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November 20, 2006

That Analysis Thing

Kind of ironic since I've been working on a journalism-review piece heralding the coming of the age of analysis for mainstream news organizations...but the critique I've gotten on the first few chapters of this book is that they are insufficiently analytic. Been trying so hard to maintain an engaging narrative that perhaps I leaned too far in that direction.

Could be more analytic in emphasizing the point made by the various tales I tell -- the story of King Josiah's great god massacre in Judah in the 7th century BCE, for example. The point here being that monotheism grew out of the destruction of -- disbelief in -- lots of other gods. In this draft, I may have relied too much on such points making themselves.

Could be more analytic in looking behind events to their significance -- the political benefits, for example, of centralizing all religious worship in Judah in Josiah's day in the main temple.

Or could be more analytic in dropping a storyline for a while and just making a point: say monotheism, as enforced under King Josiah, as a step, a roundabout one to be sure, in the direction of atheism.

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at November 20, 2006 3:22 PM


Immerse yourself in the facts and analysis, and then write the best story; any facts that do not advance the story should be in footnotes or the appendix. Your prolog made me want to read the STORY--(SOON!). It did not fill me with facts in filled me with curiosity.

It is the story of the most constantly reviled subset of humans throughout history and the story of the courage it takes to honestly speak your mind about belief--knowing the danger those ideas can bring. It is important that it be powerful--not for those of us who already think this way, but for those who haven't given much thought to how cruel the "religious" have been to those who do not see "religion" as rational. That power, though supported by the historical facts, is the story of an almost perpetual holocaust of hate and misunderstanding towards "non-believers". Trust you writing abilities--they are. Fact.

Posted by: Jay Saul at November 22, 2006 10:31 AM

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