I looked into this book at one AM intending to get a flavor for the contents, and read it later at the gym while treadmilling. But I did not put it down until 3 AM by which time I had finished reading. How can a subject like this be such a page turner? Well, it is NOT because the author rants on one point of view or the other like ALL the other books you might have encountered on religion and science or religion and movies or science and movies, or any similar combination. It is light, fascinating, personal, even funny. The author uses Deuteronomy 2 to illustrate that even the most literal of believers picks and chooses which scripture to “take literally” based on what’s expected and accepted and thought to be true or useful in their own time and culture. But the author finds the fault with our own ignorance, both then and now, not with the inspired moral lessons, and proceeds to quote scientific studies that children need limits to be set, or, or what? The author is very polite about it but the thought that occurred to me is they will grow up to be scriptural literalists, inconsiderate of other people’s feelings, convert to Islam, take chapter 9 of the Koran’s compulsion to kill all non-Muslims literally, and fight their own kind to the death. It’s not like the world does not have a problem with people doing this. But Allen does not ponder the weighty question any further. It moves on in humorous and irreverent tones to explain how stories, to be popular and believed, incorporate common “knowledge” of the culture at the time of the story. That knowledge changes. Even the scientific truths we read in the book will be replaced by others, I suspect. So the book is an example of its own point. I thought I knew everything about this subject, frankly, and was reading the book on request (though I bought my own copy). I did think the angle of using movie examples sounded interesting. Boy was I surprised. Right away the author unifies both principle points of view on Revelation, that it is a book about events of the time of its writing, and the nature of its applicability today, while leading the reader away from numerology and looking for fatalistic omens. A very healthy approach. Not even pausing for breath, the advantage to our ancestors of having a roll of fat around the waist is dropped into our laps. Something I’d never thought of and you probably haven’t either. But it’s not a collection of interesting facts, either. Allen links this to the ability of humans to be revived bodily after death! But Allen obviously doesn’t think that is all there is to it. He has had an epiphany. I’ll let him tell you . . .
August 12, 2014