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Jun 25, 2011 12:08PM
It wasn't a boring novel. And, being a religiously minded person, I could relate to some of the prejudices depicted from the religious characters in the novel. The author definitely seemed to be having fun exploiting such prejudices, and, blowing them up in away that any proud atheist would greatly relish in. But, since I AM a religiously minded person, I found the ending depressing. You see the author beating up on your faith, making those LIKE you look insane, selfish, stupid, and, down-right evil, and, then, basically saying, "your life is a lie and you are wasting your time believing in a personal God." However, he DOES show the existence of SOME kind of after-life with a ghostly existence for dead Native Americans and hell for self-centered Christian preachers who jump to conclusions and think they need to take matters into their own hands to help God out.
What was valuable about the novel, is that it tells you NOT to jump to conclusions. The most powerful part of the novel, I felt, was the scene where the preacher falsely accuses the Indian of stealing. There is no love toward the Indian from that preacher, and, I felt deeply for that Indian as he lashed out. It was a very sad and important part of the novel. Kind of like a warning to all of us to NOT jump to conclusions until we know all the facts, or, we end up hurting greatly the one who is innocent.
Jun 01, 2012 01:20PM
I didn't feel like this book was an attack against Christianity. It was more like an attack against zealotry. Religion is something that touches us deep inside. Almost nothing gets us agitated like religion does. Like Kara mentioned, many historical atrocities were committed by fools. Those fools were often led by powerful religious leaders. Prescott could easily have presented the murderous mob as Muslim extremists and gotten the same effect. I agree that Christians do get a bad rap often, but this book isn't about the evils of Christianity. It's about power and how people use it. Pastor Eddie wielded fear and righteous fury. Hazelius took people who were lost in the world and turned them into disciples for his new religion. The politicians had the army and the press. All these forces collided and it turned into a bloodbath.
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Sep 05, 2011 12:30PM
I found the end depressing, too -- not what I was expecting. What I liked about the book was the way it expanded from a story about one group of people to include all kinds of issues about religion, politics, history, and human fallibility. I felt the author drew from so many aspects of life and history that it became almost an epic novel for me.
I think your point about not jumping to conclusions before knowing the facts is a good one. That's probably been the cause of a lot of the craziness in the world today.
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Sep 06, 2011 02:41PM
I found the religious aspects to be common and tired. Devout Christians once again come off as evil villains, appearing not only as mindless, incendiary, easily-led sheep, but as a violently murderous mob. Only scientists and Navajos come off as even slightly reasonable or intelligent in this book. There are mindless fools who blindly let themselves be led into horrible acts of atrocity, as history has proven, but I resent Christians always being ham-handedly painted with that brush. Belief in Christ is not synonymous with stupidity. This book merely proves that science has as much difficulty grasping true spirituality as the average zealot has understanding quantum physics. And I'm not religious!
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