Monday, March 23, 2009

10 Things I Hate About Christianity by Jason T. Berggren (review)

10 Things I Hate About Christianity by Jason T. Berggren
Copyright 2009
XMedia - Nonfiction/Spirituality
236 pages
Author's Website

Prayer . . . turns my heart toward God. It helps me focus less on myself. And it puts me in a place to be touched, guided and comforted.

God isn't out of the office or out of touch. He's there waiting. Sometimes we need to just be "on hold" for a while.

The Bible's old. Sometimes old stuff makes my eyes roll. Like when the old-timer starts to reminisce and offer wisdom: "Back in my day . . . " And he proceeds to tell us young whippersnappers how they had to walk five miles to and from school--uphill both ways and wearing no shoes. Somehow things were simpler and harder all at the same time back then.

Let's be honest. Something in all of us wants to respond, "Yeah, right, give me a break, Grandpa! I love you, but I'm too cool and with-it to believe that stuff."

More accurately, it's loving I hate. I hate having to always be loving. I hate having to be loving toward people I'd much rather ignore. I hate to love like Jesus taught, modeled and prayed that we would all imitate. To truly love, I always have to be "on". I hate having to work at loving. I hate the process and practice of what Jesus laid out. I'd much rather love who I want, when I want.

I'd much rather go with the feeling called love. If I feel it, I'll do it. If I don't, I won't. That's easier. But that's emotion, not love.

If there's one thing the life of Jesus taught us, it's that love is a choice. It seems like it shouldn't be so much work, but it is. A lot of time time, we just have to muscle through it.

Love is unnatural that way.

I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I picked up this book, but I absolutely loved it and couldn't put the book down, once I got started. Jason Berggren goes into just about every complaint you've ever heard about Christianity, whether or not you're a believer in Jesus: the trouble with faith, the "fantasy" aspect of the Jesus story, how people interpret the meaning of heaven and hell (and how we end up in either), the hypocrisy of Christians, the answers we can't necessarily find in the Bible, the way some people pick and choose rules to enforce and then tell us we'll go to hell if we don't obey, how sometimes just being in the wrong church makes us feel uncomfortable. If you haven't read the sneak peek post, below, I highly recommend doing so if this book piques your interest, just to get an idea of Berggren's style.

I'm sure a lot of Christians have felt these frustrations, as have people looking in from the outside -- maybe thinking about joining a church or just observing things like the fact that folks with the fish symbol are as bad about cutting them off in traffic as anyone else or wondering why it is that those Jesus freaks use such weird expressions. He does talk about the catch words used by Christians. I loved that because there are some expressions that really bug me, which I won't even repeat in church when everyone else is using them.

I really loved the fact that this book was so reassuring. I didn't agree with absolutely everything the author had to say, but a good portion of it rang true to me and I often thought, "Yes! Exactly!"

My favorite part is the bit during which the author talks about answers and one of the questions he says we can actually answer is, "Speaking of the flood, how could all those animals fit in Noah's ark?" He says it's actually pretty easy to answer this one and goes into the math. The closing sentence: "So all the animals and supplies could feasibly (and easily) fit in the ark. Now, the smell is another subject altogether."

I love this author's sense of humor. He has a relaxed writing style and rambles a bit, but still does an excellent job of hitting a lot of salient complaints about Christianity. He has done a lot of thinking and talking, pondering and questioning and the book is filled with his thoughts. Highly recommended, whether you're a Christian or just someone who is curious about what could possibly irritate a Christian about his own religion.


  1. Oh, sounds like a good one! It's very easy to nitpick each other, eh? :)

  2. I have this on the TBR list. I am particpating in another tour so my book has not come yet. :)

  3. This sounds very interesting, Bookfool. I think I'm going to keep my eyes open for it. It really sounds like a book with a lot of meat, but spiced up to make it a not so drab and boring read. Reading the "sneak peek" is part of my reading plan for today. Thanks!

  4. This looks like a cool book. I think I need to stick with non-fiction for a while. I read that one book and tried to read The Spanish Bow, which so far is good, but I'm just not getting into it.

    I can't wait for more of your reviews.

  5. This sounds great--I love that he tackles the subject with a sense of humor, and I love books that make me say, "Yes! Exactly!"

  6. Amy,

    Way too easy. I like what he had to say, though.


    I hope you like it. I thought it was just wonderful. I'm sure there are plenty of us who've wondered whether we're alone in those same thoughts.


    Well, I never know if you'll like a book or not, so I guess I'll just wait and see. I do think it's a nice, easy read but some of the topics have a little more depth than you might expect, given his writing style.


    I'm actually trying to get away from nonfiction, right now. Sometimes switching the type of book you're reading does help. You need to read a Jill Mansell, though. I'll bet she'd help break your slump!

    Gentle Reader,

    Me, too. It's a good feeling reading something written with humor and finding out people think the same way you do, isn't it?

  7. What a great review, Nancy! I've been curious about this book for many reasons and it sounds like I might find this one useful.

  8. Thanks, Wendy!

    I think it's a really great read, kind of comforting. I'm going to pass it on to my eldest because I think a lot of those frustrations are reasons he avoids church.

  9. I'm definitely going to pick this one up!!!

  10. Amy,

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  11. I gotta admit- the title threw me for a loop!

  12. Jessica,

    Yeah, you wouldn't necessarily expect it to be *by* a Christian, would you?

  13. Thank you so much for the review. I saw the title, and was aprehensive. I hate anti- books. (Books anti and hateful toward any religion/tradition). I think I will pick this up and read it! Thank you!

  14. Michelle,

    I think he does a good job of explaining why he hates certain aspects of Christianity but still is a Christian and isn't going to let those things get in the way. So, in a way, it's a very positive book. I loved it. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. :)

  15. Sounds like a book I'd enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  16. Bookfool,

    Thanks for the review. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind copying some of this in the reviews? I really appreciate it!

    Jason Berggren

  17. Jason,

    Absolutely! Give me a few days because I'm having some computer issues (currently typing on my husband's work computer), but I loved your book and will be happy to edit a bit and post to Amazon. Thanks for dropping by! :)

  18. Sorry to put this here but I couldn't find your email. Just wanted to email you this link. I just did an interview with ABC News. They are featuring me on an upcoming weekly show called "Beliefs" which will air in a month. I am on the premiere episode. Apparently, my book got their attention (who'd a thunk it?). Anyway, they also did a behind-the-scenes preinterview. I wanted you to see it:

  19. Jason,

    How exciting! I'll dash right over to look, in a bit. Thank you! Sorry about the lack of visible email address. I used to have my addy posted to the blog, but I was getting far too many review offers (and, honestly, I'm terrible with the word, "no") so I took it down. You can find me at bookfoolery (at) yahoo (dot) com, if you desire to contact me in the future. I think your book is excellent and you're deserving of the attention.


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