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Has God got a dogGodAlexander WaughReview 1899 pp340The Hebrew GodBernhard LangYale University Press 25 pp246Heaven A Travellers Guide to the Undiscovered CountryPeter StanfordHarperCollins 1699 pp384God is categorically not a lavatory Its not the conclusion you expect in a book about the Almighty but Alexander Waugh delights in the questions you never thought to ask Does God have pets or parents or bowels How does he smell lovely but like a blended perfume Does he have a mobile home Does he have genitalsEven in a secular world God is with us Now more than ever we read the Bible and Koran frantic to find what he wants what we need from him whether God is still home even if faith has left the building He remains a hand around the heart an infection of the imagination God is a cadence a cultural trace a juicy publishing opportunityHaving dispatched time in his last book in God Waugh takes on the big guy and hes not awestruck If scripture is the word of God why should God need to communicate with people by analogy he chafes Why not be literalBelligerent literal-mindedness becomes his method quoting generously from lyrical sources but sifting visions like plodding witness statements This God dumps Adam and Eve like a child rejecting a brand new toy because he cant get his head round the instructions Abraham is dull Sarah a hag while Jesuss buccaneering spirit has led to many of historys religious bloodbathsWaugh patches sources to build a portrait of this slipperiest of all slippery fish constructing a dodgy psychological profile like Fitz from Cracker let loose in the seminary All writing on God receives equal credence whether apostle or mystic Dante or bug-eyed website Waugh reads widely especially among the more excitable apocrypha but research serves only to crank up the snigger The Bible seems full of funny foreigners mostly grumpy zealots who deserve all they get Even the gems he unearths are
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