Love Wins

I finally got around to reading this, after it caused a stir last year. There is not much to say about it.

Rob Bell begins his book with some legitimate questions and legitimate observations. Then he spirals off into chapter after chapter of the evangelical trademark: voluminous, ambiguous, equivocal, saccharine, platitudinous prose.

There is nothing in this book. There are some questions to the effect of “how could God be like that?” followed by some weak rationalizations about how “he can’t be like that, he’s God! God couldn’t be like that!” (I agree, Rob) and then a bunch of stories about how the Matrix (sorry, Jesus) is all around you; when you go to church, when you take a drink of water, and so on. Right here, right now. Jesus. It’s a mystery. The magic of it all. Jesus is so much more than some simple doctrines. You can’t explain it. Can’t deny it. Jesus.

You cannot argue with a book like this, because it contains no arguments. It is something you read because you’re already a Christian, and it will make you feel a bit better about what you are already into. It has no value to anyone who has stepped, even briefly, outside of the paradigm. What can we do about this problematic doctrine of hell? I guess we can cast some doubt on whether the Bible really, truly means that there is a hell, like the church has always tended to view hell. Then we can talk about how good God is, because God is by definition “good,” and a hell-God doesn’t seem good to me, so it wouldn’t make sense if God were this other kind of God.

A great deal of circularity plagues that line of thought.

The fact that you can write a book like this and have it widely published is a testament to the low standards of the Christian bubble. You can be “Christian famous” just for thinking in complete sentences and having the discipline to put together a manuscript. Fortunately, there are lousy reviews of this book floating all around modern Christendom, many of them defending traditional notions, which will eventually force theological jellyfish like Bell to poo or get off the potty.

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