Customer Reviews for

The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

How did the Bible get written

This book gives an in depth look into the story of the Bible and questions its integrity. The story is known to be incomplete and ocasionally contradictory. Filling in the incomplete story and exposing the contradictory story elements is the mission of this book. John S...
This book gives an in depth look into the story of the Bible and questions its integrity. The story is known to be incomplete and ocasionally contradictory. Filling in the incomplete story and exposing the contradictory story elements is the mission of this book. John Shelby is a Christian scholar and has put the time and effort into looking into this story with a critical eye toward spin control.

There are modern relidious groups that are seen as "defenders of the faith" who seek to prevent critical thinking and the personal freedom to question religious dogma. If you wish to know the answers to the questions of what was missing in the stories in the Bible and how do we reconsile the state of faith with our knowledge of what is written then get this book.

The author is clearly skeptical that the Bible was written with devine gudance from its rather diverse origens, internal political issues, and clear attempts to rewrite elements of the true story and cover up the truth. We have all encountered the closed mindededness of church officials and lay people seeking to limit our knowledge and confine our faith to match theirs. If you are comfortable having your options limited by the decisions of others and you don't want to know more, then don't read this book. Otherwise, enjoy the depth of Spong's studies and the insightful appreciations that he has written into this naritive.

The history of the Christian church to dimish the value of the faith of outsiders, to create divisions and excommunicate their own people as heretics, and to revile others as hated even unto those that espouse their own origins as Jews is well documented. The debate over the issue in the Catholic church over pedophile preists is just a current debate over who is actually favored by the church and who is the despised minority. It is painfully clear that these ancient attitudes of sinful religious divisiveness continue even today.

If we wish to eliminate the seductiveness of these sins from our future, we will have to learn to think clearly and with full knowledge of the situation. We will also have to continue to question rigid beliefs and to keep those beliefs that pass the test of time. I can assure you that God does not suffer from an insecurity complex and he will be happy to forgive you and keep his word to mankind in doing so.

So, here lies more truth and some supposition about how the Bible was written. And a good deal of real world insight into troubling parts of the Bible. This is a very thoughtful read and should satisfy those of you who are thinkers about the derivations of the Bible without comitting yourself to reading the original in Greek.

posted by TrueStories on May 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Thoughtful insight - though opinionated

I was encouraged to consider scripture differently- this is good

posted by Rkay86 on October 18, 2012

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    How did the Bible get written

    This book gives an in depth look into the story of the Bible and questions its integrity. The story is known to be incomplete and ocasionally contradictory. Filling in the incomplete story and exposing the contradictory story elements is the mission of this book. John Shelby is a Christian scholar and has put the time and effort into looking into this story with a critical eye toward spin control.

    There are modern relidious groups that are seen as "defenders of the faith" who seek to prevent critical thinking and the personal freedom to question religious dogma. If you wish to know the answers to the questions of what was missing in the stories in the Bible and how do we reconsile the state of faith with our knowledge of what is written then get this book.

    The author is clearly skeptical that the Bible was written with devine gudance from its rather diverse origens, internal political issues, and clear attempts to rewrite elements of the true story and cover up the truth. We have all encountered the closed mindededness of church officials and lay people seeking to limit our knowledge and confine our faith to match theirs. If you are comfortable having your options limited by the decisions of others and you don't want to know more, then don't read this book. Otherwise, enjoy the depth of Spong's studies and the insightful appreciations that he has written into this naritive.

    The history of the Christian church to dimish the value of the faith of outsiders, to create divisions and excommunicate their own people as heretics, and to revile others as hated even unto those that espouse their own origins as Jews is well documented. The debate over the issue in the Catholic church over pedophile preists is just a current debate over who is actually favored by the church and who is the despised minority. It is painfully clear that these ancient attitudes of sinful religious divisiveness continue even today.

    If we wish to eliminate the seductiveness of these sins from our future, we will have to learn to think clearly and with full knowledge of the situation. We will also have to continue to question rigid beliefs and to keep those beliefs that pass the test of time. I can assure you that God does not suffer from an insecurity complex and he will be happy to forgive you and keep his word to mankind in doing so.

