I Sold My Soul On eBay Reviews from Christians June 11, 2007

I Sold My Soul On eBay Reviews from Christians

It’s really exciting to hear what people think of I Sold My Soul on eBay after they’ve read it. It may not always be what I want to hear, but it’s great to learn about how various people took in the book.

It’s especially interesting to me what Christians have to say, because they are the target audience for the book. There are a few Christian bloggers who have recently shared their thoughts. I apologize for putting them all together in one post, but you do see a number of ways people respond to several parts of the book.

Luke Geraty goes through many of the points I make and has in-depth responses to them. For certain points, he tries to explain how I may not understand certain aspects of church because I’m not a Christian, but on other points, he wholeheartedly agrees. After a very thorough critique, he says this:

Well, thus concludes my initial thoughts after reading this book. I highly recommend that people read this book. It was fantastic. I just encourage you to weigh everything with what the Scriptures teach and yet be open to examining why you may do what you do. Like I said, I Sold My Soul on eBay is a one of a kind! Order a copy from Amazon.com or borrow mine.

Steve Netniss gives a response to each part of my summary of the good/bad parts of church. But before he gets to that, he shares this anecdote:

My dad did something great when I was young. He was teaching me how to ride a bike and he would hold on to the back of my seat and run with me so that I felt safe peddling without the training wheels. I can still remember the day I turned around to see if my dad was still holding on to the seat and he was 50 feet away with a big smile on his face watching me soar. Needless to say I didn’t know how to stop and so I started crying and crashed. But the point is that I realized I didn’t need my dad their holding my seat. I could ride my bike on my own. Hemant I think could relate to this experience. After Hemant rejected the existence of God he learned that he could make it on his own and actually enjoyed it much more then trusting in God. This sort of thing happens all the time. If you’re honest, I’m sure you could remember a time when you’ve felt that your faith was just a crutch to serve a need that could be served elsewhere.

There’s a word “enjoyed” in there that I would like to change… but what a wonderful example of what it’s like to become an atheist. Steve “gets” it.

Leigh Anne manages to connect the political world to my comments about the church talking about the need for social justice but not always following through with it.

She ends that part of her post with this comment:

After all, what did Jesus spend his life doing? Telling people what they could or couldn’t do, or taking care of the poor and oppressed?

Stew Carson makes a bold suggestion about the book:

It was a great read and would do well to make it’s way in to a seminary curriculum for prospective pastors.

Stew also agrees with a number of the criticisms I have and explains why he feels that way.

C. E’Jon Moore says this:

Mehta gave me a lot of food for thought. A lot of things that I take for granted and enjoy, Mehta had legitimate questions about. And he refused the fit the stereotype of atheists that Christians tend to buy into, being evenhanded in his approach and refusing to be mean-spirited in any of his questioning of Christian practice or theology. While I didn’t agree with everything and felt that certain questions asked had viable answers, it was a humbling [experience]. Mehta cannot possibly represent the mindset of every unreligious person, but he provides a candid glimpse into a world Christians often misunderstand or disregard entirely.

He also juxtaposes the book alongside another written by a successful pastor and writes about his feelings after having read each book.

[tags]atheist, atheism, I Sold My Soul on eBay, Christian, Luke Geraty, Scripture, Bible, Steve Netniss, Jesus, Stew Carson, C. E’Jon Moore[/tags]

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  • Brendon Lake

    Sounds like a good bunch of reviews, chances of me getting a hold of your book without a huge effort are rather slim though.
    I’d love to read it.

  • Mriana

    It is a good book, Brendon. Try Amazon.

  • Maria

    Well it was a kick ass book. 🙂

  • OsakaGuy


    I just got your book and I am almost done reading it. I am an atheist who wasn’t raised religious and has never been to church, so it is interesting to see the inside of the churches you visited through your eyes.

    I have one nitpick though about your section on Ted Haggard. I’m no fan of Haggard, but I think you misinterpreted what he said during the interview with Richard Dawkins in “The Root of All Evil?”

