Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Angel of Death, by Adrian Ferrer - 5 Stars

Identifying one of the two original religious figures is a leap I’ve never heard of before, a nuclear bomb of an idea.

I'm giving a star rating for the value of the idea rather than the fictional story it has been set within, so that’s a first for me. Therefore, this review concentrates on the really important message set within this mysterious crime thriller and the implications of publishing it, which I think outweighs the need for the quality of the detective story alongside it to carry the book. The crime story is fine and appropriately creepy in a Dan Brown sort of sense, so this book can be read for that content alone, but when you’re visiting the Crown Jewels not much attention gets spent on the display cabinet, does it?

Reinforcing the book’s central claim with unadulterated biblical records adds a touch of debating elegance, a check-mate, because the evidence used to support the accusation of who the entity really is are taken from within the very text that Christian critics refer to as the cornerstone of their belief. That’s a beautiful catch. The riposte cannot say “This has been taken out of context” because the context is the book of God’s supposed contact with humanity and each section is quoted in full, so it is the perfect context, none better (for the relevant deity) and if you look each up and read more surrounding text it doesn’t change the meaning. For a Christian to contest this author’s line of thought, they must contest significant sections of The Old Testament itself (and Torah) as fantasy, i.e. deny the faith they are defending, so they can either put their fingers in their ears and start chanting and burning books or they can accept the evidence trail, but to accept the obvious conclusion… Ouch. This will be painful for tens of millions of people across the world to open their minds to.

An objective, non-religious jury would probably decide that if the recordings in the Bible’s Old Testament are to be accepted as not fictional, that’s if, the conclusion is probably correct. The problem is the ‘If’. If the words of the first book of the Bible represent the half-remembered mythology of a nomadic tribe, passed down originally verbally since the Bronze Age, some of the account is surely imperfectly remembered and much of it is designed metaphorically, to illustrate a point. Did it all happen? Does it matter? The importance is generally the message to obey authority and not disrupt social harmony (God and His laws etc), so the supposed original event and all that smiting might just be intended to scare a simple tribe into compliance. If though, as a huge number of people believe, the God of The Old Testament was a real entity… this book will nuke his PR Department.

Most men of the cloth would accept that there is a strong contrast between the character, style and actions of the deity described in The Old Testament and the more enlightened ethos of Jesus and God in The New Testament, so I doubt there will be wide-spread resistance to assessing them separately. Did Jesus express his opinion of the god of the Old Testament directly, indirectly or could it have either been edited out of the record; or was voicing disapproval impossible as it invited cruel backlash from the orthodoxy around him?

The explanation of the character rift between God and God in the books of the Bible is that primitive tribes in the early Bronze Age might have only responded to fear and threat, with threat from God being an even stronger motivation (“It’s not me telling you, it’s Him telling you”), whereas larger and more structured societies in the late Bronze Age had more education and reason, so it would be possible to take a more compassionate approach when teaching them to behave, i.e. Jesus’s approach took them to a new level of awareness because they were developmentally ready for that upgrade. So, even people who don’t believe this stuff can accept that two strategies were needed for policing society in these two stages (barbarism to civilisation) and that’s what religion provided.

There are three things that can happen to Adrian Ferrer after publishing this book:

1) Believers can see his big idea as a threat and reject it completely without even reading it or thinking. The majority of Christians and Jews might secretly want him silenced, but it seems likely the law of the modern world will protect him.
2) People can accept the core idea, think the implications don’t apply to them and then the world moves on, which it usually does.
3) Believers may feel they have to take up the cause and launch some kind of counter-publicity attack to encourage people to label this is just another religious or anti-religious lunatic who writes fantasy, hoping the book doesn’t sell and very few people ever read the argument or understand it.
4) No one notices it anyway because it’s an independent publication with no marketing behind it.

This has to be and indie book because no mainstream publisher would take the risk of signing this author because, even though the book would sell and make a profit, groups of militant Christians and Jews could close their business down. Jerry Springer the Opera was closed by a Christian protest, importantly, gathering people to bang on the doors who had not watched the show and who had objected to content they knew of only through hearsay. I predict that most of the protest against this book will come from people who have no intention of buying or reading a single page of the argument. Closed minds. The argument itself and this counter-behaviour are both very hard forces to oppose but at least one of them has logical structure.

This is not an attempt to persuade Christians to stop worshipping God (conflating two entities from two histories into one title again). Committed Christians and Jews who do read the book might hit the first excerpt and then fear that the Devil is trying to turn them with this book, misunderstanding it as an instrument of new deceit, rather than an exercise in exposing old deceit.

There are three possible realities for the author to consider after publishing this:

1) There is no God, in which case the only problem is human reaction to the book.
2) There is a God and the conclusion is wrong (divine retribution).
3) There is a God and the conclusion is right (gosh, well done).

If someone reviews this book favourably, the writer can expect unfair tactics like requests to take the review down, a swarm of counter reviews and requests to the server owner for removal, the usual spectrum of intimidation when someone’s come close to a truth that threatens vested interests. Can a Christian read it, accept the findings and remain a devout Christian at the end? Yes, absolutely.

That just leaves a problem for me. Should a reviewer rate this based on the message being correct or not (which isn’t a literature review) or do they rate it based on the quality of the story (which doesn’t include any marks for the huge implication)? I am choosing to rate the explosiveness of the message, which isn’t my consistent approach to reviewing at all but this isn’t a normal book.

In summary, ideas this big don’t come along often and the author has set aside his own safety by publishing it. That’s the hardnosed reality. The more spiritual of you in the audience might consider this: Did it occur to Adrian Ferrer that he might have been chosen to deliver this idea at this stage of our development, that it might be His message?

No comments:

Post a Comment