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Who knows? Who knows?
by Asa Butcher
2007-05-11 10:14:19
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Book
Scepticism Inc.
Written by Bo Fowler
Bloomsbury, 2000
Hey Christians! How much are you willing to bet that Jesus was the Son of God? Seriously, how much money are you prepared to back this improvable claim? The same goes to all religious groups, sects and cults – would you be willing to ‘put your money where your metaphysics are?’

This is the premise of Bo Fowler’s Scepticism Inc. and it certainly makes for an interesting concept, since the eventual outcome of this metaphysical betting is the bankruptcy and end of thousands of religions, including the Church of England thanks to the overzealous gambling streak of the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, I am getting ahead of myself.

Before you even think about being inspired by my review and dashing off to find a copy and check if my advice was on the mark, let me warn any of you that find it hard, nay impossible to laugh at your religious beliefs then do not read this book. If you don’t have the ability to acknowledge that the whole set-up is laughable then go and re-read one of your own texts, but for anybody else who considers religion the biggest con on mankind then get a copy now.

A sentient shopping trolley that has a belief in God and also manages to climb Mount Everest unassisted narrates the story, but again I am getting too far ahead. I guess this has to do with the fact that the plot of the story is actually summarized on the opening pages! Anyway, the story follows a man called Edgar Malroy who launches a chain of metaphysical betting shops that soon cover the globe.

Edgar becomes the richest man alive and uses the money gathered from ‘nuts’ he sets about ending famine, wars, poverty and the world’s worst disease, organized religion. His nemesis is the incredible beautiful Sophie Alderson, in fact she is so beautiful that ‘men would willingly die for her ears alone.’ Naturally, Edgar is in love with Sophie, just like all men and shopping trolleys who see her, but this merely encourages Edgar to push on with his plans – the best one being the irrigation of the Earth’s deserts to create farmland and end starvation.

The book is written in very short paragraphs that jump back and forth between the main characters and the fate of the world, people and religion. How many books end with over ten Popes, three Dalai Lamas and Buddhists engaged in a Holy War against one man? As I said, this isn’t a book for the die-hard believers, since no religion is spared Bo Fowler’s scathing theological criticisms.

The novel takes a heavy subject and turns it on its head with light-hearted stories and ideas; ideas that could seemingly make this a better world in which to live even outside the pages of fiction. I thoroughly encourage everybody to read Scepticism Inc. and open their minds to a greater good. As for those who won’t read it, I must quote the one line of the Bible that would make Edgar Malroy laugh so hard his false eye would pop out:

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:24

Aloha!

   
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Asa2007-05-11 10:22:32
I must also say that another Bo Fowler book called "The Astrological Diary of God" is great fun too.


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