FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Your previous book was available for reading online. Why is this one not?
The foremost reason is that other works are quoted extensively in the book, and I did not want to risk someone liberally copying and pasting that material as they have with my previous book. I also wanted to see if there was a significant difference in the amount of sales between this book and that one. I may revisit this decision at a later date, but don’t hold your breath.
2. What happened to your email link? Why are the no reader response pages?
I removed the link and discontinued the pages for the same number of reasons. I have received a number of somewhat threatening and harassing emails. I have also received a large quantity of responses that do not deserve comment, particularly bigoted copy-and-paste articles that I did not want to run the risk of plagiarizing by reproducing and editorializing. I tired of politely responding to the same old arguments that I have debunked several times before. My tolerance to those letters noticeably diminished with time. Responses to some absurd reader comments gave them an air of respectability that they did not deserve. It takes the reader very little time to compose an unorganized flight of ideas, but I take much more time to carefully construct a response. With a forty-hour job, the load was too much. Someone also thought it would be funny to sign me up for Christian mass-mailing lists. I appreciate all the letters of support, but perhaps you can now send those in the form of reviews on amazon.com.
3. Can I help you out by writing a review?
Absolutely. If you had the opportunity to read the book but did not want to purchase a copy of your own, a well written review may be just as beneficial. Good or bad, let the world know what you think. Here are some direct links to The Religious Condition review pages of the three major online booksellers: amazon, barnes & noble, and books-a-million. This process takes no more than two minutes to complete. Please note that your review will not appear immediately after you submit it.
4. Why would you write such a book?
As stated in my previous book’s introduction, “Although I can’t offer an exact reason, my passion is probably driven by the salient danger created by Christianity and its subsequent influence on nearly two billion people every day. While the evil forces of certain deceitful religions have somewhat subsided in more recent times, the hatred inadvertently generated by these belief systems remains the greatest threat to humankind’s continued existence. In the past 2000 years, Christianity has been guilty of initiating several wars and crusades resulting in thousands of needless deaths, blatantly oppressing women to the point of worthlessness, abhorrently justifying the enslavement of Africans and perpetuating cruelties upon them we would rather just forget, shamelessly driving its followers to hang or burn alleged witches, nearly exterminating the entire Native American population, and inconspicuously robbing billions of people of countless man-hours that could have been much better spent on improving our planet. Someone certainly needs to address these issues, and the book most of the Western world swears by demands a thorough critical analysis.”
I thought I had said everything I wanted to say after writing Biblical Nonsense, but the overwhelmingly positive response I received on the psychological section persuaded me to write on this topic more in depth. Although this alone was not enough material for a complete book, negative reader responses on other topics provided me with more than enough material to complete the project.
5. Why do you hate God?
I can’t easily provide a response for such a complex question. I suppose that I can sum up my feelings by saying that I hate the god in the Bible about like I hate the villain in a movie. Think about it.
6. Why do you misrepresent Christianity? It isn’t like that.
Most of my writing does not deal with mainstream Christianity, and this much should be obvious to discerning readers. I’ve often argued that mainstream Christianity should essentially be renamed Salad Bar Christianity since almost all Christians pick and choose the parts of the Bible that they want to follow and ignore the parts that they don’t like. After mainstream Christians make a dish of the religion that they prefer, they pass their conclusions down to their children who, in turn, pick and choose from those beliefs before passing them on. This practice is so rampant that the overwhelming majority of those who call themselves Christian know next to nothing about the Bible. I have no problem with those who follow only the better principles of the book, but the notion that something is moral or factual just because supporting passages can be found in the Bible directly contradicts the practice of Salad Bar Christianity (not to mention ethical behavior as a whole).
7. Haven’t you read anything by Author X? He/she explains all of the so-called “problems” you mention.
While it’s not possible for one person to answer every claim and review every supposed solution to every discovered problem, whomever Author X happens to be at the moment, a few things almost always remain true:
1. X began with the conclusion that the Bible is true and worked backwards to find only supportive evidence.
2. X is not interested in the most likely conclusion, only the most likely conclusion that doesn’t invalidate the Bible.
3. If X was born with religion Y instead of Christianity, X would be just as confident that religion Y was correct.
4. There are countless Xs in every religion who claim to be able to prove that each of their belief systems is true.
5. X is skillful at making an argument seem valid but eventually looks foolish if you just do some unbiased research.
If you wanted safety information on a used car, would it be wiser to trust the word of a used car salesperson or the findings of a consumer report? I hope that you would trust the consumer report over the salesperson because the salesperson has a vested interest in the quality of his products and an even larger one in getting you to accept his opinion on his products. The consumer report, on the other hand, would likely have no interest in advancing a one-sided view of any product. Similarly, if you wanted to obtain information on the historicity and veracity of Islam, would you ask an Islamic scholar who has been taught about Islamic sanctity since childhood, or would you ask a secular scholar with no emotional investment in Islam? Would you not also do the same for Hinduism, Mormonism, Buddhism, etc? If you utilize the same reasoning and choose the unbiased scholar in each instance, as you very well should, why make an exception only for Christianity? People who study a concept in which they have no emotional investment are going to offer more reliable conclusions than those who want the concept to yield a specific result. You may want to begin your quest for enlightenment here.
8. May I link to your page? Will you link back to my website?
You may include all the links to my website that you want, but please be sure that there is a link to the main page. I don’t have a links page and do not plan on adding one at the moment.
9. I want to share your work with my friend. Is it okay if I copy and paste something from your book?
Yes, but please sure that you follow rules of fair use. Also, include a direct link back to the page from which you copied the excerpt. If copying from the physical book, make sure you provide proper attribution. Otherwise, you’re really going to upset my publisher as well as the author.
10. What religion are you?
Many readers have noticed that while I am enormously concerned with the illegitimacy of the Bible, I never take the time to talk about my own religious perspectives. I originally chose not to do so because they were not relevant to the veracity of the Bible. To put the matter to rest, I will declare that I do not follow any particular religion. Since I do not subscribe to a specific religious belief, I pretty much find myself following the basics of secular humanism as a moral guideline. In other words, I base my decisions and actions upon reason and observation rather than religious convictions and ancient superstitions. I ask myself what is right and what is for the greater good–not what a man said that God said he wanted us to do, which anyone can of course ascertain from one of the many books written during the height of human gullibility. I do what is right because it is right–not because an omnipresent voyeurist is going to reward me for doing so.
Even though I meet the classical definition of an atheist, I also frequently refer to myself as agnostic because I know of no way to be certain about supernatural existence–I can only eliminate possibilities. Now that is not to say that I am uncertain whether the Judeo-Christian God exists. I am in no more doubt on that issue than the existence of any of the hundreds of other gods invented in the era. I simply will not rule out the (unlikely?) possibility of a higher power that is beyond the scope of human understanding–the Thomas Jeffersonian God, if you will.
More than one reader has suggested that calling oneself a secular humanist is a thinly veiled attempt to avoid the term atheist, but it is not a matter of what term one prefers because the two schools of thought are independent and sometimes even contradictory. Atheism is a religious stance that there is insufficient evidence to declare the existence of a god; humanism is a philosophy that one should do what is for the greater good without the expectation of a supernatural reward. Since there are a number of Christian individuals who belong to humanist groups, it would not make much to sense to call them Christian atheists. Many Christians (and perhaps a few atheists) use the term interchangeably because they simply do not know the difference. I hope that this practice will soon cease.
11. Are you working on a new book?
Hopefully this will be the last one.