Author: Joe Wenke
Publisher: Trans Über LLC
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Paperback, 206 pages
Genre: non-fiction, humor, religion
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"...Cultural Arsonist, a person dedicated to setting fire to stupidity and burning up bigotry - metaphorically, that is."
From the cover - Why did God turn Lot's wife into a pillar of salt? Where there no other seasoning available? Why don't we know anything about the early years of Jesus? Did someone lose his baby book? Who reported the desert encounter between Jesus and Satan? Jesus - or Satan? And why does The Holy Spirit like to show up as a bird? As irreverent and funny as the musical The Book Of Mormon, Dr. Joe Wenke's YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! The Cultural Arsonist's Satirical Reading Of The Bible is an engaging, provocative, hilarious investigation into the bestselling book of all time. Written to "cause trouble", cultural arsonist Dr. Wenke - a kin observer of hunan gullibility - forces readers to reexamine the stories they think they know about the Bible. Drawing upon the same pool of inciendiary and cerebral humor as Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and the late, great George Carlin, YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! is a call for humor to restore our sanity and our ability to think for ourselves.
My review - With its sixty-six individual books written on two or possibly three different continents, in three different languages, by forty authors over a period of about 1,500 years, the Holy Bible is probably the most controversial book of all times. Full of contradictions and discrepancies (one for all the stark contrast between the God of Wrath of the Old Testament and the God of Love of the New Testament), the Scriptures are an easy target for sarcasm and mockery...really, you don't need to be an atheist to understand that this collection of chronicles and revelations is anything but a unified text. And do we want to talk also about the apocrypha, the ancient books that didn't make it for some reason to the status of canonical Bible? A literal interpretation of what is considered the book of Truth is simply unrealistic. The clash between Creationism and Evolutionism (to mention only one of the biggest elephants in the room) is too loud to be ignored, even for an observant Catholic. Some of the events chronicled in the Old Testament are so far-fetched that the author makes them sound like a bunch of folkloric retellings: no reliable sources, no eyewitnesses. A tribal code rather, with all those examples of gender inequality, fundamentalism, LGBT-hate and misogynism.
Wenke's relentless sarcasm and anti-bigotry doesn't spare the Gospels as well, although he seems to shift his gear when talking about Jesus: the unyielding criticism of the pre-Messiah chapters loses some of its sting. In the author's words, "Jesus is the coolest guy by far...", still a 'legendary' figure for lack of documentation, but more humane and egalitarian. I personally enjoyed this section of the book above all others. If the author's intent was to elicit a few chuckles about a matter that should not be taken lightly at all, he succeeded. Whether you are an atheist, or a Christian who can see the absurdity of some of the anecdotes narrated in Holy Scriptures, Joe Wenke's humor won't be wasted on you.
***Review copy graciously offered by the publicist in return of an unbiased and honest opinion.
About the author
Dr. Joe Wenke was born the oldest of eleven children in a strict Catholic family in South Philadelphia and attended a long line of Catholic schools including the University of Notre Dame where he received a B.A. in English. He received an M.A. in English from Penn State and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut. A former corporate speechwriter, he is the owner of a leading event marketing company.