Eden Prairie's two community newspapers both encourage credulity and superstition, especially when advocated by high-status, home owning white people--so Anderson has never faced any genuine ideological opposition. 'Tis a pity.
Anderson bases his narrative in the four New Testament gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The book is meant for a popular readership, but important information is omitted. Anderson does not inform readers that the four gospels are not written by eyewitnesses, nor were they written by individuals named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--these are conventional attributions added much later. We don't have a lot of information about the gospel writers, and there are enormous contradictions among the four narratives.
Anderson's Jesus picks and chooses among the stories related in the four gospels, often entering the minds of participants. The book contains numerous unsubstantiated historical claims presented as unquestionable Truths. Anderson frequently relishes in the torments nonbelievers will endure at the hands of his sadistic god--incineration being a favorite--and every single person described as not accepting Jesus' message does so due to malice, stupidity and/or hypocrisy.
Younger evangelicals increasingly accept gay marriage, and loads also reject Anderson's view that the prayers of non-Christians fall on deaf ears [see Jesus, p266]. (On this point, ironically, Anderson and I are in agreement.)
**So I sent him an email:
Hello Pastor Anderson,
As you're aware, I have been blogging about your book Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man, His Land, and His People. In my discussion of the book, I have been quite frank: I regard it as an utterly shameful publication--a disgraceful slander upon the honor of those who do not accept Christianity.
You and I have something in common, Pastor Anderson: We are among that very minuscule portion of citizens who present our controversial opinions to the public, without hiding behind any cloak of anonymity.
There the similarity ends, however: I warmly invite criticism, always facilitating my critics' access to my readers--while you impede same. You view criticism as presumptively ill-willed, whereas I view it as normal, to be expected. I respond to my critics, while you refuse any interaction with yours.
Were you to allow interaction, I'd have quite a number of questions for you, as regards your Jesus biography. In today's brief email, let me try one:
On page 309 of Jesus, you write:
"Thank you, Jesus!" they said. "We appreciate it when you skip the figures of speech and use plain direct language. It makes it even more obvious that you know everything! You can answer questions before they are asked. This helps us believe that you came from God."What is your source for the attribution, above?
An overarching theme of Jesus is that every single person who disputes Christian theological assertions is an ill-motivated, evil persecutor. If you are aware of any uncivil statement I have made, in criticizing your book, please do not hesitate to bring it to my attention.
Reading your book, I learned you frequently fantasize about torturing people like me [p104-106, p112, p266]. By contrast, I don't consider you satanic or deserving of torture--I simply think you're wrong. I wish you a long and happy life--and indeed would consider it quite disgraceful were I to call for your eternal torment.
As a strong believer in civility, I always try to respond to my critics. Having now read your Jesus, I learned that you view legitimate criticism as being impossible--that people who disagree with your ideas are simply deluded, stupid, satanic and/or hypocritical--and therefore can never be engaged. I strongly disagree with your dogmatic assertion, and herewith invite you to a Starbucks coffee, on my dime, to try to persuade you of the error of your ways.