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A Good Book for Questioning Fundamentalists
on May 23, 2010
I was raised to believe this: That every word of the Bible is the inerrant word of God, that there is a heaven for believers and an eternal hell for non-believers, that I should fear Satan and worship God, that God demands to be worshiped, and that God loves me so much that he will opt not to torture me for eternity if, and only if, I hold the proper kind of faith in the proper interpretation of the perfect Bible. My church leaders always had the answer to every question that one could ever ask.
If you were raised similarly and you have been wondering about, looking for, or finding, your way out of a know-it-all Christian sect of smug certainty, then you will find great encouragement from this book. Time and again, I have read a passage from the book and exclaimed, "that is just what I said twenty (or thirty or forty) years ago! I am not the only one!"
Pearson obviously knows well the smug hell of blind fundamentalist belief in which many of us were raised. He knows well one of the paths out of that hell. If you are interested in his story of his path, this book is for you.
However, if you were never raised in that kind of religious culture, this book will likely seem rather shallow and obvious. After all, Bishop Pearson does not claim to know all about Catholicism, the liberal or liturgical churches, Zen, Buddhism, or many other paths.
And, if you still happily live in the belief that true believers go to heaven and nonbelievers go to eternal torture, you may find this book obscene or blasphemous. To really value this book, you must already wonder for yourself how a God who is Love could create a powerful Satan and an eternal Hell. As Pearson might say, every sane and loving parent loves better than that.