The Judeo-Christian tradition is filled with contradictions and paradoxes. God issues the commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” Yet, two of Judaism’s greatest leaders, Moses and David, were both murderers. Another disciple, Peter, betrayed Jesus, not once, but three times, only to become the first pope. Go figure. As they say, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
Snofla Sacul’s (a pseudonym), If Only God Used His Brain Ahead of Time is an astute observation of such inconsistencies and illuminates hundreds throughout the book. The chapter “In What Do We Believe In?” alone outlines over fifty incongruities, including a number that implicate the Catholic faith in idolatry and misrepresentation. For instance, the author writes that celibacy in the Church was introduced by Pope Boniface VII, yet neither Jesus nor Paul ever told their followers to abstain from sex and not have children. If this edict isn’t in the Bible, then why is it a basic tenet of Catholicism?
Sacul should be commended for highlighting such conflicts between scripture and what seems to be common sense. There’s something endearing about the rapid-fire attack on religion in the book (the author is undoubtedly smart and funny), but his or her stream of consciousness style makes for choppy reading and does not serve the material well. Further, many of the points Sacul raises have been worked out theologically over the last 2,000-5,000 years. Those answers may not be satisfactory to the author, but they do nonetheless exist, and should have been addressed.
As the author points out in the introduction, there is a lot of repetition here. This could have been easily avoided, as well as the number of typos and factual errors that permeate the book (the Rosary wasn’t introduced in 1990, but probably in the 13th century). This all adds up, unfortunately, to a missed opportunity.
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