Book Review: "The Deception" by Steven J. Wright

Review by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
“To believe in creation, you have to believe in a God.  But what evidence is there for God anyway?  And if you were to find that evidence, how would you know which God was the correct one?  Doesn’t Hinduism have millions of gods?  Maybe one of them is the real god, and he or she created everything instead of the Judeo-Christian God.  Or what if it is the Christian God?  How would you know which of the thousands of denominations is the correct one to follow?  I might add that many ancient cultures and religions have similar myths on origins.  It goes to show that folklores get passed down and shared from culture to culture, but there is no scientific evidence to support them.  That’s why they are called myths. 
“Class, I’m not here to debate God.  I have my own beliefs, but this is a science class, and we only study the natural things—the things that can be tested and proven with experiments.  Let me go over some of the evidences we have of evolution that clearly disprove creationism.  The Bible states that the sun, moon, and stars were created after the earth.  But the Big Bang Theory shows strong evidence that the sun, moon, and stars were created before the earth.  Here is another one: The Bible says birds were created before the reptiles, but our fossil record shows that reptiles came first, and the birds evolved from them.  In fact, that is what happened to the dinosaurs: through natural selection and mutations, they evolved into birds.  Those little flying critters in your back yard are actually the ancestors of giant dinosaurs that roamed the earth sixty-five million years ago! 
“The fossil record we have is clear evidence that life has evolved from simple organisms to more advanced life forms.  You can’t argue with the bones!”  Some of the students laughed.  “This brings me to my next point.  Has everyone heard the story of Noah’s Flood?”  Many nodded in agreement.  “Well, for those who haven’t, it is also recorded in Genesis.  Simply put, the story is about a man named Noah.  God told Noah He was going to destroy the entire world, and He wanted Noah to build a big boat to put the animals on so they would be saved from a global flood.  There are so many problems with that story, but just like the creation myth, Christians believe in it despite the absurdity.  For example, where did Noah get the wood for the ark?  Didn’t he build it in the Middle East?  There aren’t too many trees over there, you know; it’s mostly desert.  And how could he fit all the animals on the ark?  There are millions of species in existence, and no boat could ever be big enough to hold them all and still survive a flood.  The story of Noah’s ark just doesn’t hold water. 
“Did you know there are over three-hundred other flood legends from cultures all across the globe?  Who is to say the legend recorded in the Bible is the right one?  Isn’t that kind of arrogant?  What if one of the other flood legends were the real one and the Bible copied from it?  Some historians say the Bible copied things from other religions.  Back then, it was a common practice to borrow ideas and customs from neighboring cultures.  It was a battle of the gods, I guess you could say.  Besides, there is no evidence of a worldwide flood anyway.  In the Bible, it was just a story about God not liking how people were acting, so He destroyed them. 
“Class, when you base your beliefs on some book supposedly written thousands of years ago, you have to sacrifice logic and reason for it to make sense; otherwise the entire basis for your faith is called into question.  Why not choose science?  It will never contradict itself!”
— Jeff Duncan, in The Deception, pp. 119-121

I am not very skilled at writing reviews, having done so few of them. So I will do what I have done before and just get to it. But I loathe the review system at Amazon, since people with an agenda attack books, reviews and reviewers, even though they did not read the book! Amazon needs to pay attention to what's going on there, as their review system has become a joke. So, I'm putting my review right here.

Anyway, I must disclose two things: This book was obtained through a free Kindle promotion at Amazon (also available in paperback), and also, the author is one of my Facebook friends. Neither of these factors will change what I have to say, and author Steven Wright would expect no less of me.
Review and recommendation of a novel about a college professor dealing with creation science and realizing where the truth actually lies.
It is surprising to learn that this is the first novel by Wright (no relation to the comedian, I don't think). Let me start with some comments about the storytelling itself.

The Deception
 is not boring, and not difficult. It flows. I read it in one day.

One thing that I detest is a story that is predictable, especially for negative events. The suspense in those builds twice for me, once for the actual story suspense, and once for the disappointment that I was right.

Ain’t happenin’ here, Zeke. There were several times that I thought I had Mr. Wright’s plot lines all figured out, and I was pleased to be wrong. Except in one area, to be discussed later.

The characters had personality and were believable, including the cat, Samson. In fact, the main character, Jeff Duncan, was likable, then I didn't like him so much as the story progressed — he had flaws, and had to work on them. In addition, they made occasional wisecracks, which helped move the story along. We also see anger, frustration and sadness — some of these things hit too close to home, reminding me of people in my wife’s and my own experiences.

I’ll admit there were times that I was thinking, “What in the world are you doing, Steven?”, because I thought there was excessive drama and padding. Nope. I was selling the author short. Those things that provoked me to think, “Get on with it!” were there for a reason, but some reasons were not clear until later in the book.

I would like to call this kind of story “creation science fiction”, because it’s a novel that deals with creation science. Don’t expect to be preached at or think that part of the book is an essay from a creationist organization. While creation science is foundational to the plot, the human elements are prominent.

The excerpt at the top shows some of what creationists have to deal with constantly: Prejudicial conjecture and bigotry. Jeff was offering opinions based on ignorance that he obtained from anti-creationist Web sites that are heavily biased with materialistic presuppositions. The questions (actually, excuses to cling to disbelief) have answers for honest people who care to look for them. Jeff did not want answers. Instead, he wanted to please his boss and went ahead with uninformed arbitrary assertions.

The issue of academic freedom and student indoctrination is discussed. Not only are the rights of the students actively trampled, but the rights of teachers as well. And don't try to tell me that this doesn't happen.

When I said that there was one thing that was predictable, it was that Jeff Duncan would learn the truth about creation science. The book contains a section with an overview of creationism that would serve as a starting point for someone who wishes to investigate further (see the "Creation Links" tab at the top of this Weblog for further investigation).

The Deception is a Christian book, there is no mistaking it. You will have some direct gospel presentation, miracles, unnerving dreams and visions, Christian conversation, conversion and more. Even though I am a biblical creationist Christian, I do not like the content to be overbearing and distract from the content. I did not feel that way here.

Most of the problems that were brought up in the story were resolved, so there's none of that, "But what about...?" frustration.

EDIT: This may seem reminiscent of God's Not Dead, but that book and movie came out after The Deception.

I recommend The Deception to Christians and non-Christians alike. Are you planning a sequel, Mr. Wright? If you want to have a character as an obstreperous creationist, I have someone to suggest...