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The Lateral Truth
An Apostate's Bible Stories

by Rebecca Bradley

      Apostate (n): one who commits apostasy
Apostasy (n): 1 : renunciation of a religious faith 2 : abandonment of a previous loyalty

I had to look it up myself, because I wanted to be absolutely sure what was meant. I'm glad I did. These aren't the usual sorts of bible stories, despite some familiar names. Nor are most of them simple play-it-for-laughs satires, as you might assume from the references to wit on the cover blurbs. There's a lot of cynicism to the viewpoints telling these tales, but it's clearly the bitter edged cynicism of a former believer - an apostate - (bitterness usually grounded in some sense of betrayal), rather than the more neutral cynicism of the always unbelieving atheist. That's a key difference. The author isn't necessarily trying to create masses of new apostates, but neither are her target audience unbelievers who have always looked on the Bible as merely another work of myth-building fiction. She freely states that she's trying to make believers think about what they believe from the originals ...and why.

Adam visits a distant, fearsome God by appointment while Eve talks conspiracy theories. Moses is more thug leader of a band of bully boys than liberator. A powerful speaker for sure, but for whose benefit and how much is to be believed? Martha is accused of thinking herself too good for the rest because she looks down on them from the upper room where she's been airing their beds, rather than sitting amongst them, listening to the Teacher. Some of it's straightwordly funny, such as the Tower of Babel Committee, all of it's thought provoking. The chapter at the end, on life in heaven at the Lost Souls Bar and Grill, is notably both.

It doesn't take much twisting to turn the original versions on their head. No matter how much debate there may be about the details, religion is based in faith and belief over logical certainty. Credo quia absurdum est. That's why this effort to take the sacred cows to some new and different pastures is smart enough to be based in stories people can relate to rather than syllogisms. Give it a shot and see how they fare.

The Book

Scroll Press
Trade Paperback
Religious Fiction / Studies
More at

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2008
© 2008