The Good Parts of the Good Book

Steve Wells, the creator of the Skeptics Annotated Bible, has put out his list of the best books in the Bible.

Topping the list is Proverbs with 56 “good things” in it.

Tied for 30th place are Acts, Hosea, 2 Timothy, 2 Peter, 3 John, and 2 John with one good thing apiece.

And tied for 36th are 31 other books, none of which have any redeeming value.

When adjusted for size, though, Ecclesiastes comes in first with 17.12 “good things” per 100 verses. Acts comes in 35th, with 0.10 good things per 100 verses.

Wells adds:

(The overall average for the Bible is 0.86 good passages / 100 verses.)

These rankings are based off of an extensive and exhaustive list Wells created, which you can read in full here.

Let the debates begin.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Steve Wells, Skeptics Annotated Bible, Bible, Proverbs, Acts, Hosea, 2 Timothy, 2 Peter, 3 John, 2 John, Ecclesiastes[/tags]

  • Brett

    I’m not sure I like his method. The problem is that he’s coming up with totals and percentages based on analysis of single verses, or at most a few at a time.

    For example, other less direct, or less obvious things aren’t counted as “good.” Some examples include Jesus’ tendency to paint good pictures of minorities the 1st century Jews disliked (such as the good Samaritan, a Canaanite woman in Matt. 15, and the general fact that Jesus actually spoke to women and gave them respect). The good Samaritan, which is actually Luke 10:30-37, only counts as “one” verse/passage. Likewise, many repulsive sections (whole chapters on wars sanctioned by God) would “count” for more under the bad section as well.

    So while his method is amusing and points out good parts and bad parts, trying to quantify it or using it in comparison to other holy books seems a bit silly. This sort of reading of the Bible is as myopic as a fundamentalist’s. Thoughts?

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Why is the Song of Solomon listed among the bad books?

  • Mike C

    So what are his criteria for “good”? He never really says.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    Mike C:
    I assume his criteria for good include the parts of the Bible that don’t advocate stoning people to death, rape, torture, murder, incest, killing one’s own children, killing infidels, slavery, sexual slavery, and the list continues. Since that constitutes just about the whole Bible, I’d tend to agree with Mr. Wells’ work.

    But moderates (like yourself) will hide behind their cloak of faith or philosophize about historical or literary context and misinterpretations. At the very best, this self-deluding behavior amazes me.

  • Saint Gasoline

    Ecclesiastes is probably the best written of all the books, by far. That’s basically the only book that I found somewhat poetic and unique.

  • MTran

    Ecclesiastes, yeah, that’s my favorite of the collection.