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By J. D. Williamson on 02-18-09
The premise of honest evaluation of traditional Christianity with the collective knowledge of our time interested me enough to buy this book. I listened with an open mind but the book descended rather quickly into the very blind acceptance of values and assumptions for which the book accuses Christianity of doing. If there was an astonishing discovery I missed it.
There was a lot of promotion of the school of thought that Jesus never existed and the Christian Bible is a collection of recycled myths from other cultures. This could help listeners understand the details of these theories but these arguments are certainly not new. The book says most people don't know about these alternative views because the church has repressed the truth, but many Biblical scholars might say they haven't gained traction in the spiritual market of ideas due to their own lack of merit. The Secret Of The Universe in the book was delivered wrapped in a bunch of spiritual babble and by then end of the book the main characters were making weepy speeches and sounding like they could be members of Oprah's team of spiritual advisors.
Those who embrace more traditional Christian views may have issues with some aspects of the book such as profanity, pre-marital sex by the main characters not seen as inconsistent with their Christian faith, a long-term extra-marital affair portrayed as God's provision of intimacy, an ongoing lesbian relationship approved by the husband because he is glad his wife was able to find another person who could love her as much as he does.
There are discussions in the book about many topics of interest that those who embrace, study, or disagree with Christianity will find helpful and thought provoking. Both sides of controversial ideas are presented for balance, but the balance definitely is not 50/50.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
By James on 03-21-09
Bridge from Faith to Reason
Having read few fiction works on the subject, I found the story a good format to illustrate the formation of life views. Contrary to the foreign reviews posted, Gibsons portrayal of suburban American Christianity very accurate. While the globe enjoys free thought, America has interwoven conservative political thought with Christian dogma. What one review considers the arguments as old hat, it would be rare to find someone in American Christianity with such knowledge. What? Yes, I am saying American Christianity is as shallow as the tabloids we feast on. It is this demographic I believe Gibson wishes to engage.
Readers familiar with Spong, Doherty, and Price will find the material introductory. However, the meat of the story depicts the thought journey of two men, one of which investigates Christian origins and dogma. Gibson shows how life details develop beliefs. I found this interesting.
Works by authors Dan Barker and Tom Loftus focus on the problematic issues of Christian dogma, Gibson takes the reader to the middle ground, where very different views play out in the characters minds. Here I find "A Secret" a bridge between faith and reason.
I would recomend downloading "A Secret" discussion guide from his web site to reference the names of works/authors mentioned in the book.
A good read, hope the book does well.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful