Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book #5: The Shack

Title: The Shack
Author: William Paul Young
Genre: Religious (non?)-fiction
Pages: 248
Pages to Date: 1,922

The Good:
In a very fresh take on spirituality, The Shack tells the story of a man spending a weekend with God in the cabin where his daughter was murdered. The philosophical discussions are compelling and the story confronts many of the difficult questions facing religious faith. I would say the strongest arguments made by the story are about the love of God. Young does a fantastic job describing through vivid diction and strong analogies a very powerful depiction of boundless love. Furthermore, the challenging of preconceived visual notions, such as God the Father being depicted as a woman, keep the reader constantly re-evaluating their personal faith throughout the story.

The Bad:
The lack of obvious follow-up questions by the main character to God's explanations for various things really, really bothered me. As someone who identifies as a Christian and is studying religion for my Bachelor's degree, I believe that many of the questions raised (such as why is there a hell and what does it take for God to damn someone there) are extremely important to discuss. In The Shack, God would offer a really simple, broad answer based on an analogy to these answers and the main character would say "oh, I get it! I never thought outside the box before!"... Essentially, I believe The Shack dodges many important theological questions and leaves a lot to be desired if the reader is looking for religious answers.

A fascinating read that definitely diverges from traditional Christian literature. Overall, worth picking up and reading (it goes by fast). It did not drastically change my personal faith, nor give me any satisfying answers, but it certainly made me think about some interesting theological quandaries. At the end of the day, it is the thought-provoking nature of The Shack that makes it worth reading.

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