The Polemics of Perdition: David Bentley Hart and his Critics

It’s been four months since David Bentley Hart’s That All Shall Be Saved was published, and the internet is now littered with reviews (ten available on this blog). As one might expect, the responses have varied dramatically, from the enthusiastically approbative to the churlishly deprecative. The latter have been the most fun to read. Although the nega­tive reviewers do not always agree in their evaluation of the book’s arguments, they do agree on one point: David is a rhetorically mean person. Michael McClymond was so impressed by the offensive tone of the book that he took the time (God bless him) to count up the insults: “in total the book contains no less than 118 derogatory denotations of his opponents, their theological views, their God, and their understanding of hell.” For a small 209 page book, that’s not too shabby. “One strains to think of another theological work of the past or present that so con­centrates its venom.” (Actually, I didn’t have to strain very hard to come up with far more egregious examples. St Athana­sius’ Contra Arianos imme­di­ately came to mind, as well as any number of works by Tertullian and Martin Luther.) Douglas Farrow, invoking the trope of a boxing match, writes that Hart’s arguments are interlaced with the kind of “copious trash talk normally reserved for pre-fight hype. Our pugilist all but exhausts the world’s stock of insults, leaving his critics little to work with.” The judgment of Benjamin Guyer is even more severe:

Hart believes that he is defending the logic of divine love, but if so, one suspects that the deity could have found a mouthpiece less infatuated with its own capacity for embittered vitriol. Tracking with the likes of Martin Luther and John Calvin, Hart has appointed invective his handmaiden. His defiant egotism renders his volume a tedious read.

More brutal still is reviewer Craig Truglia. One cannot accuse this blogger of pulling his ad hominem punches:

Lastly, the book is written with such vitriol it barely refrains from profan­ity. That All Shall Be Saved reads more like a series of blog posts than a book. The author comes across as a tragic figure, struggling with bipolar disorder or some sort of serious mental illness.

One may describe reading the book’s torturous 200 pages of streaming insults and schoolyard “arguments” as a form of intellectual masochism.

Whatever was really going on in Hart’s mind when he wrote the book, the character he plays is a bitter man who probably could not get along with anyone for eternity.

One who reads the book cannot help but feel sorry for its author. There is something very wrong with the man and he needs emotional support.

After surveying these and other reviews of the same ilk, one might conclude that That All Shall Be Saved is little more than a nasty diatribe. That would be a serious error. The reviewers have grossly misrepresented the nature and intent of the book’s polemic. Make no mistake. Hart’s polemic is fierce, trenchant, acerbic, impassioned—but it is directed not against individuals (though Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin each have their visits to the woodshed) but against a life-destroying distortion of the gospel. If eternal perdition is a moral and theolog­ical abomination, then it demands righteous denunciation. As Jason Micheli writes in his Christian Century review: “As much as the prophets, Hart thunders against the corrosive effects of Christianities rendered cruel through their incoherence.”

It is not my intention in this article to defend all of David’s rhetorical choices. In my small circle of theological friends, we have long bemoaned (while guiltily delighting in) his apodictic and combative style and have worried that it needlessly detracts from the substance of his thought. But, we finally concluded, David is David. To demand that he become a polite academic would effectively silence him. Like it or not, approve of it or not, David will always be a pugnacious controversialist and practitioner of the “Chicago way.”

Orthodox Christians thoroughly enjoyed David’s polemic when he took on heathen and heretics in Atheist Delusions and his articles in First Things. How wonderful, we said to each other, that we finally have on our side a brilliant thinker who can obliterate our enemies with a single twelve-letter word. Even those who found David’s rhetorical style distasteful could not but admire the depth and sophistica­tion of his metaphysical reflec­tions. Almost single-handedly he forced us to reconsider the viability of Neoplatonic philosophy as medium for theological expression. Yet with the publication of That All Shall Be Saved, it appears, in the minds of many, that he has crossed an unforgiveable, yet indiscernible, line.

