The bible is tiresomely termed “The Good Book,” but, as author Brian Bolton tirelessly documents, it is anything but. In his newest work, The (Not So) Good Book, Bolton meticulously documents all the harmful biblical teachings and how they continue to engender discord, violence, discrimination and hatred.
The hot-off-the-press book, subtitled What Does the ‘Holy Bible’ Really Teach?, is published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. It features a black and gold trompe l’oeil cover that looks like a bible, but inside you’ll find a collection of contemporary essays that constitute an arsenal of weaponry for use by atheists, humanists and freethinkers in exposing the horrors of the “Holy Bible.” The volume was compiled to serve as a source book for all Americans who consider fundamentalist Christian zealots to be a threat to religious freedom in the United States.
As Bolton notes in his introduction, the book is divided into nine primary categories. “The topics addressed begin with fundamentalist Christian dishonesty and end with unscientific biblical creationism,” he writes.
“Between are seven major subjects: godly hate, godly murder, Jesus’ contradictory commands, Christian nationalism, decalogue deceit, prayer failure and godly executive and feticide. The book covers basic topics of interest to scriptural skeptics, as well as curious bible believers.” The unifying theme running throughout is the reactionary viewpoint known as Christian fundamentalism.
Each chapter and section stand alone, making the book an ideal tool for quick research when you’re looking to rebut a fundamentalist claim or bible verse in your next letter to the editor, online debate, or other educational activism. The handsome 368-page trade paperback is fully indexed.
Each section is preceded by an original humorous or hard-hitting cartoon by Steve Benson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist (and Mormon-turned-atheist).
Bolton, a retired professor from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, not only dissects the many “not so good” parts of the bible, but is a keen observer of historic and current theopolitics. The book grew out of op-eds and essays on religion that Bolton has written for secular publications for more than 30 years, including Freethought Today. He notes that he began documenting the harm of Christian fundamentalism with the rise of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Jimmy Swaggart. They’ve since been replaced by the current crop of Christian hypocrites, including Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham and Mike Huckabee.
“My hope is that readers will utilize these facts about the bible as ammunition in the ongoing battle against the extremists who want to implement a fundamentalist theocracy or Christian Caliphate in America,” Brian adds.
The book has a foreword by former evangelical preacher Dan Barker, now FFRF co-president and author of many books, including Godless. In his introduction, Barker explains that he built his whole life on the firm conviction that the bible is a reliable source of knowledge and morality. He writes, “One of the hardest things in the world to say is, ‘I was wrong.’” Barker adds, “It is my hope that after reading Brian Bolton’s stunning and honest analysis, believers who are mature, rational and kind will summon the courage to say: ‘I was wrong.’”
All proceeds go to the Freedom From Religion Foundation for defense of the separation between religion and government, the promotion of freethought philosophy and the secular worldview.
Bolton, a Lifetime Member, is a committed activist who has endowed FFRF’s Brian Bolton Graduate Essay Contest, the executive wing of FFRF’s building, Freethought Hall, and the Brian F. Bolton Distinguished Professorship in Secular Studies at the University of Austin.
The (Not So) Good Book: What Does the ‘Holy Bible Really Teach? by Brian Bolton is available for $15 postpaid and can be ordered by mail from FFRF, PO Box 750, Madison WI 53701 or from FFRF’s online shop, ffrf.org/shop. The book is included in FFRF’s 2021 fall/winter solstice catalog of books and products, which has been mailed to all members.