    I watched the clip again on YouTube, and this is what I heard Haggard say. (I added the bold):

    “…you do understand that this issue right here of intellectual arrogance is the reason why people like you have a difficult problem with people of faith. I don’t communicate an air of superiority over the people because I know so much more, and if you only read the books I know, and if you only knew the scientists I do, then you would be great like me. Well, sir, there could be many things that you know well, and there are other things that you don’t know well. As you age, you’ll find yourself wrong on some things, right on some other things. But please, in the process of it, don’t be arrogant.”

    I’m almost 100% sure that he is saying that section in bold in a mocking tone, mimicking the attitude he perceives Dawkins having. So he isn’t being blatantly arrogant as you suggest in your book, but he is being a rude ass!

    What do you think?

    Anyway, thanks again for writing this book and one of my favorite blogs!

  • OsakaGuy– Thanks for the comment. I never heard that interpretation until after the book was out, but I’ve seen the clip several times and I still don’t think he’s saying it in a mocking way. I think he actually means it. Regardless, I still think he comes off looking, like you said, as arrogant (and smug) throughout the interview.

  • Mriana

    I’m sorry, Osakaguy, But I thought Haggard was VERY arrogant. I can’t even say how arrogant without the FCC coming down me probably. I still see the bold section as Haggard’s arrogance, not mocking. He was really being a donkey’s behind IMHO.

  • Darryl

    Osakaguy, you’re interpretation of the words has to be correct from a close reading of the grammar, the syntax, and the context of the conversation. Nevertheless, Haggard was being, ironically, a real arrogant bastard as he was scolding Dawkins for being a real arrogant bastard.

  • Hemant,

    Thank you for noticing my review, though I I had no idea that you would pay attention to that sort of thing (mostly because I assumed you would probably have ten million of them), but I’m glad that you found my review somewhat fair. I appreciated your dialogue and thoughts as well.

    Will you be speaking in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area any time soon?

    Luke Geraty

  • OsakaGuy

    Hemant, Mriana, Darryl, thanks for your replies.

    I’m not saying Haggard isn’t arrogant. He’s awfully arrogant, and being a hypocrite for telling Dawkins not to be!

    The only thing I’m saying, and I think Darryl agrees, is that he isn’t telling Dawkins to read the books and meet the scientists he knows to be great like Haggard is. If you watch the YouTube clip, I think you can hear his sarcastic tone where he says “great like me”. I can’t imagine he meant that plainly. He was trying to portray what he thought Dawkins is like.

    Again, I’m not trying to defend Haggard in any way. I’m just pointing out that he’s a jerk for a different reason then implied in Hemant’s book.

    That was just my little nitpick. I’m a huge fan of Dawkins and Hemant as well. Oh and I finally finished Hemant’s book just a few hours ago. It was excellent. I finally have a book to lend with no reservations to Christian friends. Although it is addressed to Christians, I think atheists would get a lot out of it too. Hemant is a fine role model for the truly friendly atheist. (Some members in our local atheist group here would surely benefit from his example, not that I’m Mr. Perfect!)

  • Will you be speaking in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area any time soon?

    Hi Luke! At the moment, I’m not planning on coming up there, but if any group would like to sponsor me, I’d love to speak. I did speak to the Minnesota Atheists recently, and if you go to their website, you can find the podcast of my talk.

  • Thanks for the alternate interpretation Osaka! I agree, it makes a lot more sense when you read it that way. And I also agree that Haggard was still being an arrogant prick regardless (though I wasn’t entirely impressed by Dawkins either).

  • OsakaGuy


    Thanks. I love Dawkins, but you’re right he was a little riled up during that encounter with Haggard. (Not surprisingly given Haggard’s patronizing attitude!) Some people don’t like Sam Harris for various reasons, but one thing which always impresses me about Harris is that he is always cool as a cucumber. Nothing seems to phase him. I still think Dawkins was the “winner” in that scene, but if he handled it with more humor maybe he could have really knocked Haggard down a notch.

  • Hemant,

    Thank you for the link. I’ll have to keep my eyes open. I wouldn’t be surprised if the University of Minnesota brings you in, nor would I be surprised if some of the surrounding seminaries do as well. In fact, perhaps Bethel Seminary!?!?! That’d be an interesting discussion to hear/see.

    What has been your initial reaction to some of the ‘critiques’ that us Christian’s have given to your book? Have you received any negative feedback that seems to be similiar to others?

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