    So, here lies more truth and some supposition about how the Bible was written. And a good deal of real world insight into troubling parts of the Bible. This is a very thoughtful read and should satisfy those of you who are thinkers about the derivations of the Bible without comitting yourself to reading the original in Greek.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2005

    I nominate Bishop Spong for a Pulitzer Prize!

    I am a liberal in my Christian religious beliefs. I know there must be millions of people like me who are drifting away from the Christian church! For 30+ years I've been searching for 'like-minded' religious thinkers and questioners. Bishop Spong answers so many of my questions with reasoned, biblical-based explanations. I am amazed by the scope of his knowledge...of the Bible, of biblical history, of biblical languages, of archaeology, of other religions, etc. His chapters on Anti-Semitism were especially enlightening! I am eagerly awaiting his next book! With insights gained from reading the works of such writers as Bishop Spong and Marcus Borg, I can attend church services with an open heart AND an open mind.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    Thoughtful insight - though opinionated

    I was encouraged to consider scripture differently- this is good

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    WOW, reshaping and turned me down, up, and sideways.

    This book is not for light of heart Christian. It will truly contest anything you have though whether you believe or do not believe in Christianity or Christ. There is so much validity, but it is also coupled with some areas for concern. John certainly puts his spin on it, but I would hope we can reform Christianity with more open minded, liberal, Democratic Christians alike. God bless this book. It is beautiful although challenging.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Sins of Scripture

    In "The Sins of Scripture," Bishop Spong looks at Biblical passages that have been variously interpreted over the past two thousand years. Among the passages Spong covers are original sin, homosexuality, Christian exclusivism, and so on. Spong tries to show that these scriptures were written during a cultural epoch vastly different from our own and that as citizens of the twenty-first century, it's impossible to take these scriptures literally; to do so will invite disaster not only for men and women (especially women) but also for the earth. This book will be welcomed by those Christians who feel isolated from the faith and who are looking for a fresh way to understand the Bible in today's world.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2006

    a breath of fresh air

    The Sins of Scripture is the third book by Spong that I've read. The themes he covers are much the same: that the bible isn't the infallible Word of God that theism, where God is understood as a person-like being who interacts with the world, is no longer believable that we should focus on this life, instead of the life hereafter, becasue God isn't the kind of God who literally raises people from the dead and that the true test of a religion is its ability to engender love in a person's life. The bible, as Spong shows, is a cultural artifact written by humans at a paticular time and place they didn't know everything about the world and thus couldn't make 'absolute' truth statements for all time and space. The Jews held certain assumptions about the world and the human person that, in turn, shaped their theology and ethics. But we don't live in that first-century world anymore. If we take the bible literally--with its culturally conditioned ethical and theological pronouncements--we end up with a lot of absurdities, even immoral behavior. Since the world can no longer wear those old Christian clothes, Spong offers an alternative theism that he thinks is a better 'fit' for the world. Bishop Spong is a good man and a good theologian. I've met the bishop, even had dinner with him at Boston University. We talked for an hour, and even though our faith journeys have taken different routes, I still admire his honesty to say things that many Christians don't want to hear but that will eventually make the world a place that God wants it to be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2005

    A must read for all serious Christians

    This book is a breath of fresh air for those who want to keep Christianity as a viable religion into the 21st century. The author shows how morality evolved through the Bible and explains how and why the 'terrible texts of the Bible' are used to promote homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, and a multitude of other evils. Only by recognizing that these text exist in the Bible and coming to terms with the fact that they do not represent the unerring word of an unchaning God, but rather the efforts of a people growing over time, can we hope to find truths relevant to today's world in scripture. This is an excellent discussion of the Bible for Christians and non-Christians alike, but required reading for all believers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    A must read

    I've read three books by Bishop Spong. He tackles questions that many people are not willing to tackle. The Sins of Scripture shows that the Bible isn't the Word of God in any literal sense (as thought by Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals). If this is true, then Christian doctrine and ethics will change. Many greet this with dismay, others with joy. Still, the conversation must happen--we've learned too much about the bible and the world and thus are unable to hold a literalist view of the bible, which often results in immoral behavior, both to other humans and the environment. The issue of biblical authority is a complex issue and must be dealt with patiently and seriously. This is a fine book and will add much to the ongoing conversation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2005

    It's About Time!!!

