Trigger warning: This book, like the Bible, contains mentions of violence against women and children. Also against men, animals, plants- pretty much everything and everyone really.
Brian Baker spent seventeen years as a fundamentalist Christian pastor in one of the largest churches in Australia. After the failure of his marriage he left the church and once out of the "Christian bubble" he had been surrounded by for many years he found he was finally able to evaluate the Bible more objectively. He came to the conclusion that the Bible is comprised of "hearsay", written long after the events it describes, and should not be considered the literal word of God. This book sets out the parts of the Bible he considers to be "nonsense", including the creation story, the Exodus, Noah's ark, the crucifixion and the second coming of Christ.
Nonsense From the Bible
is not a scholarly work. It's more of a quick read and a starting point for further research. Brian Baker's tone is a little snarky at times, so this book is unlikely to be convincing to many Christians, but I don't know if it's even meant to be. For a person on the fence about Christianity, or someone looking for specific examples of contradictions or historical innacuracy in the Bible it could be very useful. Baker provides multiple examples from the King James version to support each of his points.
Baker questions the veracity of many aspects of the the story of Jesus' life. He points out that the similarities between Jesus' story and the stories of other figures from before his time. I had heard that there were other similar figures in mythology, but I didn't realise quite how similar. In particular, the story of the Egyptian God Horus includes a virgin birth which was foretold by a star in the East, his baptism by a man who was later beheaded, twelve loyal followers, walking on water and other miracles, crucifiction between two thieves and resurrection.
Baker also questions the usefulness of the Bible as a code of moral behaviour and "family values", examining various practices and beliefs promoted in the Bible which would be considered morally repugnant today, such as the treating of women as inferior to men, incest (In Genesis 19:30-37 Lot's daughters rape their drunken father in order to have his children), polygamy (1 Kings 11:1-3 Solomon had at least a thousand lovers/wives), rape (Numbers 31:17-18), and the murder of women and children (Psalm 137:8-9).
The part that lives up to the "nonsense" label the best would be in the section on Noah's Ark. Baker considers the absurdity of fitting two of the estimated 6.5 million land dwelling species found on Earth into a box 137m x 23m x 14m. Not to mention the difficulty of providing food or water for all of those creatures for approximately a year, and the question of where all the water, which apparently covered the Earth for a depth of 10 kilometers, got to afterwards. One thing Baker mentions that I hadn't thought of before is that the Bible doesn't mention anything being done to preserve all the species of plants on the Earth, which surely would have died in the flood.
Nonsense from the Bible
may not convince the reader that these sections of the Bible, let alone the whole book, are nonsense, but it will provide plenty to think about and discuss. It's a fairly quick read and at just 81 cents for the Kindle edition it is extremely affordable.