Dorie - Cats&Books :) Yes,yes yes. I posed this same question a long while back. I didn't read this book because it sounded just like The Sparrow, which was so well done and such a novel idea that I didn't think anything could beat it!
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)[OH! Thank you for making that connection for me. Yes, I think both stories are working on the same idea. Here's a quote from Kenneth C. Russell which describes this theme: "Therefore, beyond a certain point, the light of God is experienced as darkness; the fullness of divine reality as "No-Thing" as all. One one level, those in darkness stand closer to atheists than to their fellow Christians. They share with these naysayers a sense of the void, of God as absence." (hide spoiler)]