Was Jesus Wrong? by Franky Schaeffer

This is a review of The Human Faces of God by Thom Stark. It's also a request to Christians: admit that the Bible is a mess and stop passing on its toxicity to us.

Thom Stark begins his book like this: "In the beginning was the Argument, and the Argument was with God, and the Argument was: God. God was the subject of the Argument, and the Argument was a good one. Who is God? What is God like? What does God require of us?"

Stark shows that the Bible isn't just self-contradictory on a few historical details but that within the pages of the Bible is an argument and not just an argument with the outside world: The Bible is an argument with itself.

If you want to be informed about what the Bible really says and how Christianity came into existence -- if you want to know how to respond to Evangelicals trying to convert you to their brand of fundamentalism, read this book. If you're a former Evangelical, or a former Christian, who gave up on faith because you just couldn't reconcile your moral and intellectual integrity with the mythology and immorality-touted-as-righteousness that is pervasive throughout the Bible, then read this book. Link


Brenda said...

Franky Schafer is making the argument that I have been making:

"To reject the "absolute truth" of the Bible is not necessarily to reject Christianity, let alone God."

That you fail to comprehend that is a measure of how strongly your fundamentalism still controls what you consider possible or not. It is possible to reject Biblical inerrancy and still be a Christian with a coherent theology.

John W. Loftus said...

Brenda, the only faith you'll have after digesting this book is a cultural one, that is, you will be a Christian in name only and associated with a society of other people in a group who like to do good works.

That kind of Christianity is non-toxic, something that you obviously don't have or you wouldn't bother trying to convert us to it since there is little reason for evangelism or annoying us here as we debunk toxic forms of Christianity. In fact, if you had it you would join us.

Brenda said...

"you will be a Christian in name only"

Yes, that is exactly how fundamentalists think. The trouble however is that your fundamentalist conception of Christianity is the false one. Jesus was not a fundamentalist, he was a liberal. :)

LadyAtheist said...

The bible is indeed a mess. The only way a person can sustain a belief in any of it is to ignore most of it.

BobCMU76 said...

I think, by contrast, that cultural christianity is what is toxic, while the belief that our culture brings us something concrete and eternally true and useful is healthy and life-affirming.

When people spit out the words "So Help Me God," with spiteful defiance, they are clinging not to truth, but to heritage. The toxicity is calling something abitrary and ephemeral "absolute and inviolable" to avoid saying goodbye.

But, readling the Bible the way Frank and Stark advocate, gives one the opportunity to say Hello?

Beautiful Feet said...

John said, "you will be a Christian in name only and associated with a society of other people in a group who like to do good works.

That kind of Christianity is non-toxic"

That kind of Christianity is pitiful.

GearHedEd said...

All Christianity is pitiful.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

I think Brenda is actually saying something fundamentally true about Christianity that most of them refuse to say - namely that a lot of the drivel in the Bible is simply pre-modern superstitious nonsense that has no place in modern society.

In practice, many Christians I know take this position - they don't take much of the Bible seriously, they don't believe it has a lot of real world relevance, they take the parts that they like and pay no attention to the rest. I have no problem with this kind of social Christianity where they like the community, enjoy the worship, singing etc., but completely agree that it is Christianity in Name Only.

To argue that any kind of coherent Christian theology can emerge from the Bible once we are in agreement that it is not actually true is laughable.

Chuck O'Connor said...


Can you please describe the hermaneutic you use to understand the bible? How does that allow for your position that "Jesus was a liberal"? My reading of all four gospels paints Jesus as a transactional moralist with pretty strick qualifiers for who belongs. What standard do you base your perspective and how might we examine the organizing foundations of this perspective?

Chuck O'Connor said...

Oh and Brenda, I've exchanged a few emails with Thom Stark and shared my perspective on the bible and religion and the meaningless nature of the term christian once one has disposed of the accuracy of the bible and he has endorsed my perspective as valid and never "fundamentalist".

Gandolf said...

Brenda said.."It is possible to reject Biblical inerrancy and still be a Christian with a coherent theology."

Ahh yes .And naturally "the" coherent theology would be "the" coherent theology of Brenda`s thought, very likely, yes?.

The genius Brenda faith.

And if not ,if you suggest some type of "liberal belief" system .Then please tell us, why even bother ? ,why not just do away with all the silly gameplay and gambling and guesswork of faith, and simply quit all the bullshite altogether.

Ohh no ,but that really wouldnt do would it Brenda.The game of church, Priests and prophets etc, is become such very big business .Since time began faith beliefs have always equaled manipulation, control and wealth

Breckmin said...

"And naturally "the" coherent theology would be "the" coherent theology of Brenda`s thought, very likely, yes?."

This fails to address systematic theology and the logical conclusions of SPECIFICS. God's ownership of the universe by fact that He created and everything that flows from it. The implications of Jesus Christ being God in human flesh and dying (suffering) for the sins of the world (to make an atonement for debt that little creators created)and everything that flows from this logically.

Systematic theology if often consistent with biblical theology...but it does NOT rely on co-authorship of the scriptures or verbal plenary inspiration or other syllogisms connected to the requirement of word-perfect inerrancy.

Question everything

gabrielsheridan said...

It's interesting that this is the topic. Just last night I had a conversation with my ex-pastor about all this. Believing in the person of Jesus and not worrying about all the doubts about the inerrancy of the bible. Someone stated why not get rid of all the bullshit. It is difficult I guess. But, I am grappling with the illogical acrobats of such a faith.