Saturday, July 28, 2012

Readers Weigh In on the Book

First of all, to anyone who has reviewed my book, Confessions of a Bible Thumper, I want to thank you. Whether it's a positive or negative review, I honestly appreciate people putting their time and effort into reading the whole book and sharing their honest assesment. I'm pleased that the overwhelming response is positive, but also appreciate a couple more negative reviews that have come in. The point is, people care enough to express their opinion, and that's all good. Again, thank you reviewers!

Now, with the 15-16 total reviews out there so far (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and various bloggers), I have to admit, it's fascinating to compare responses. For example, most people have said I have a respectful tone when critiquing evangelical doctrines. "When there is disagreement, the author respects the views of his friends. He doesn’t put them down, or indicate that they are in some manner less Christian than he is... Michael is critical of his conservative religious background, but his is not judgmental," says the pastor at Desert Streams. But the reviewer at Perceptible Reflections disagrees: "...the words used showed an arrogance of 'I’m right and your wrong' attitude, with a feel that if you disagree, it is because you don’t understand this higher level of thinking." Hmm... which is it?

On the craft beer theme, I can't tell you how many times people have praised the idea of anchoring half the book in a pub and using the conversations over microbrews to make theology accessible. One of my editors called it "genious." One Amazon reviewer "...found this format refreshing and brilliant." Not so, says the Parish reviewer: "He also has a bad habit of setting conversations in a bar which allows him to nerd out about his favorite microbrews, a complete waste of time for an undertaking like this, and indicates the book needed more editing." Hmm... mixed messages. That's why everyone is entitled to their opinion!

Although the Parish thought the sex and gay rights chapters are worth reading, he had pointed critiques of the Intelligent Debate chapter (where I critique creationism, defend intelligent design, and make a case for unorthodox evolution), which I fully expected. He didn't like me sourcing David Berlinski because he's not a scientist (A Ph.D in Philosophy and post-doctorate studies in Mathematics doesn't count), but with the exception of Lynn Margulis (who I give as an example of an unorthodox evolutionist), he overlooks the other scientists I cite, like Stephen J. Gould, Niles Eldridge, James Shapiro, and Michael Denton, as well as atheist/philosopher Bradley Monton.

Overall, a great collection of reviews and I look forward to more. I invite readers to offer their opinions here or write a review on one of the sites listed above. Cheers!