    This book brings to 'light' everything I have felt about conventional religions, and the heterosexual societies, since the young age of five. Find out the true meaning of Jesus and set yourself free from all that GULIT that is spoken as The Word Of God. One God,One Love,One Race! John Shelby Spong... may the God continue to guide you on your journey surrounded with love and in good health. Light,love, and blessings, Melinda

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2005

    Compelling read indeed!

    This fascinating look at the abuse of the bible is well worth the price af admission. I feel the author makes a compelling counter argument to the hypocrites who have hijacked 'faith' and the good wishes of a lot of sincere people and twisted it to a dogmatic, bigoted end. I'm sure I'm sure Bishop Spong will be ignored or shouted down by the theocracy that has the bully pulpit

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    Another enlightening book an a brilliant theologian working hard

    Another enlightening book an a brilliant theologian working hard to keep Christianity relevant in today's world. So many prejudices continue to plague our daily lives due to absolute  authority of the literal belief in and reading of scripture. Thankfully theoloians such as Spong continue to educate laity and clergy alike with writings such as this. As a minister myself I find so much in these pages to help me address common attitudes and beliefs among my congregatin. However if I told them some of my information came from Spong their own prejudice against a liberal theologian would prevent their hearing. Thank you Dr. Spong for annonymously helping me offer information that might open minds and hearts to let a little more of God's love shine in the darkness.
    For those who choose not to read Spong's books and review them with 1 star because he is a liberal theologian, please try reading one first. God is bigger than the Bible you so fiercely believe you must defend and God might help you find something  within its pages to illuminate your faith while taking nothing important away. The Bible is not God and must not be worshiped as such. In these pages Spong has again helped me that God is more than all the words that have ever been written. Yet is words, as do those of beloved scripture, can give us glimpses of the Divine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2005

    Another downfall 0 stars

    I did not quite get the point of this book. For saying that the bible is twisted and used wrongly today there sure is a lot of hypocracy seen here. There is truth and there is twisting the truth to fit an agenda. Some people dont like that they are wrong about the things that they do, but that doesnt give them the right to take the Bible, the Holy Word of God, and distort it. Sorry but this was a painful read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2005

    This book is Anti-Christian

    This book ignores everything in scripture in order to validate the personal opinions of the author. It is a horrible book to give to anyone who takes the Lord seriously!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2005

    DaVinci code clone

    I gave this book 1 star only because I didn't have the choice to give it a 0. A better score would be -100. Why do people insist on trying to re-create God? These 'liberal Christians' (I do believe that's an oxymoron) seem set on discrediting the Word of God because it doesn't agree with the way they want to live. I don't think the Creator of the universe is going to change His view of His creation just because it doesn't fit in with your whims. What part of '...the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.' don't you understand? It's odd, too, that Mr. Spong did whatever it took to attain the title of 'Bishop' and now turns on the very same belief system. Isn't that like someone who goes to college, earns a PhD, then starts doing everything in his power to discredit the school and his course of study? Wait a minute....he didn't help write 'The DaVinci Code' did he? Anyway, I'll be praying for you Bishop Sprong and for all those who believe the same, misguided way that you do. Remember Romans 12:2 - 'Do not be conformed to this world...' May the Holy Father of us all show you the way to Jesus: the way, the truth and the light.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2005

    What we've come to expect.

    A book better left on the shelf. Those wishing to know more about the Bible would do well to simply read it. If for no other reason, than to know that what the Bible says is 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism'.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2005

    Another intriguing book from Bishop Spong.

    With great wisdom Bishop Spong continues to bring us intriguing insight into the Bible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2005

    Spong started and now continues the diminishment of the American Episcopal Church

    Bishop Spong's writings continue to substatiate the liberal agenda of the American Episcopal Church that has kept both him an his successor Bishop Griswold in the headlines. His new translations of the bible and it's intended message don't come close to most all modern scripture translators version of the intentions of the original writers. He speaks only for the Liberal portion of Episcopalians and definitely forgets the uproar of recent months that contradict his views and puts him at odds with Orthodox Episcopalians and the Anglican Communion. He is definitely outnumbered by the conservative views of most all Anglicans

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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