The title of this book says it all. These controversial words are spoken by a man who should understand them best; a Reverend and born again Christian, author Terrence J. Shaw offers his own personal views on the Bible and its much debated passages and stories as they relate to the Book’s factuality and true meaning.
Reverend Shaw pulls no punches in this collection of personal essays and articles on some of the most well-known and highly revered tales from the Bible. Included among them are the stories of Jesus’ betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane and subsequent resurrection. Shaw poses such questions as, “Did Jesus really speak with Pilate or not?” as well as, “Was God or Satan angry with Israel?” Naturally, questions such as these have been up for debate for centuries, yet in today’s society they are still seen as highly controversial and Shaw must be commended for speaking his mind. The problem here lies in the fact that the majority of the questions posed are simply left up for reader interpretation rather than given a reasonable answer by Shaw (despite the clear cut title of his book).
Take for example the question, “Was Jesus really betrayed by a kiss?” which is the central focus of chapter forty-six. Shaw quotes comparative accounts from Matthew and John, citing the central differences between the two. In Matthew’s account, Jesus is kissed by the betrayer, Judas, to distinguish him as a criminal, whereas in John’s account there is no such act spoken of. Rather than offering the so-called “proof” he claimed he would at the onset, Shaw simply states, “I don’t know which account to believe. But when you compare them side by side, it is apparent that they differ.” There is no firm proof of anything more than a discrepancy between the tales, which Christians will already be aware of.
Now, there are some chapters in which a legitimate debate is posed by Shaw and through which valuable insights are expressed. In chapter eleven, the question, “How many suns does our solar system have?” is raised. Shaw offers two distinct verses from the opening chapter of the Book of Genesis, the first stating that God created two great lights, one to rule the day and the other the night, while the second verse claims that God divided light from darkness and named each “Day and Night.” Shaw goes on to state that, “in the Book of Genesis the light was created on the first day and the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day.” The only downside to this chapter is that Shaw never fully questions God’s abilities, and simply claims that this inconsistency could be the fault of human error due to lack of knowledge of astronomy at the time the verse was written, rather than a lie.
As controversial as Shaw makes this book out to be, he never actually questions his faith or belief in God—or the Bible as truth for that matter. However, the audience is heavily involved here and will certainly arrive at their own conclusions based on the inconsistencies pointed out by Reverend Shaw. Sadly, the book isn’t what it would like to be though, and the majority of the points raised within have been lingering in the public subconscious for decades if not centuries.