Skeptic's Annotated Bible
| Light iron-age reading|
|Gabbin' with God|
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible, a harsh criticism of the Bible, is written by Steve Wells.[note 1] Wells spent some 20 years researching the Bible, the Qur'an, and the Book of Mormon to generate his Skeptic's Annotated Bible. It analyses the King James Version of the Bible and is particularly useful against King James only-fundamentalists. Wells analyzes a variety of issues that non-Christians and thinking Christians often find untenable with the more common presentation of the Bible as literal truth, and of the Bible and God as "good and peaceful". As with other annotations, it provides ongoing commentary about what passages mean, their context, and their function.
Because the work focuses only on the King James version, it has some limitations when arguing with people who use other translations, but those can usually be worked out by reading the given verses in a different translation at a site like Bible Gateway.
Wells's criticism itself is most effective against those who see the Bible as both inerrant and non-contradictory. It's also interesting to read the juicy violent and sexual bits that are so often ignored in church services and bible-school classes.
The site looks for and labels (with cute little icons) any biblical reference to:
- Cruelty and Violence
- Family Values (ironically, of course)
- Science and History (again, a focus on that which is bad science and wrong history)
And just for fun, they have an icon for "Good stuff" as well, parts of the Bible that teach a good moral message or are otherwise laudable.
Other sacred texts
The site has expanded to pages addressing the Qur'an and the Book of Mormon. The site's copy of the Book of Mormon adds two new icons, one for plagiarism of passages from the King James Bible and one for Changes from the original 1830 version.
The website has received a lot of criticism, unsurprisingly from Christians. Many point out that most of the notes he makes do not take the historical or textual context of the passages into consideration. Most non-Christian critics would counter that Christians, especially fundamentalists, rarely do that themselves, and that context is by definition irrelevant if we are to take the Bible literally as literalists would insist.
The site does make extreme leaps in interpretations, and sometimes pushes common understanding a bit too far for the quick joke, but it still provides insight and a way to begin an argument with a fundamentalist, if you have the patience for that argument. Some of Wells' comments are simply him making snarky jokes; in general the SAB should be viewed as a tool for strengthening and entertaining skeptics rather than for deconverting hardcore fundies. While a great source of discussion points, this Bible's sassy attitude makes it for critics, not Christians.
- Evil Bible.com: Very similar. It should be noted that both sites reference each other quite a bit.
- The RationalWiki Annotated Bible
- Wells has also written the book Drunk With Blood: God's Killings in the Bible.