Why would I want to critique my own book? The answer is quite simple. As explained in my last post, Why I quit Christianity, I have recently completed the huge transition from being a “born-again Bible-believing Christian” to being an agnostic without any specific religious beliefs. The process took about 18 months. It began in earnest when my wife Rose and I began our “fireside chats” in December 2009 with the question “Why should we care what other people think?”. Little did we know where that innocent little question would lead. We made the transition together though our individual paths were somewhat different. For me, there were two primary insights that “broke the spell” of Christianity. First, I came to see that the Bible is filled with errors, contradictions, and moral abominations attributed to God, and that the attempts by Christian apologists to explain them away and/or cover them up and makes them look like fools of the first order. Second, I came to see that God does not, as a general rule, answer prayers, and that this directly contradicts the plain teaching of Scripture and the whole point of the religion which posits a parent-like Father God who watches over us, protects us from harm, and answers our prayers. For Rose, her primary insight was that the Bible is saturated with a strong male bias which has caused immeasurable and unjust suffering of woman at the hands of men throughout the ages and therefore invalidates any possibility that the Bible could be the “Word of God” in the traditional Christian sense.
The full title of my book is The Bible Wheel: A Revelation of the Divine Unity of Holy Scripture (available on Amazon). I completed the book on December 22, 2005 after more than a decade of serious research, which included learning to read both Hebrew and Greek. The book has 412 pages and over 250,000 words. It gives a complete review of the origin and significance of the Bible Wheel including a thorough analysis of how each of the Bible’s sixty-six books relate to the overall pattern. The result was, in the opinion of its author (which has yet to change), the strongest evidence of a superintending intelligence governing the design of the Bible ever discovered. I spent many years presenting my research on a wide variety of Christian, Catholic, Jewish, and skeptical forums and no one, not even the most virulent opponent, was ever been able to find any fundamental flaw or systematic error in my arguments. I received endless abuse and mindless moronic mockery as is common on internet forums, but no serious critique. But now everything has changed. I reject Christianity and no longer believe in the “guy-in-the-sky” style God who is an “agent” who goes about “doing things” as if he were playing a bit part in the cosmic drama, so I have no explanation for how the Bible Wheel came to be or what it means. But neither do I have any refutation of it or the implications it carries. So I find myself in a most intriguing position – I am the author of the best evidence for the Bible ever seen in the history of the world, but I reject the various Christianities based upon it and don’t even believe in most of the versions of God presented in its pages. So what’s a man to do? Simple – I will become my own critic and will do the job everyone else failed to do. I will subject my book to the same brutally honest critique that freed my mind from the chains of Christianity. Let us begin.
Critique of Chapter 1 of the Bible Wheel Book:
The first chapter of the Bible Wheel book is called The Genesis of the Bible Wheel. It begins with high praise for the Bible:
Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. – Matthew 13:52
These words from the Lord Jesus Christ, spoken at the end of a series of seven parables concerning the Kingdom of Heaven recorded in Matthew 13, allude to the everlasting vitality of the ancient treasures of Wisdom and Truth hidden and revealed in the Holy Bible. No matter its antiquity, its message remains ever fresh and new, relevant and profound. At once, it is the simplest, the deepest, the oldest, and the newest book ever written. It is the Book of God.
The Bible Wheel unveils another aspect of Scripture that is old and new, simple and profound. It is as old as the Bible itself, for indeed, it is the Bible itself. It is new only because no one had ever noticed that such a unified view of the whole Bible lay implicit in its structure. This new view of the Old Book is as simple as a Circle and as elementary as the ABCs, yet also as complex, deep, and all encompassing as the whole body of Scripture that it faithfully represents. The primary thing to understand about the Bible Wheel is the simplicity of its origin. It emerges when we do nothing but take the list of the sixty-six books and roll it up like a scroll on a spindle Wheel of twenty-two Spokes, corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. That is all there is to it. Everything else in this study follows from that single and surprisingly simple act.
This brings up an obvious critique – the book overflows with effusive praise of God and the Bible. Though probably distracting to many readers, such praise came naturally from the state of mind induced by my discovery. It represents only my opinion and is not relevant to the question of the validity of my arguments so I will overlook it for the most part. Also, I frequently wrote as if “God” were directly responsible for everything in the Bible. That too was an opinion that is irrelevant to this critique. The only important issue is the validity of the facts I used to establish my argument, which in the present case is the fact that the Bible Wheel is the result of the “single and surprisingly simple act” of “rolling up” the list of the sixty-six books “like a scroll.” I illustrated this idea with this graphic:
The chapter continues with simple explanations of the Hebrew alphabet and related facts. The result is the Bible Wheel:
Though I have not found any errors of fact in the first chapter, there is much that I would change in the style and in the opinions I expressed. For example, after explaining how the order and meaning of the twenty-two Hebrew letters was established in the Alphabetic Verses such as Psalm 119 – which many Biblical scholars saw as a “little Bible” and as the “Christian’s golden ABC of the praise, love, power, and use of the word of God” - I cast away all restraint and wrote this:
These comments show that the glory of Psalm 119, like that of the Bible itself, surpasses the limits of human language. Even when we speak only with superlatives, our praise falls short of the “inexhaustible fullness” of this supreme Psalm of God’s Word.
Yet there is more – so much more! – in this “little Bible” than anyone ever anticipated. It is here in Psalm 119, and kindred Alphabetic Verses, that God eternally established the order and meaning of the twenty-two Hebrew letters and so laid an unshakable foundation for the large-scale structure of His Word within its own text. The Bible is self-reflective; it contains an image of itself within itself in the Alphabetic Verses. Moreover, God embedded within this foundation an abundant storehouse of Alphabetic KeyWords that prophetically anticipate the thematic pattern of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This is the Work of God. This is the revelation of the Bible Wheel.
So what would I write now that I am not a Christian? I don’t really know. The whole book emerged from a conflagration of a mystical enthusiasm fired by demonstrable facts that seemed to be lit with the light of heaven. It really isn’t possible to rewrite it without starting from scratch. All I can do in this review is to focus on the actual factual statements and let the enthusiasm remain as a witness to what this kind of knowledge can do to a soul. So here are the facts expressed in those paragraphs:
Many Biblical commentators saw a supreme value in Psalm 119, and said that the Hebrew alphabet was a “divine alphabet” filled with wisdom. The order and meaning of the Hebrew alphabet is established in the Alphabetic Verses like Psalm 119. Therefore, the pattern of the alphabet which defines the Bible Wheel is established within the text of Scripture itself. The meaning of the letters is derived from the Alphabetic KeyWords used in the Alphabetic Verses, and these anticipate the thematic pattern of the whole Bible.
I can find no errors of fact in Chapter 1, so it passes my critical review. I would be very thankful to any reader who might find something I have overlooked. Just leave a comment below.