Quoting anonymously from the The Shack Facebook group, discussing my post found here, someone said in response to the person who posted my article as a discussion point: “____, I read a portion of your link and after about 7 paragraphs of beating around the bush and Paul-bashing, I quit. Why? Because I loved the book and I’m not going to let anybody’s negative comments ruin my experience in reading it. Why don’t you just stop busting our chops and give up? Most people love it; some don’t. We agree to disagree. End of debate.”
Ahh, pure intellectual integrity. Haha, Paul bashing? (Paul Young of course) Right. You decide. Instead of working through the difficulty of beliefs (or rather denials) that can lead people to hell when accepted, it seems some are content to just shut you out of the conversation altogether instead of seriously and honestly engaging any kind of debate because of what the book has done for them, at least emotionally speaking. Since when did the individual become the standard-bearer and authority on what’s truth or not? They just don’t want to talk about any criticism of it, even if it’s a legitimately serious issue concerned with none other than the very Gospel itself by which one is saved.
I believe this quote above so very much captures the heart of what I don’t like about what this book is doing to so many. It is a tear-jerker of a story and I’ll be honest, I’m an emotional guy and reading through the guy losing his daughter in such a brutal manner with little closure in the story made me weep, especially in light of being a parent now. I do not negate what the story does for one’s emotions and how it is a rather enthralling, fictional tale (though I really don’t like reading fiction most of the time anyway).
But as emotional of a story it may be, that is no reason to excuse serious calls to check a writers’ Gospel doctrine as to what he is positing as truth, truth he was originally communicating to none other than his own children whom I’m sure he loves more than anything in the world. And if he is teaching them serious error and potentially leading them astray with false truth, what about the rest of those who have been so spellbound by this narrative?
As a side note, notice how this person I’m quoting holds up positivity as if it is some cardinal doctrine that if violated by anyone, especially in relation to The Shack, you are completely ignored and shut out of conversation. The other cardinal doctrine is this persons’ experience. It is supreme. If it goes against the persons’ experience, then the argument has no right to intrude and critique. So goes postmodern theology and dogma.
And this all just gets back to my point again from an earlier post, that when people say the book is just fiction, I have to stop them and ask them, is it really fictional or Young’s portrayal of what he believes to be absolutely true concerning God within a fictional narrative? The reason I ask is because it seems many are accepting Young’s underlying assumptions and presuppositions about God and how He works as truth itself. Does God need to forgive our sins? Has God clearly revealed Himself sufficiently in His own Word, or do we need to give some other, extra-Biblical portrayal to make Him more “palatable” to the sinner? These are questions Young answers in the book overtly and subtly.
As many arguments as I could make to such an individual with Scripture and reason, it is clear they just won’t even listen because they’ve decided that what is said in the book is divine, authoritative truth for them. Oh the bankruptcy of relativism. It is an impoverished system of thought to say the least that is gutting our culture morally, spiritually and emotionally. It is now entering the church at an alarming rate and it is books like this that are opening the door.