Controversial, challenging, and meticulously researched...equal parts thriller and cautionary tale of religious extremism and home-grown terrorism...a novel that will leave you questioning where we are going as a nation and as a planet. --James Rollins, … see full wiki
Interesting and thought-provoking, but the story is just there to prop up the message...
Dec 13, 2012
Doing a review of Crisis of Faith by Eliza Wood is a bit difficult, as my reactions to the book are all over the map based on what part I'm talking about. This is one of those book where your reaction and enjoyment are dependent on what you were reading it for...
I'll state my bias up front: I generally do not like what I call "soapbox novels". This is where the author has a very specific view on some topic, and the story is secondary to the message that they are trying to convey. Crisis of Faith falls squarely in that category. The story and plot, in my opinion, takes a *far* back seat to the information the author is presenting. I thought the characters were only there as supporting players for speeches and information, and the action and plot details don't do much more than provide a scene for the next discussion of the topic. Based on that, I would not be a fan of the book.
On the flip side, the message that's conveyed is challenging and thought-provoking. The characters are attempting to write a new version of the Bible that removes references to topics that are often used by radical sects to justify horrific actions. Sections on things like slavery, violence towards women, and war will be removed, and they will call on all secular and spiritual leaders to promote this more-enlightened version of scripture.
The plot action is weak on how and why people will embrace this, as I just don't see groups jumping on board with nothing more than a letter demanding that they do so. And, in some ways, you might see this as somewhat reminiscent of Dan Brown Da Vinci Code theories and conspiracies to manipulate the original intent over the years to support a religious power structure. But what Crisis of Faith does bring out is the tendency of people to stick with the positive Bible stories and ignore the parts that don't really mesh well with their already-held beliefs. In reality, *all* passages need to be considered and examined to come up your world view. Picking and choosing some parts and ignoring others while you profess to believe it all isn't a valid option.
Another interesting part of the message is to view how people and groups have already revised "truth" over the years. Society has changed their views on things like slavery over the years, from it being a God-given right to being outlawed. Granted, some would say that the revisions were wrong and that the truth has been strayed from. Conversely, many would argue that freedom is a God-given right. Which right prevails? Did a truth become untrue? The questions don't get easier, but they have to be asked.
Kudos to Ms. Wood for presenting an interesting topic with a number of things to think about. If I were to go into the book looking for message first, story second, it would fare better in my opinion. But since I was thinking novel first with a subtext, I wasn't quite as thrilled. Based on your mindset and willingness to be open to the topic, your mileage might well vary from mine.