Last summer I read and re-read That All Shall Be Saved in preparation for my September pre-review. When all the ad hominem reviews started coming in, I was con­fused. Had we read the same book? Was it as vicious and venomous as the reviewers were assert­ing? I did not think so. So I decided to read it yet a third time. What I found was what I found on the first reading—a passionate proclamation of the absolute love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. This love, Hart vehemently declares, is incompatible with the tradi­tional assertion of everlasting damnation. The two cannot be reconciled. How did we ever persuade our­selves they could be? A truly loving and omnipotent God would never, could never, create a world in which a portion of his beloved humanity would be eschatologically condemned to inter­minable torment. Love would never tolerate, much less intend, the actualization of such a horrific fate. Here is the moral core of That All Shall Be Saved. The God and Father of Jesus Christ is absolute goodness and wills only our good. He has freely brought us into existence, purposing in Christ our participation in the bliss and joy of his trinitarian life. But what of the damned? Can an immortal life of unrelievable misery be judged a gift? Hart thinks not:

A gift that is at once wholly irresistible and a source of unrelieved suffering on the part of its recipient is not a gift at all, even in the most tenuously analogous sense; and, speaking for myself, I cannot see how existence as such is truly a divine gift if it has been entirely severed from free and rational participation in the goodness of things. Being itself is the Good itself, no doubt. But, for creatures who exist only by finite participation in the gift of existence, only well-being is being-as-gift in a true and meaning­ful sense. (p. 20)

The above should be obvious, yet for many it is not. It’s as if the advocates of everlasting hell have never themselves experienced severe and prolonged suffering or never known anyone who found life so unbearable that suicide became their only option.

How is it that so many Christians do not see that the traditional doctrine of hell strikingly violates their foundational belief in a God who loves absolutely, infinitely, unconditionally, without qualification or reserve? David offers this provocative suggestion: in their heart of hearts, most do not believe what they believe:

I am convinced that practically no one who holds firmly to the majority tradition regarding the doctrine of hell ultimately does so for any reason other than an obstinate, if largely unconscious resolve to do so, prompted by the unshakable conviction that faith absolutely requires it. (p. 29)

Consider the example of a respected philosopher of Thomist persuasion, devoted husband and father of five children, who, as Hart puts it, “believes that he believes the dominant doctrine of hell, and can provide very forceful and seemingly cogent arguments in its defense” (p. 29). Yet does he really believe in hell? The life he actually lives suggests otherwise:

I cannot take the claims of this Catholic philosopher entirely seriously from any angle, for the simple reason that his actions so resplendently belie what he professes to believe. If he truly thought that our situation in this world were as horribly perilous as he claims, and that every mortal soul labored under the shadow of so dreadful a doom, and that the stakes were so high and the odds so poor for everyone—a mere three score and ten years to get it right if we are fortunate, and then an eternity of agony in which to rue the consequences if we get it wrong—he would never dare to bring a child into this world, let alone five children; nor would he be able to rest even for a moment, because he would be driven ceaselessly around the world in a desperate frenzy of evangelism, seeking to save as many souls from the eternal fire as possible. I think of him as a remarkably compassionate person, you see, and so his more or less sedentary and distractedly scholarly style of life to my mind speaks volumes, even libraries. If he were really absolutely convinced of the things he thinks he is convinced of, but still continued to go his merry recreant’s way along the path of happy fatherhood and professional contentment, he would have to be a moral monster. But I do not think that he is a monster. So I have to think instead that, in his heart of hearts, at a level of calm conviction so deeply hidden beneath veils of child­hood indoctrination that he is all but unaware of its existence, he keeps and treasures the certainty that in the end—in the words of Dame Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)—“All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” And I believe that at that same level he also knows that nothing can be ultimately well if the happy final state of things for any of us has been pur­chased at the cost—or even only at the risk—of anyone else’s eternal misery. (pp. 30-31)

Here David is describing a dilemma discussed in the philosophical literature on hell—the doxastic problem. How should our belief in eternal perdition impact our lives, and what does it mean if it doesn’t inform them in the ways that we would expect? The bringing of new life into the world is an event of great joy for parents. Not for a moment do we believe that we have begotten our children unto unimaginable suffering. Of course we don’t. We could not live that way. If we believed that their damnation was a genuine, perhaps likely, possibility, we would take all measures to prevent their conception (antinatalism, any­one?). Nor do our pastors warn us of the danger—quite the contrary. They encourage us to procreate and assure us that it is one of God’s great blessings. Clearly something is amiss, yet we take no notice. One reviewer, John Panteleimon Manoussakis, notes Hart’s reasoning and dismisses it with a tu quoque wave of the hand:

But he [DBH] who makes this argument is also a “Christian thinker” whose quaint routine of professional engagements remains, as far as I can tell, unaffected and undisturbed, not by the remote potential of a future pain awaiting his fellow human beings (for he doesn’t believe in it) but by the very real and actual suffering that millions of other humans undergo presently. If life for Hart himself is not disrupted by the endless suffering afflicting others in the here and now, why does he scorn others for their alleged indifference to an eternal damnation that might or (as we hope) might not happen eschatologically?

I find Manoussakis’s interpretation of the devout philosopher story curious. Not only does David not scorn the philosopher, but he attributes to him an inextinguishable hope that the man’s infernalist convictions belie. That’s not an insult but a compliment. As far as Manoussakis trying to turn the moral tables upon Hart … argumentum ad hominem tu quoque is a logical fallacy and unfair to boot.

David’s attribution of blindness and self-deception to the advocates of hell allows him to speak harshly of the infernalist teaching, without attributing moral guilt to its teachers (“Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they teach”), yet I suspect that many readers have found this tack offensive. “How dare Hart tell me that I do not believe what I believe. I affirm eternal damnation because the Father of Jesus has revealed this truth through his Scriptures and the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” In other words, they believe that rejection of apokatastasis represents infallible dogma and is therefore an essential, indisput­able element of Christian doctrine. To doubt it is to doubt the entire edifice of faith. It’s all or nothing, and we cannot bear nothing. If the Church has gotten hell wrong, how can we trust her witness to the atoning death of Christ and his defeat of death in his resurrection? Our existence as Christian believers is thus called into radical, and intoler­able, question. Hell, therefore, must be defended, even if it mischarac­terizes the Creator, introduces profound incoherence into the gospel proclama­tion, and causes incalculable personal damage. Here, I submit, lies the driving force of the ad hominem reviews of That All Shall Be Saved. The dogma of everlasting perdition, precisely as dogma, inhibits its adherents from fairly con­sidering the merits of David’s arguments. The stakes are too high. It’s far easier to attack his rhetoric and person; more strategic to discredit him right from the start. Heretics deserve neither a hearing nor our civility.

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23 Responses to The Polemics of Perdition: David Bentley Hart and his Critics

  1. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    A comment that I thought about including in the article itself but finally decided to just say something in the comments section. Readers will note that in this piece I frequently refer to DBH by his first name. This does not mean that we are best buds. We’ve only met once (over a decade ago in the bookstore at St Vladimir’s Seminary–I doubt David even remembers the occasion) and have exchanged a few emails over the past 15 years or so. But for purpose of this article, I thought it proper to refer to him by his first name, just to remind everyone that he is a real human being and our brother in Christ. I have been taken aback by the utter ad hominem meanness of some of the reviews of TASBS. It’s as if these reviewers have taken David’s polemical style (of which they disapprove) as an excuse to engage in abusive rhetoric far worse than anything found in the book.

    Liked by 4 people

    • DBH says:

      For the record, Al, I do not accept the idea that any of the language I use in the book is excessively harsh or even needlessly provocative. I do not even accept the suggestion that the book is polemical. I say this not only because none of its animadversions are aimed at any individuals, though that is true. I say it because the traditional concept of a hell of eternal torment–and of its justice–is far more depraved than I am able, with my poor skills, to express. It is only the effects of the mass hypnotism of dogmatic indoctrination and the traumas of the horrifying tales told to us as children that somehow blind us to the obvious hideousness of the teaching. If anything, my language in the book is far milder than it might have been, and probably milder than it should have been.

      Like

  2. Quote: If eternal perdition is a moral and theolog­ical abomination, then it demands righteous denunciation. As Jason Micheli writes in his Christian Century review: “As much as the prophets, Hart thunders against the corrosive effects of Christianities rendered cruel through their incoherence.”

    My point entirely in my own response to Hart’s critics, which may be found here:

    https://http4281.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/defending-david-bentley-hart/

    “Regarding “embittered vitriol,” perhaps you have never been negatively influenced by Scripture hucksters in polyesther suits as I have, but having been on the recieving end of patently dishonest theology parading itself as genius, and having suffered from it in my inability to become the kind of Christian I should (i.e. loving, gracious, and kind, as opposed to bitter, judgmental, and vindictive – i.e. American Baptist Fundamentalism, from which I have, Gratias Deo, been delivered) I find it all too easy to understand the contempt with which DBH holds certain theologians. Augustine’s wretched attempts at Bible translation are one of the causes (certainly there are others as well, including the error of Caesaropapism in the Orthodox East) of the lamentable schism between East and West and the theology of God as Merciless Condemnator rather than loving Father (i.e. the God of the West).

    In short, bad theology hurts people, and having been hurt by it, I find in DBH a kindred spirit in despizing lazy theologians and inept religious theologies posing as wisdom.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Basem says:

    Hart has to be offensive to our fallen sensibilities but before Hart was offensive, Jesus of Nazareth was way way more offensive! He spoke of good samaritans, beloved prodigals sons, hypocritical religious leaders, exalted faith of pagan peasants and soldiers, and radical forgiveness while being nailed to a Roman cross. He revealed the Heart of His Father to the dismay of the Jews; the so-called elect people! We, wretched and fallen, want and desire hell and punishment to our offenders yet the cosmic proclamation of forgiveness echoed through all generations from Calvary. Proclaimed in a moment in time yet it was only a revelation of a reality that transcend time as John the Beloved saw the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world! Ain’t our venomous embittered nature that gave birth to doctrine of eternal hell but also to all kind of blasphemous theories like ancestral sin and penal substitution atonement! We made a god in our fallen image repaying back the God of Abraham the favor! Truth of the Heart of the Father has to be offensive and scandalous. Jesus was offensive and scandalous as Isiah prophesied Him to be 700 years before His birth! Hart only re-stated the genuine message of the Gospels. We are are just too embittered to accept good news. Lord have mercy!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ben says:

    There’s no mystery here, except for the mystery that in the internet age people (even people with higher degrees) seem to be increasingly unable to read books with continuous arguments. Manoussakis made a fool of himself by proving he couldn’t follow a single one of the book’s arguments, even the simplest, and he’s a fellow who sells himself on his Facebook page as a genius (ha!). People like Farrow, McClymond, Truglia, and Guyer tell what they probably know are lies about the book’s “venomous” tone either because they found themselves unable to answer its arguments, or because they read the harsh remarks about cruel ideas as implicating them somehow, or both. A lot of it is self-accusation projected onto the man who was inconsiderate enough to torment them with arguments that make them face the real implications of their own horrible beliefs. The insane, exaggerated responses to TASBS prove to me that it pierces a lot of these reviewers in ways they can’t defend against except by misrepresentation and insult.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jedi Scribe says:

    Reblogged this on Symmetria.

    Like

  6. w.s says:

    very well stated – spot on!

    Like

  7. Grant says:

    Well I think for many of the above reviewers is that eternal torment is the heart and centre of their conception of the faith, the corner stone on which all else depends and hangs, the foundation stone. Perhaps the most depressing thing (well, besides the monstrous idea of God bring into being a universe where people suffer endlessly without relief or hope of salvation or are doomed to anhilation after a short, painful and tragic existence) is that this conviction essentially makes hell, not Christ who saves from death and hell the centre of the Christian faith, upon which all else orbits, which God bows down to and serves, helpless before it’s terrible and is inscrutable power, a best negotiating for a few to be spared (or worse, is it’s author and creates the situation in the first place, in which goodness and love are delusions and a terrifying and cruel abyss beyond comprehension is the truth of all reality, and of course Christianity which insists God is love is false). In this death and hell are the true God, the ultimate and absolute and fundamental reality of all things, on which all else depends.

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    • Ben says:

      To which a good Calvinist might reply, “Yeah. What’s the prob?”

      Like

      • Robert Fortuin says:

        Alas, it is the majority position one has to contend with. If it were only restricted to Calvinists….the negative and dismissive responses to TASBS have come from all quarters.

        Like

  8. markbasil says:

    For years now I have wanted to somehow communicate to David Hart how much I appreciate him and his writings. I belong to a quiet Orthodox Christian community, and we often discuss his works and very much appreciate him. During our “bibles and beers” meetings, we most enjoy reading from his translation of the holy scriptures; it brings such a revitalization to our shared familiarity with the writings of the New Testament.

    I once asked a beloved monk friend why in Orthodoxy there are so few voices that articulate the nonviolence inherent in the way of the cross. He told me he knew of many holy persons who held such an understanding, “but it is the nature of our nonviolence that we keep silence.”
    I suspect likewise that there are very many- perhaps I dare say ‘the best of us’- who agree that all shall be saved, in the vein of St Isaac’s inebriation with God’s love. But these are the ones who are not contentious for the truth, having tasted it.

    Still my own desire is just to thank David, and let him know that a handful of insignificant Orthodox Christians in a small town in British Columbia- and a few correspondence partners of ours around the world- really love him and his work.
    -Mark Basil

    Liked by 2 people

    • DBH says:

      Merci.

      Like

      • markbasil says:

        I am so grateful to see that my rather long shot thanks landed home.
        As I mentioned we are a small and quiet and definitely insignificant community out here on the edge of Kootenay lake, but we so enjoy what you have brought to us (in light of the next comment below, we make an effort not to make you tiresome in just these ways- which are tiresome to us too when we see so much reaction to you and your writings- and a good part of my spur to try to thank you).
        You’re nothing to us that you’re not trying to be, I dont think. But you are a very appreciated contribution to our understandings, challenging us to go deeper and more broadly, and more lovingly into our Tradition, within our contemporary modern context. I personally have enjoyed having to ‘get used to’ your voice, and now just really feel a love for you as you are, and feel more personally related somehow even for those very ‘tonal elements’ that at first ruffled me a bit. We also adore the activity of your conscience (the respect for which has a prized place within our Tradition).
        Just to say, we like you out here and very much. We consider you a beloved older brother in our communion. And we dont get too upset when you do things your own way, because you are your own person and not trying to conform anyone to your own self. You just are yourself. And you are our brother.
        This may sound a bit unclear and I dont want to muddy my thanks (it’s the challenge of trying to write this ‘in public’ that is really just meant to be expressed for you personally).
        Just to say that we really try to ‘get you’. And in that register, we really like you and thank you for what you have brought to us.

        ’nuff said, eh.
        Merci beaucoup.
        -Mark

        Liked by 1 person

  9. eandrewschenk says:

    When I actually read the book I thought that the invective was far less severe than many reviewers had made it out to be. I don’t personally find Mencken and theology to be an appropriate match ( as much as this former Baltimorean appreciates Mencken). However, most times I found that Dr. Hart was making a good point, and he was far less mean than he was made out to be, if mean is the right word.

    Hart does have an abrasive style. However, my impression is that for many who post on this
    site Hart is justified in his manner of rhetoric not just because he has the freedom to do so as a writer but because the times and topic demand it. Universal reconciliation demands a champion of this sort to cut through the fog of so many centuries of theological obfuscation. This just begs a question however. Why are we in this position to begin with? Clearing away the theological clutter only leaves us with the historical baggage which obscures the goodness of God nearly as well. This is a major difficulty , one that demands an explanation, as much as universal reconciliation demands a defense. Hart does does not offer one though. Dismissing the Latin world with one hand and crowning Gregory of Nyssa with the other does not constitute a Christian justification of history. Jabbing reviewers that they need to “become Orthodox” won’t do the trick either. That Hart admires Bulgakov and that Bulgakov is Orthodox, does not give Hart the authority to dress down any tradition that does not affirm universal reconciliation. Sure, all of us encounter serious difficulties trying to reconcile universal reconciliation with “T”radition. Its understandable that Hart rails against Calvinism or what have you. With that said, Benjamin Guyers makes a perfectly fair observation when he says that Greek and Russian Orthodox authorities have upheld eternal torment through the centuries nearly to the extent that the Western tradition has. What authority does Hart appeal to when he presents universal reconciliation as a specifically , capital O, Orthodox teaching? He appeals to no such authorities. There are none, unless you consider Bulgakov to be one. Hart makes an absolutely convincing theological argument for universal reconciliation but then he makes no effort to reconcile it with history, and specifically Orthodox history. This is necessary as he is clearly wrapping his argument in the mantle of Orthodoxy. In other words, he is not simply making a theological case. He is making a theological argument that necessarily touches upon questions of ecclesial authority. These questions require an examination of Church history. All of history, not just the platonic ideal of Church history called the 4th century. Hart has not done this, he essentially ignores the question and his reviewers know it.

    Like

    • DBH says:

      Andrew,

      Sorry, but that’s all total nonsense. You are simply misrepresenting me.

      “Dismissing the Latin world with one hand and crowning Gregory of Nyssa with the other does not constitute a Christian justification of history.”
      No doubt, But I don’t do anything of the sort. Neither say anything about universalism being an Orthodox doctrine. As for your reference to the exchange with Peter Leithart, that was a comment about adopting allegorical exegesis, not about universalism.

      “This is necessary as he is clearly wrapping his argument in the mantle of Orthodoxy.”
      No, I most definitely do nothing of the sort. I explicitly say that eternal torment is the majority teaching of all Christian traditions. The aspects of Western theology I “dismiss” are things like substitutionary atonement and inherited guilt.

      “Hart has not done this, he essentially ignores the question and his reviewers know it.”
      A complete non sequitur. Since I didn’t make the claims you attribute to me, this is irrelevant My book is a philosophical and theological argument made on its own terms. It doesn’t claim any ecclesiastical authority. That’s the point. My claim is that the whole of ecclesiastical tradition is internally incoherent except when corrected by the minority opinion. If I were interested in the issue of authority rather than the evidences of logic and scripture, as well as the internal rational coherence of doctrine, I would not bother with the argument at all.

      I do find it tiresome constantly to be told that I have said things that I most definitely have not said, especially in those cases when I have clearly stated the opposite opinion.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Jason says:

        Similar to Mark Basil above, Hart’s works have become passed around in my small circle of friends, many of whom are pastors that fall within the Charismatic-evangelical (sometimes fundamentalist) orbit. TASBS is one of the most important books I’ve ever read and for the life of me, I cannot understand negative reviews of the book that bemoan about vindictive rhetoric or what have you; to me, the book expounds upon the love of God and the love that we should all show forth for our neighbors in one of the most powerful and compelling arguments I’ve ever seen.

        It is poetic, not acerbic.

        Hart’s arguments against penal substitutionary atonement, inherited guilt, and eternal conscious torment are magnificent; his reclaiming the theologies of Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and others that are largely ignored unknown in the laymen West is monumental. Yes, Hart is an academic, his work was written to other academics and scholars, and many of the contributors to this site are academics or scholars; but I can honestly say that TASBS has immensely impacted my circle of evangelicals and has caused us to dig deeper into the writings of the patristics.

        Thank you Dr. Hart for writing with conviction what you believe to be true, despite all of the opposition; and thanks towards this site for providing a useful and engaging platform to hold these discussions.

        Like

  10. Jason says:

    Similar to Mark Basil above, Hart’s works have become passed around in my small circle of friends, many of whom are pastors that fall within the Charismatic-evangelical (sometimes fundamentalist) orbit. TASBS is one of the most important books I’ve ever read and for the life of me, I cannot understand negative reviews of the book that bemoan about vindictive rhetoric or what have you; to me, the book expounds upon the love of God and the love that we should all show forth for our neighbors in one of the most powerful and compelling arguments I’ve ever seen.

    It is poetic, not acerbic.

    Hart’s arguments against penal substitutionary atonement, inherited guilt, and eternal conscious torment are magnificent; his reclaiming the theologies of Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and others that are largely ignored unknown in the laymen West is monumental. Yes, Hart is an academic, his work was written to other academics and scholars, and many of the contributors to this site are academics or scholars; but I can honestly say that TASBS has immensely impacted my circle of evangelicals and has caused us to dig deeper into the writings of the patristics.

    Thank you Dr. Hart for writing with conviction what you believe to be true, despite all of the opposition; and thanks towards this site for providing a useful and engaging platform to hold these discussions.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. joebeach5 says:

    Amen Jason. Your thoughts and experiences are the same as mine. To me, the book was beautiful passionate poetry. A love song. And I, too, read it three times carefully and prayerfully and I, too, felt that I’d read a different book than many of its harsher critics.

    Like

    • Ben says:

      I suspect that some critics peddle the story of a harsh polemical book just to dissuade as many people reading the book as possible. Is McClymond really so dumb that he thinks there are 118 insults in the book or is he just counting up every negative statement in TASBS and pretending it’s something it isn’t ? I don’t know, but I would guess he’s just lying in a way that he can reconcile with his conscience.

      My way of fighting back is to encourage people to leave five star reviews at Amazon. It’s not much but it’s something.

      Like

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