The Christian Bible, in all its versions, is the most widely read book in the world. Billions of people have read at least parts of it, and over its history of nearly two millennia, thousands of groups and individuals, if not hundreds of thousands, have interpreted it in myriads of ways. Consequently, today's big tent of Christianity encompasses a bewildering variety of often conflicting belief systems. But which of these systems most accurately reflect the teachings of Jesus? This groundbreaking book presents and analyzes the actual gospel narratives and their implications for believers, as observed from the viewpoint of a nonreligious outsider.
The gospels were essentially written in chronological order, but for purposes of this book, the author has reorganized their passages into broad subject areas. In each chapter, the author examines and discusses a particular topic, providing all the pertinent gospel citations for reference. Highlights include Jesus as an individual, his place in the Christian pantheon, a look at the disciples, the ongoing conflicts with the Jewish clergy, heaven, hell, the miracles, and the gospel prescription for admission to heaven. The only major departures from gospel sources are Old Testament references that are included for background, context, and clarification. Written by a religious skeptic, this book offers a thorough analysis of the gospel that will help readers understand the context, complexities, and contradictions in one of humanity's most famous texts.