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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston

I'm a fan of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I think I've read everything they've written together and individually. I always look for their next book and order it before it's even out. Blasphemy is Douglas Preston's latest novel and I really looked forward to reading it.

I couldn't put it down. It's another good read. But, as a Christian, I was concerned that it seemed to only portray Christians as looney tunes or sickeningly corrupt. Of course, I know that there are lots of people who call themselves Christians who are corrupt or crazy. But not all of us.

I sat down and wrote an email to Douglas Preston about my concerns. He actually emailed me back and I was glad to know my concerns were important to him. Here is a copy of his email and my reply.

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for your thoughtful email. I appreciate you taking the time to write it. I would like to respectfully suggest that you may have misunderstood the novel. Blasphemy is not an anti-Christian novel at all, nor is it anti-Protestant. On the contrary, it is pro-Faith and pro-Christian. Allow me to quote from a recent review of the novel:

It’s refreshing to see a mainstream novel from a bestselling author make the hypocritical Christians the enemy rather than the whole of Christianity, as some of Preston’s peers have in recent years. The message of the novel actually is a pro-faith one – and yet a pro-science one as well – while railing against those so-called Christians who act not as they’d have others do unto them.

The hero of the novel, Wyman Ford, is in fact a devout Catholic. At the end of the novel, he doesn't "buy" into Hazelius's fraud. His conclusion is that God works in extremely mysterious ways, and that even this fraudulent religion is somehow part of God's plan. The novel is not anti-Christian or anti-Protestant. it is anti-hypocritical-Christian, anti-certitude. It is against those Christians who are involving themselves in politics (ignoring Jesus's commandment "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's".) It is against Christians who are intolerant, unloving, unforgiving, and condemnatory, who advocate prosperity Christianity (again in direct contradiction to Jesus's teachings), who take from the poor to feed their megachurches, and who say that anyone who doesn't believe exactly what they believe is going to hell. Pat Robertson has a personal fortune of close to a billion dollars, amassed in part from donations from thousands of middle-class and working-class people. Is this Christian? The greed and desire for power displayed by so many of these televangelists flies directly in the face of Jesus's teachings. They are the false prophets of our age.

Unfortunately, despite what you say, there are many Christians like this. You hear them every day on the television and read them in the newspapers. They are the Dobson's, the Falwells, the Robertsons, the Ralph Reeds of this world, and all their followers. They are the blasphemers, because they claim to know the Mind of God with certitude, and will condemn anyone who has a different view. As George Bernard Shaw once said, "There are scores of thousands of human insects who are ready at a moment's notice to reveal the Will of God on every possible subject." To claim to know the Mind of God with certitude is blasphemy.

I am a Christian. But I am deeply disturbed by what is happening in Christianity today. That is the message of Blasphemy, and it is a pro-God, pro-faith message.
Again, I appreciate you taking the time to write, and I hope I have helped clarify the real message of BLASPHEMY.



Dear Mr. Preston,
I can't believe you read my email and personally responded! Thank you so much! I do agree with you about the greed and power in organized church, but it's not everyone. As long as you are aware of that. Well, OTOH, it is everyone because we are all humans who can fall into sin before you know it just like Pastor Eddy. But we aren't all crazy and ready to ride to Arizona with scriptures pinned to our shirts and willing to start shooting! LOL! I happen to love the movie, The Apostle, because it shows a man struggling with his sin, wrestling with himself but he never turns from God. He turns to God for help with his sinful nature. He is a sinner saved by grace and not by his own good works, high intellect, money, or power. He suffers the consequences of his sin. This is a true Christian. King David, in his psalms, struggled with his own sin and the consequences of his sin but he does it in the arms of God not pushing away from God.

It relieves my heart that you are a Christian yourself and are writing from the inside. The greatest blessing I can pray for someone else is that they know Jesus Christ as their Savior and have an on-going, personal relationship with God and to know His Word. It's the closest humans will come to having a good life and being a good person. But, it doesn't insure perfection. It relieves my mind that you are saved and I will continue to read your novels and look forward to the next ones!

God bless, Sharon

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