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Feedback came fast and furious. While many were delighted to find their own long-standing beliefs affirmed, others argued that Vosper's voice would be the death knell of Christianity. A sampling of the affirmation and the condemnation follows.

    "This is not a book for someone who's "comfortable" with their traditional understanding of church, God, Jesus and Christianity. Don't bother reading it - you'll just get angry.
    For those of us who are NOT "comfortable" with the traditional understandings of these things this is an amazing book. For those of us who are still active in church it is challenging, even to those who might consider themselves liberal or progressive (as I do).
    Vosper builds on the work of recent scholars and theologians such as Spong, Borg, Crossan, and Geering, to boldly state not only what most liberal Christians believe/doubt (God is not a being, there is no heaven or hell, the Bible is not inerrant - it has good, bad and ugly bits, Jesus was not God, Jesus was not a blood sacrifice to wash away sin, etc...) but to challenge us to envision what a "faith" could look like once it jettisons all the "unnecessary" dogmatic and institutional baggage we've accumulated on our 2,000 year journey.
    Some of this "baggage" is as comforting as Linus' "security blanket" and will be just as hard for some people to live without! Can we no longer pray and expect God to respond? Can we no longer expect to go to heaven and see our dog Fluffy and all our loved ones? Can we no longer assume that we are the "one true" religion? Isn't Jesus the saviour of the world??
    Vosper's great insight, in my opinion, which is perhaps not original to her, but she expounds the principle well, is that things like love, relationship, compassion, justice, and community have intrinsic value of their own - they don't need divine sanction to have worth. A group of humanists, working to provide better access to government services for a disadvantaged group is doing sacred work according to Vosper. God IS compassion, not some gray-bearded man in the sky.
    Vosper goes way beyond where I thought progressive Christianity could go in my lifetime, but that's what separates the prophets from the rest of us.
    This book is recommended for anyone who still holds out hope for the human community and our ability to work together "faithfully" holding to shared respect for common values such as dignity, justice and integrity. When the Christian church becomes such a community the "heaven on earth" world envisioned by Jesus will be a step closer to reality." D.S. (Other reviews on Chapters' website can be read here.)

    "I would have preferred a rating of 6 or 10 stars, but the Amazon system sets a maximum of only 5.
This book, and Barrie Wilson's book "How Jesus became Christian: St. Paul, the Early Church and the Jesus Cover-up" should become the two most important religious books of the decade.
    Recently, some Atheist, Agnostic, and other authors in the U.S. have gone beyond the traditional concept concept of God and have attempted to demolish Christianity through the use of hate and sarcasm. These two Canadian authors have taken a positive path that may lead to the advancement of Christianity in a new form.
    Ms. Vosper shows how traditional Christianity's main function is to provide a pacifier for its members in order to give them a sense of security in a frightening world. She shows how scientific knowledge has sprinted forward over recent centuries while theology continues to be confined and immobilized within ancient structures. This way leads to irrelevance and continued decline. Vosper provides an exciting progressive alternative.
    If you can afford to buy only one book this year, choose this one!" B.R. (Other reviews on Amazon's website can be read here.)

    "I was wondering what your inspiration is to stay within the Christian sphere of dialogue? Your book puts you, as you say, on the "fringes" of Christianity. Your analysis of the (im)possibility orthodoxy is an oft-repeated by-the-book postermodernist approach. Which, in the words of Chesterton makes you "a woman of your times". My question is why use the words "Christian" and "Church" at all? The most obvious, but cynical answer, is that it is for the same reasons that they use "Gucci" to peddle wares on the side streets of Bangkok." J.

    "What authority do you possess to "redefine" salvation? What are your God-given credentials? But of course since you reject "Big Godism" you would deny that you have divine credentials. But if you lack divine credentials then what authority do you possess other than human opinion?
    And finally, if you don't believe historic, classical Christian teachings, THEN WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LEAVE CHRISTENDOM AND ADHERE TO SOMETHING ELSE OR INVENT SOMETHING NEW? What is it with people like you who seem bent on PERVERTING the classical faith as if it is yours to do with as you please? Why can't you at least respect Christianity enough to LEAVE IT ALONE if you don't happen to like it? JUST BELIEVE IN SOMETHING ELSE, then. You simply enrage me with your illogical thinking and utter contempt for those who uphold classical Christianity." A. D.

