Wednesday, February 23, 2011

CSFF: The God Hater, Day 3

The God Hater

**Warning: There are SPOILERS in this post**

It’s the final day of the blog tour featuring The God Hater by Bill Myers. Since the book came with discussion questions at the end, I wanted to tackle a couple of those today. I’m not following the numbering as in the book, just keeping them separated clearly here.

1. In his preface, Bill says that allegories are slippery and can never fully capture the truth of a situation. What truths does the story successfully capture? What truths slip away?

The story certainly captured the need of our world for a savior. Our fallen nature didn’t allow us simply to follow the law as God gave us in the Old Testament. So Jesus offered his life on the cross for our salvation. In the same way, the artificial people in Travis’ world aren’t able to simply follow the law of Programmer, especially after the introduction of the virus. They also need a savior, a role which Nicholas must ultimately fill.

Which brings us to one point where this particular allegory breaks down. In the book, the savior is a digital “copy” of Nicholas who eventually develops his own patterns of thought and action, separate from those of real-world Nicholas because ultimately he is another being. Obviously that is not the case with Jesus, the Son of God who is one with the Father, and both human and Divine. When Jesus came to Earth, there wasn’t a different Jesus in heaven watching the life of Earth-Jesus unfold. I’m not going to go too deep into the theology of it all but I could see in this particular story it would have been difficult to hit closer to the mark.

2. With that in mind, what area of The God Hater helped you more fully appreciate an aspect of the original story?

When digital Nicholas is on the Grid, wracked with unbearable pain, he lives through each and every digital person’s sins over and over again. It’s something that I guess I had never really considered that closely before, though on some level I knew it. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and He knows each and every one of them. How likely am I to continue doing something I know is wrong if I imagine the agony that it caused Jesus? That was a great addition to the book.

3. What emotional force drives Mackenzie to make many of his decisions in the story?

That is a good question. I think there are many – sometimes conflicting – emotions that shape Nicholas’ decisions, but the one that stood out to me the most was guilt. He obviously feels tremendous guilt over what happened to his son, and though I may be reading too much into his character, I definitely get the impression that guilt is what makes him turn on God. He can’t forgive himself for what happened, even if it was just an accident, and so convinces himself that God isn’t real and those who believe in Him are not only wrong, but also stupid. Additionally, it’s obvious that the love he still feels for his son plus the guilt over his death ultimately lead him to the decision to help Travis. Alpha 11 is modeled on his son, and he just can’t bear to let him be destroyed.

There are more questions in the back of the book, and indeed many more points that could be discussed about the story, but I think I’ll leave it there. A great book on so many levels, and one I would highly recommend.

Don’t forget to visit the rest of the tour:

Noah Arsenault - Red Bissell - Thomas Clayton Booher - Keanan Brand - Kathy Brasby - Rachel Briard - Beckie Burnham - Morgan L. Busse - Carol Bruce Collett - Valerie Comer - Karri Compton - CSFF Blog Tour - April Erwin - Amber French - Andrea Graham - Tori Greene - Katie Hart - Ryan Heart - Joleen Howell - Bruce Hennigan - Becky Jesse - Cris Jesse - Becca Johnson - Jason Joyner - Carol Keen - Emily LaVigne - Shannon McDermott - Matt Mikalatos - Rebecca LuElla Miller - Mirtika MollyBuuklvr81 - John W. Otte - Sarah Sawyer - Chawna Schroeder - Andrea Schultz - Tammy Shelnut - Kathleen Smith - James Somers - Donna Swanson - Jessica Thomas - Steve Trower - Fred Warren - Dona Watson - Nicole White - Dave Wilson

Disclaimer: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea, to answer some of those questions. I love it!

    I think you're right about the guilt. And I just got how important that line is where e-Nicholas says that they wanted freedom, but when they got it, then they blamed Programmer for not restricting the freedom of others. Or maybe that's something Rebecca said to real Nicholas.

    Anyway, that's what Nicholas was doing in essence. He was blaming God for giving him the freedom to do something that killed his son.

    Good thoughts, Tori.