Reading the Wrong People

Table of Major Written WorksSome friends have considered that my departure from Christianity must be due to a misplaced emphasis of the sources that I have consulted. That is, perhaps I spent too much time reading “the wrong people”, and so came to bamboozlement. This is a legitimate concern, and I suspect that it may be more broadly held than I would hope. It struck me as incorrect on first blush, but I did go back and actually catalogue my sources by worldview.

Taking only the major written works that I read (a few dozen), the statistics sum as shown in the first chart. As can be seen, theist sources dominate the atheist/agnostic sources by 3 to 1. Neutral sources included generic information without direct bias or commentary on Christianity one way or another, while the mixed category denotes resources like “multi-view” type books.

Table of All SourcesIf the net is cast more broadly and extended to include all resource types – including shorter articles, book reviews, Wikipedia entries, and the many debates and lectures that I have watched – the percentages shift as shown in the second pie chart (130+ total).

For myself, I can find no intrinsic indictment in these statistics, nor a visible dereliction of duty, nor an inundation of dreaded atheistic slant. Rather, the collection represents a range of viewpoints, and it favors Christian-biased sources more heavily than any other segment.

Yes, I must maintain, it is possible to become convinced that Judaism and Christianity face intractable problems as a result of a well-rounded, detailed, and broad-based research effort. My conclusions have not been for lack of consulting Christian scholarship. After all, that was my fortress of first retreat. But the vanguard within those walls sadly could not answer…

See the Review of Sources and the Bibliography for detailed lists.

Long Reads and Wikipedia

After a year of reading and looking, I arrived at the place of conceding that scholarly consensus about the authorship of the Bible gives a pretty low score to the traditional ascriptions. The best information today indicates that many books were not written by who we thought or when.

Wikipedia - BibleThe ironic and painful part of this is realizing that the answer could have been found very quickly and easily – by simply reading the Wikipedia entry on authorship of the Bible. Heavily annotated, the basic viewpoint there comports with the net information that I’ve seen. That’s sort of sad. If I wanted to know the skinny on the Book of Mormon or the Koran, the first place I would go would be Wikipedia. It was one of the last places I went on Biblical texts. We are very accustomed to learning about our religion from inside our religion.

Authorship: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Bible

The Exodus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_exodus

The Flood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_geology

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