    "I greatly admire your courage in voicing what are obviously exceedingly strong convictions on your part, convictions that I believe can be the only salvation of Christian churches. I believe that your credibility has likely been verbally attacked numerous times but you clearly have the dedication, foresight and fortitude to continue in your path to rid the church of so much "theological detritus"." B.L.

    "I just want to say how wonderfully refreshing and exciting it was to read about the evolution of your ideas as a congregation led by a minister with great courage who does not require you to 'park your brains at the door'. I was raised in a Lutheran church and later attended an Anglican church until I could no longer listen to, or mouth the words that were no longer true for me. Instead, I connected with and came to trust the words and message of people like Sam Keen and Harold Kushner and the wonderful re- telling of the story of Adam and Eve by Rachel Remen. Having come to a place where I am comfortable with what I believe and know as well as what I don't know, I have often wished that there was a church like yours in Victoria where we live. Now I dare to hope that one day there will be churches like Westhill United everywhere....what a great Easter story!!" E.C.

    "I understand why the newspaper article portrays you as so non-traditional. A minister who has no Standard is vulnerable. No Standard allows you to minister. I'm afraid for you. Your leadership makes you even more accountable than me." D.T.

    "What kind self proclaimed Minister preaches anything about being without God? Some would argue that you are no more than an anti Christ in sheep’s clothing. Today this world needs Christ (God) more than ever. How can in good conscience tell people that you can live a religious let alone Christian life without God? I would love to know What Bible you preach from. Let me guess "Satan’s". You my friend are more in need of Christ than anyone I know. You are not a God. You will never be as popular as Christ no matter how many freakie books you write. There will be a day when "Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess". You know the rest.  Written in love, T."

    "The United church is the punchline to a rather bad joke, and though they certainly didn't need your help to further their position of irrelevence, your ridiculous book and your anti-christian philosophy will no doubt do wonders to cement the United Church's standing amongst true believer's as nothing more then a bunch of people that want to feel religeous without the burden of actually having to stand for anything moral or right. You can deny the power and existance of Jesus all you want, but you alone will have to answer for that denial when you meet your maker. For the sake of your everlasting soul, and the souls of the unfortunate people that find some kind of sick comfort in the drivel that you preach, I hope you realize the error of your way's before it's too late." C.

    "Gretta is a gift. I have just finished reading the book - savouring it, phoning friends to talk about it & recommend it. I seldom reread books but this one is an exception. Thank you." J.A.

    "Since you do not believe in the "Father,Son and Holy Ghost" just who the hell do you pray to? Maybe just to whom it may concern? Or has prayer also become too passe? A few stories, hymns and oh yes those charming metaphors aside, I can't for the life of me figure out why you hang around a church. Could it be that while you would like to start your own church, it is easier to align yourself with an existing church with a ready made pulpit and then deconstruct it. HOWEVER, we are on to you and frankly your power trip won't will fail. Maybe you should reconsider starting your own church. You would be far more comfortable at say a community center, a camp fire, a group therapy session or maybe a 'LUV" fest somewhere. I know I would be." K.M.

 

    "For the last year I have been working on a book, but I think you beat me to it (and probably more eloquently.) I come from a very fundamentalist family, but have been reading all the new atheism books that have come out recently like "god is not Great","The God Delusion", "The End of Faith" and a bunch more. I started a blog (anonymously I might add, as I am still in the closet) because I feel complelled to bring these two sides of my life together. On the one hand I have attended church all my life, and it is the center of my life socially. On the other hand I am now convinced more than ever that it simply cannot be true. But having lived in the church all my life I can't bear to leave, nor would I want to. So I feel incredibly torn." (Discretion prevents us from putting even this individual's initials on the site.)

 

    "You have the great gift to easily put into words, what us mere mortals can only vaguely feel. You have the courage to use that gift to voice your insights and we love and respect you for that." H.F.

 

    "We at ReligiousTolerance.org have selected your new book "With or Without God" to be our recommended book for August." B.R.

 

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