years, I was excited to see this provided in a better organized form. Read morePublished on February 8, 2013 by Pop ina Bottle