Edited by Jonathan MS Pearce
Jonathan M.S. Pearce’s second book (after Free Will?) continues along the same philosophical and theological vein, aiming to provide a cumulative case against the existence of God, and more specifically, God’s triple characteristics of omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence. Split into useful categories with an introduction to each category, these are questions that demand to be answered adequately and plausibly in order for the believer to retain a rationally-based faith. Pearce’s easy writing style and explanation of philosophy, theology and science on the popular level make this book as enjoyable to read as it is thought-provoking. Does God change his mind when prayed to, and why has he never produced a miracle since biblical times that couldn’t have occurred naturally anyway, like re-growing an amputee’s leg? God only knows. “Pearce demands from God a rational explanation to all of the problems that seem illogical or incoherent. These are … damningly challenging inconsistencies in the Christian narrative that necessarily antagonize any rational reader. If you are still or used to be Christian, “The Little Book of Unholy Questions” is an overview of the critical questions you need to be asking yourself.” – Derek Murphy, Jesus Potter Harry Christ
Here are some Amazon reviews of the book:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Little Book of Unholy Questions”. I liked the way the author mixed questions to god with facts and opinions. I enjoyed it when there were questions that I’ve asked. I found myself thinking, I’m not the only one who has pondered this question. One of my favorite questions was #85:
Do you think sacrificing yourself to sit on your
own right hand in an eternal heaven is the
ultimate sacrifice that could be made?
I’ve recommended this book to all my non-religious friends and I’m asking my religious friends to answer some of these questions.
Definitely food for thought.
I met Jonathan in a couple of forums over the internet. When the subject is religion and philosophy you surely expect passion and hot debates. But Jonathan stood apart for his calmness and patience, probably due to his teaching background.
When I learned he wrote this book, I decided to give it a try.
And it was worth it! Don’t be fooled by his philosophy background. Thankfully you will not see any logic equation that would be pretty boring. It’s all in plain English. The format is very interesting: Questions and comments well mixed. You may find some questions very funny, but very often the funnier are the most profound.
It’s a book for the believer and non-believer. And that’s very difficult to achieve, a definitive “plus”. Jonathan’s intention is thought provoking and it’s a must for believers who dare to ask questions, and I am sure I made dozens of them when I was a believer. And non-believers will find a bunch of questions they never thought about.
My suggestion: read it slowly, taste every question for a couple of minutes. You won’t regret it.
Every aspiring apologist or theologian ought to become familiar with the questions in this book, because folks are starting to ask the tough questions they were afraid to ask in generations past. I’d sure love to hear the answers to these questions from those who claim God speaks to them. Will they get the same answers as each other?
Can religious faith stand up to such probing questions as: Can you (God) get bored? Without sensory organs, how do you feel anything? Where did you (Jesus) get the male half of your genome from given that Mary had an immaculate conception? Were you naughty as a child? Did you ever lust after anybody? If you did not, then how can you claim to be fully man? When you prayed to God, how did that work, since you are God?
There are also very specific questions about Bible passages: The Old Testament declares that the smell of burnt offerings (sacrifices) pleased you (for example, in Leviticus 1) – is this true? In saying in Ephesians 6:5 that slaves need to obey their masters just as they would obey Christ, are you implying that slavery is acceptable?
This is an important book to have on hand for anyone wondering if their faith stands up to scrutiny. It’s sure to prompt interesting thoughts and discussions. It’s also a handy little book for freethinkers– the questions will keep the proselytizers too busy to do much proselytizing; the book provides ongoing fodder for internet debates as well.
No matter where you are coming from, this book is chock-full of questions that will have you pondering things you’ve never pondered before. It contains the sorts of questions we should all be asking those who claim to know what God/Jesus did, feels, thinks, or wants. Heck, we should be asking these questions to anyone who claims to know God exists. I want to know what their god has to say!
I just finished this very interesting little book of unholy questions by Jonathan Pearce. Admittedly, I think it is nearly impossible for Johnny to write anything that is not interesting, so my review might seem a little biased. I have been a reader of his blogs for the last year fascinated with his depth, his posting selections and his fair balanced treatment of people of all stripes who visit his site. He is a critical thinker, a philosopher, academic and a scholar.
Why is it named “unholy” questions do you ask? I would surmise that the questions that are posed are questions we tell ourselves we shouldn’t ask or are too afraid to ask. It is definitely not an irreverent book seeking to be obnoxious to theists, but is the result of a deep thinking philosopher who really pondered the Almighty.
My initial thoughts was that the author was in trouble when he said he was at the onset going to “assume” that God (Judeo-Christian) really exists. This immediately puts some of his questions at the hands of theology, or so I thought. But when I began to read the questions, they were not questions that theology can really deal with as such. Theology is quiet with respect to them. And the questions themselves make you think about things in a much different way. This book is for believers and non-believers alike and all who dare to think outside the box.
Some of the questions may seem very childish at first take, but when you reflect on it, it starts to illuminate other facts that Johnny starts to point out. Something as innocuous as “Does God have a sense of humor”? Well think about it? If God has the characteristics that are attributed to Him, it is quite a good question. For if He knows the beginning and the end, and He knows the punch lines to every joke before they are even asked, is there anything really to have a sense of humor about to begin with? He knows if someone will slip on a banana and do an incredible fail before it happens.
Every question is a stimulating one that is food for thought and in the end shows you the power of skepticism and how important it is. Not to mention the power (and courage!) of asking the really tough questions and facing them and not shying away. Johnny has shown himself, by his blogs, his books, his comments and his interaction with others that he is one of the top philosophers of today.