Readers' Favorite 5-Star Reviews
I started “Myths of Christianity: A Five Thousand Year Journey to Find the Son of God” worried that it would be an attack on all my Christian beliefs. Instead, it was a thorough look at the evolution of those beliefs and how they have changed over time. Yes, many of our Christian positions were “agreed upon” by church officials well after the life of Christ to prevent dissension in the church and conform to “expected” norms of how God works. This evolution is explained in great detail. But this only serves to show that we are trying to explain something (God’s role in our lives) that is fundamentally beyond our comprehension. The book simply exposes that some of our “truths” were not really the teachings of Christ. I did not realize, for example, that there is no mention of Satan in the Old Testament and Satan was seen as an angel doing God’s bidding in the New Testament. At that time, it was believed that one God controlled all things, good and bad, the devil came much later. Similarly, there is no mention of Christ’s actual birthday in the Bible and that it was traditionally celebrated in the spring but moved to December 25th to replace the pagan celebration of the winter solstice thereby appeasing new pagan converts to the religion. In the end, this unabashed look into our Christian traditions simply served to reinforce that Christianity is not about the “details” but about His true message; “Love God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Christ taught a very simple religion based on these two very simple rules.
I highly recommend this book for those searching to make sense of Christianity. It is not about being able to site certain Bible passages or about being Catholic or Protestant that make you a Christian. It is about loving God and your neighbors, end of sentence.
Myths of Christianity by Jedediah McClure, takes you on a comprehensive historic journey into the Christian faith with the accuracy and detail of a college level text book, coupled with the personal accounts associated with a great autobiography.
Mr. McClure’s scholarly background and detailed study are clearly apparent from the onset. However, this is done in such an intellectually attainable way, as to never distance or bore the reader. He covers in detail the origins of the most popular ideas surrounding religion, from angels & demons, heaven & hell, Easter & Christmas, to most importantly the origins of the doctrine itself. He offers a meticulous account of the religious history without taking sides, never trying to argue for or against a specific denomination in the Christian faith. This deliberately allows the reader to draw their own conclusions, with the comfortable knowledge that they have all the appropriate information to do so. I particularly liked the fact that Mr. McClure took the time to define religious nomenclature terms throughout the text, so as to not to break your reading stride. Stopping to Google unfamiliar terms can be exhaustive and disconcerting while enjoying a great book, often breaking your reading cadence.
This subject matter is vast and complex by its very nature. However, this well organized work, allows the reader to digest the information in manageable portions. He explains things consistently well, often drawing parallels between modern day politics and pop culture. From famous martial artists, to infamous corporate giants, these analogies cement complex ideas for the general reader.
The reality is this book as takeaways for everyone. The religious fundamentalist or extremist will benefit from the accuracy and unfiltered information, hopefully refocusing on the common themes throughout all faiths, which is love, connectedness, compassion, tolerance, etc. The everyday believer will enjoy the myths, stories and concrete knowledge surrounding the faith that they espouse to believe in. Even the Atheist will walk away with an increased historically knowledge, appreciating the hard facts without the emotional faith supporting interpretations that often taint religious literature.
I enthusiastically recommend this work to anyone wanting an unbiased, comprehensive, and easily readable history into the Christian faith and its vast intricacies.
Don't go looking for the answers but for the knowledge to find your own answers. I picked up the book to give me answers to all the questions I've had about Christianity and my faith. I'm glad that instead of telling me what to think, like every religious clergy has ever told me, this book helped me find my own answers. The book goes beyond the bible and our dogmatic beliefs passed down by family to really study the ideas of Christianity and what it means to you.
It's obvious that Jedediah has spent a great deal of his life contemplating the same questions that weigh on many of us Christians. Reading the book, I was amazed at his depth of research and understanding. I'm a history buff and I could have read the book solely for the look into the centuries and pivotal events around the formation of our faith. The cultural history that shaped Christianity really helps put our practices and faith in perspective. A must read for any Christian (or really anyone for that matter) to better understand faith and how it shapes our lives.
I grew up Catholic but was raised to form my own opinions. I am now a scholar and am quite skeptical about books purported to be an objective study of the Bible. I read Myths of Christianity out of curiosity and was absolutely impressed from the beginning and continued to be impressed throughout the book with how very well researched and documented the information is.
This book is a rarity in that it is for BOTH followers of Christianity and non-followers. For those who follow Christ, McClure's book provides a richer and deeper appreciation of the stories and lessons given in the Bible. For non-followers, this book gives such a clear development of the history behind the stories of the Bible that it allows readers to gain a fulsome understanding of this book that is one of the (if not the) most referenced books in the Western world. As one of my instructors told me once, "You don't have to be religious to read the Bible, just educated." Understanding the Bible is essential to understanding the moral, political, socio-cultural, and even economic development of our society. McClure's book enables one to get that understanding.
Finally, McClure's book is written in a matter-of-fact, concise, and clear manner; he brings in pop-culture references and analogies for simple but not simplistic comparisons that allow all readers to appreciate the tremendous researched information he provides.
If I was not retired, this would be my first choice in text books for my students on comparative religion, mythology, and even critical thinking.
Five stars - no doubt.
Deeply researched and well-presented, this eye-opening exposition of the myths that have woven in and out of the history of Christianity is truly an excellent work. Well worth reading for believers, skeptics, and agnostics alike.
Myths of Christianity is a bold foray into the murky depths of the origin and traditions of the Christian religion. Among many gems, it shows that the archetypes so integral and beloved in the foundation of this world religion are more universal and timeless than many of us recognized. McClure adeptly synthesizes cutting edge biblical scholarship and world history, distilling it and making it accessible to a wide audience of readers. Whether you are Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon, JW, SDA, Pentecostal, Evangelical or simply a truth-seeker, you will come away challenged and enlightened. But, be warned! Your pastor or bishop may not want you to read this book because it challenges many of the conventional Christian narratives, traditions, and norms we were all taught in Sunday School. McClure is able to go where no Christian historian has gone before in terms of making complex, intertwined, and nuanced historical, cultural, and religious paradigms understandable, enlightening and even fun and entertaining. Ignorance is bliss but if you want to know more about Christianity and its sometimes messy origins and traditions, and if you are willing to walk an adventurous road, this book is for you. Being a Bruce Lee fan also helps! Five stars--no question.
Dr. Francisco Ayala
Recipient of the 2010 Templeton Prize
"I found it extremely interesting and I learned quite a bit from it...the book is extremely impressive, well written and well documented."
Dr. Hon Lee ~ Author of Paths Less Traveled of a Scholar Warrior (Spy) Teacher Healer
"The Myths of Christianity by Jedediah McClure is well written, entertaining, and insightful...this book is MUST READING in this age of religious intolerance."
#1 Bestseller of Nutty Bible Quotes
"Very Interesting! The author is knowledgeable and presents important historical information about the greatest religion in the world...highly recommended for all believers and non-believers who thirst for knowledge."