The Bottom Line: Should be read by anyone with questions about the nature of God or questions about the state of the world today.
I'm 20 years old-technically not a teenager, but I'm still locked in the teenage state of mind. You know, the state of mind that is dreaming of a perfect world, where all things evil, whatever they may be to the individual, have been vanquished to a far-off place. To boot, about a year ago I began to question the Christian faith that had played such a big role in my life for the past 13 years. Ultimately, I wound up renouncing Christianity, but I haven't quite decided what faith I want to follow yet. Which is why I'm glad that this book landed on my lap.
In his song Imagine, John Lennon dreamed of a world in which people followed one religion. I have a feeling that the religion in that world would be the one hinted at in Conversations with God for Teens-just one giant belief in God. No Chosen People, no Divine Savior, no Seal of the Prophets.
Conversations with God for Teens has been my comforting book in my contemplative state, not because of the direction it's been leading me in, but because of the direction it hasn't been leading me in. Instead of supporting a single faith, telling us why that faith is right and all the other ones are wrong, it just asks questions about the general nature of God and answers them in a very sensible manner. In the end, you are the one who decides what to believe.
In Conversations with God for Teens, God is portrayed as the loving creator that everyone is raised to believe He is. The questions that the word conversations refers to in the title are real questions asked by real teenagers from around the world, and any adult who reads this book will see that teenagers these days actually do have more on their minds than getting drunk, high and laid. The author, Neale Donald Walsch, says he believes that God communicates with us in various ways, and that one of those ways for him was filling his head with such sensible answers, you'll believe that he does actually communicate with God.
The questions themselves are on a wide variety of subjects that range from school to the way the world is to God Himself. For many questions, the author wasn't content with giving us just one answer, so he often creates conversation pieces after answering the general question in which he basically dumbs down the answers for the people who didn't understand the original explanation.
As for the answers, I've already said that they portray God as the loving, forgiving, eternal being that everyone on the planet believes He is. But instead of being in control of everything, we are lead to believe that God stepped back, letting us create the state of the world today, creating our own religions (Meaning that there is no one true religion) and our own codes of ethics. We are lead to believe that we are granted control of everything, from the world to our own destinies, and what we make of ourselves is just that-what we make of ourselves. We are told how we can become The Changers, by seeing the mistakes of the past and not repeating them. We are also told at one point tht there is no "right" or "wrong", and that for certain situations, there is only "what works" and "what doesn't work".
As for the Divine Being Himself, we are told about how He listens to and answers our prayers, by doing things like making our hearts beat slightly faster. And we are also told that nothing has done more to separate people from God and from themselves than organised religion. To make things work between people of different faiths, we need to remember: We are all one. Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way. God also says, in response to one question, that nobody made Him. He is life itself.
Just one thing troubles me: Is Conversations with God for Teens really the divinely inspired word of the Creator or just the idealistic rambling of a delusional guru? Again, the answers are very sensible and sound like they could come from God. But it isn't like the author got the answers talking to a burning bush. I guess it doesn't matter. God says He wouldn't dream of making anyone give up their religion if it makes them happy. Makes you wonder, though.
Conversations with God for Teens is a great book for anyone to read. If you already believe in God, it will only enhance your beliefs. If you don't believe in God, it is still a very uplifting and inspiring read.
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About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston (BaronSamedi3)
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial. Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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"Why can't I just have sex with everybody?" "Why do you let children get abused sexually and physically?" "Why can't we live forever?" Curious teens ask God a list of compelling questions, and author Neale Donald Walsch supplies answers from God's point of view. For the sensible inquiry, "Why can't I just have sex with everybody?" God responds, "Nothing you do will ever be okay with everybody. 'Everybody' is a large word. The real question is can you have sex and have it be okay with you?" Other salient queries from the teens include, "Why do people suffer?" "Why wasn't everybody born smart?" "Why can't my parents stay in love and stay married?" "How do you decide who gets to be famous and who gets to live regular lives?" The very famous Alanis Morrisette offers a foreword, vastly increasing the volume's hipness factor with many teens. Walsch also compiled a CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD series for adults in the same vein.