Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Snap: David Lamb's "God Behaving Badly"

I don’t give praise to too many books, but this one decidedly deserved it. It reads like essays written by Glenn Miller or myself on those (yawn) OT atrocity stories, except simpler: More in that sense like one of my YouTube videos, trying to bring the complex issues down to a level the average person will understand.

Lamb is a professor of OT, but he writes with a flair and familiarity consistent with an apologist who is also a good communicator. Popular culture references – you got ‘em. (Who would expect a book on OT issues like these to allude to sitcoms like The Simpsons? I would –it’s the sort of thing I’ve been saying we need to do!) A good number of the favorite objections are covered, though some are not (for example, the story of Jephthah’s daughter isn’t covered).

The only reservations I have may or may not have to do with that aspect of the book. Though Lamb frequently cites cultural norms of the OT period as relevant, I would have liked to have seen more background on things like ritual purity, and honor and shame, and how they related to these issues. And perhaps it would have been nice to have seen some treatment of some of the more absurd arguments made by certain atheist quarters (e.g., one opponent of mine asked why God didn’t just turn Amalekite weapons into bananas – as if that would have stopped anything!). But I may be too demanding there; Lamb takes on the New Atheists, and even the Infidel Guy at one point. And when it gets down to it, there’s no answer necessary when the only argument the atheists offer amounts to complaining (but not explaining) how unfair God is.

I’ll be adding this one with Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster as an excellent starter book for readers interested in these issues.

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