I have long considered myself a Christian with moderate theological views, standing between the extremes of both right wing fundamentalism and liberalism. So when I saw this book on the shelf I looked forward to reading it.
Unfortunately Bawer's idea of a "fundamentalist" is anyone to the right of the notorious Bishop Spong. Time and again he employs the "either/or" fallacy: either one is an enlightened, left-wing, revisonist, touchy-feely, creed-hating "Christian" or a naive, dim-witted Bible thumper. Nowhere in Bawer's prejudice is there any sign of the tolerance he lambasts others for lacking. Nor is there any mention of believers such as Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Luke Timothy Johnson or Ron Sider, who stand in the center of many political and theological issues. According to Bawer such individuals simply don't exist.
In addition he makes numerous false statments. A glaring example in on page 40, where he claims that the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement was invented by Augustine in the fifth century. He ignores Jesus' own statements throughout the four gospels on the meaning of his death.
In fact he shamelessly employs a pick and choose approach to Christ which ignores anything the Lord said that doesn't fit his politically correct conception of the Saviour. The result is a Jesus that resembles Alan Alda far more than the character portrayed in Scripture.
I could go into detail about these weaknesses, but to do so would simply be a repetition of prior reviewers. Suffice it to say that those looking for a balanced treatment of Christian fundamentalism should look elsewhere. (from Amazon)