4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Bad Faith by Tom Drake-Brockman is a somewhat ambitious novel that attempts to make sense of the chasm between humanist Christianity, or Christianity through works, and faith-based Christianity. It does this by examining the teachings of Jesus and their various interpretations, ultimately arriving at the conclusion that Jesus wanted people to emulate God by doing good in the world, rather than merely believing that his sacrifice cleansed them of sin. In arguing this point, he also discusses topics like how religious institutions have treated forgiveness, the Bible's creation story, and how our modern world can be revitalized by Christian humanism.
While it uses mostly colloquial language and is fairly easy to understand, this is certainly an academic book. It's quite thought-provoking, so if you're looking for a simple, light read, you won't find it here. The book is mostly a surface-level introduction to Christian humanism, so while it is by no means exhaustive, there are many references for anyone looking to dig deeper into the topics discussed. A few individual sentences can be confusing, but the author's overall ideas and arguments are organized quite neatly, and the chapters progress logically as the book continues.
With that said, the text certainly wasn't dry. It's clear the author is quite passionate about this subject, and combined with his expertise in the field, this passion makes it easy to become invested in the concepts he describes. I'm usually not a fan of history, but I found the way he described Jesus's lifetime and teachings fascinating and easy to relate to. When writing any nonfiction book, getting readers to care about the subject as much as you do is both paramount and rather tricky, so I was quite impressed with the author's abilities in this area.
I only found one major flaw: the author is somewhat misguided about Christianity's role in improving the world. For example, he advocates against easier divorce procedures by citing statistics about children's reduced performance in single-parent families, conflating correlation with causation. However, this is a very small part of the book, and it's easy to ignore. There are also some grammatical errors, but they aren't particularly distracting, and I was provided with an editor's copy, so it's likely many of these issues have been smoothed out.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It's a great read for people interested in religious history, and if you're somewhat religious but dissatisfied with the complacency of many Christian people, I highly recommend it. However, I'd caution that it does contain some rather unorthodox interpretations of various parts of the Bible, so you'll need to keep an open mind to fully appreciate this book.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon