Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Religion Dispatches Article on Rob Bell

I decided to reflect a bit more deeply on the conservative Evangelical backlash against Rob Bell--a backlash that strikes me as a case study in "fanaticism," at least under one way of understanding that term. The result, Rob Bell Catches Hell from Conservatives, appears in today's Religion Dispatches.


  1. Thanks for posting the link, I just responded with a "letter" there, I've copied below. I was part of that kind of religious community for a long time, which took its cues from people like Piper and Taylor, but I still find it difficult to understand that mentality. I am sure I gave mental ascent to it in some way, but I don't think I ever embraced it enough to understand it now.

    "Then you disagree with God," is a good summation of the kind of thought displayed in this backlash. It is hard for me to understand when it is coming from people who are extremely well educated and intelligent, and who are probably otherwise very reasonable and gracious individuals.

    I am intriged by what you wrote about the humility displayed by fanatics setting aside their reasoning (about the bible), and how it can cover an arrogance in thinking their beliefs cannot be challenged. That their beliefs are then one and the same as God's. I think that may go a long way to help understand what is going on. Very well done article, it has given me a lot to think about.

  2. "excommunication by tweet" that was good, Eric, I gotta steal that.... seriously, good post, thanks

  3. And the answer is....


  4. Thank you for your refreshing views. I agree that pride can cause people to (even if unconsciously) ignore things they could learn because they think that "God agrees with me."

    I feel like many religious people are afraid to consider what they feel deep down, and what they can learn from it. They are afraid that it might contradict with their specific creed, thus requiring that they admit they were "wrong."

    People need to stop worrying about that kind of thing! Real spirituality comes when we are unafraid to accept the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. This requires real humility

    Christ and God are real. They gave us the Bible not so we could be "right" in our prideful way, but so we could get to know Them. The words are mainly springboards to personal spiritual experiences and understanding, rather than pieces of a logical puzzle meant to be solved by the smartest textual criticist.

  5. Anonymous: Thanks for the link to the Boyd's essay, which has the virtue of be fair, cautious, and based on an actual reading of the book.

    Whether Bell is a "universalist" remains, however, ambiguous based on Boyd's review--precisely because, as Boyd describes it, LOVE WINS is itself ambiguous (more focused on raising questions and laying out a Christian portrait of God than about developing his own answer to those questions in the light of that portrait). The main conclusion to draw is that Bell resists labeling.