Allow me to preface this review with a statement – I have sparred on many occasions with the author of this book, across a range of subjects, many of which are covered in his book. As such, I freely admit that I may be biased in my appraisal of his work. I cannot guarantee this review is neutral, so to speak. I can only offer my honest thoughts and opinions on what David has written.
I will confess that the style of the book is not what I expected, but it appears to be a series of website articles brought together in one place, with bits of original material added here and there. I may be mistaken about that, however that is my early impression. As such, I’m not sure as to the structure of the book. It lifts a series of links to websites but if reading a physical copy, you’d not be able to use those links to gain more context for David’s arguments; some of the arguments are critiques of other websites and I can’t help but feel a lot of context is missing.
Make no mistake, I have a measure of respect for anyone who is prepared to put their work (and by extension themselves) out into the world for scrutiny. It’s clear that David has confidence in his arguments (is faith a better term?!), and he doesn’t waver from his positions, which points to conviction. I do not agree with many of his positions (I’ve made that clear over the last few years), but I respect his right to share them.
My chief issue is that David takes the Bible as inerrant, an absolute truth, and everything else, from society to politics to science, is filtered through this lens. In taking this approach the book feels like it’s taken a conclusion as the premise, and everything else must either bend to that conclusion or be rejected and denounced as sinful and evil. I’ve found myself considering what I view as several ironic claims from David in respect of fairness and ‘evil’, and this book has not persuaded me to reconsider those claims.
There are elements to David’s writings that I find to be hypocritical. When speaking about the apparent selfishness of the LGBT community, David suggests their desire for equality is unreasonable. He suggests they force their wishes for society upon everyone, which to me is a falsehood. The desire to be treated equally does not equate to forcing views upon others. Expecting to receive service from public-facing businesses (who have agreed to obey laws and regulations regarding equal treatment) is not ‘forcing beliefs’ upon others. Civil marriage ceremonies do not infringe upon anyone else. Pushing to be able to get a job (or keep a job), or to be able to rent or buy a home without the threat of dismissal is not forcing values upon others, but merely a desire to be treated equally.
Contrast with the conservative religious right, that have long desired to establish greater influence over others, regardless of what others may wish. In some parts of the world this involves using considerable financial influence to lobby institutions towards their way of thinking. It may involve door-to-door canvassing and even open defiance of laws. In some parts of the world being gay can mean imprisonment or even death. To suggest that wishing for the same freedoms as anyone else is ‘selfish’ isn’t a reasonable position to take.
David also indulges in the Slippery Slope Fallacy. We are led to believe that the LGBT community’s wish for equality is hypocritical, as no one is campaigning for bestiality or as David puts it, other forms of sexual perversion’. As always that argument is largely resolved by the position of consent. What two (or more) consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes is entirely up to them. The Church or the state has no right to interfere, yet this appears to be David’s wish, whilst simultaneously decrying the allegedly pushy agenda of the LGBT community. Naturally any non-consensual form of sexual activity sit sits outside the realm of what’s acceptable.
I’m digressing here, turning this review into something of a detailed analysis, which isn’t my intention but it feels inevitable, given the subject matter. Suffice to say, I don’t share David’s views on science and the application of it, nor do I share his views on society. I can only say, once again, that I appreciate David is willing to present his ideas in a manner that leaves them open to criticism and counterpoints. I cannot agree with the claims David makes about science, archaeology and society.
In many ways it feels like David has written this book to appeal to people who already believe in his interpretation of the Bible. That is his right.
In the end, if I am to rate this book, it scores 3/5, which is actually generous in some respects, if only because I am fully aware of my own bias and trying to reign it in.