Dr. Steven Stoller [@theagingathlete, Twitter DM Received 28/3/2016] K A G Thackerey, I just read your book and think it is absolutely brilliant. You tackled a complex subject and with research of religious and historical facts came to an enlightening conclusion that I always felt but could never elucidate like you have done. Being a physician, you are so right with temporal lobe epilepsy but could of added schizophrenia as well. I have seen many patients who are convinced that they are God or are messengers to tell mankind. I never understood why out of all the people they could be the President, Superman by far the most common was God. You are a talented intellectual who should continue with your writing. I look forward to your next book.
By the way I wrote a tremendous review but it never went through. I tried twice so feel free to use this as my review.
The Christianity Myth
Reviewed by Michelle Anne Schingler [Clarion Reviews February 1, 2016]
Thackerey analyzes the tension between blind faith and available proof, and sides with doubt as the more scientific choice.
The Christianity Myth traces a layman’s journey from an inquisitive agnostic to a definitive atheist, proposing major theological shifts along the way. K. A. G. Thackerey’s brief book is a forceful example of principled moves away from biblical literalism.
Though he regularly attended church services with his wife, Thackerey was never fully persuaded that claims about Jesus’s resurrection had a firm and logical foundation. In the name of open inquiry, he decided to engage in some active research, first by attending a catechism class called the Alpha Course to find out what proofs believers offered, and then by reading a popular book from a Bible scholar who fell away from the faith. Both experiences left him convinced that New Testament claims, particularly related to resurrection and revelation, have no basis in reality.
The Christianity Myth works to relate those convictions to others concerned about biblical veracity. For those who have never questioned the absolute truth of biblical texts, these assertions stand to shock: outside of the Bible, there’s little proof that Jesus existed, and none that he was resurrected. The vision on the road to Damascus isn’t scientifically verifiable; there are inconsistencies between the various gospels.
The alternative explanations that the book offers for scriptural stories are both creative and provocative. The suggestion that Paul hallucinated his Damascus vision is interesting, if ultimately as unverifiable as Paul’s own claims, but it is forwarded emphatically, with contemporary studies on hallucinatory religious experiences used to highlight the credibility of the proposal. This tension between blind faith and available proof exists throughout, and the book sides with doubt as the more scientific choice.
There’s not much new here for those well-versed in biblical exegesis, but the exercise is a worthwhile one nonetheless. Those who are just beginning to study biblical texts from an academic perspective will certainly sympathize with the frustrations outlined in Thackerey’s The Christianity Myth, which presents many initially surprising theories well.