Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: Five Sacred Crossings by Craig Hazen

Five Sacred Crossings: A Novel Approach to a Reasonable Faith (®)Five Sacred Crossings by Craig Hazen is a work of fiction with an apologetics punch. Though fictional, the story is realistic and the content compelling. This short summary is less of a review and simply more of a recommendation. Here's a quick idea of what to expect from the content and the story without spoiling the plot.

The main character is Dr. Michael Jernigan, a college professor who teaches comparative world religions. Due to his expertise in languages, he finds himself caught up in an interesting situation involving a terrorist plot to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb.” As the terrorist plot is investigated, Dr. Jernigan is also teaching at the local community college, where questions about religious extremism unfold into an exploration of the truth claims of world religions.

Although I had heard good reviews about this book, I was initially quite skeptical about whether or not one of today’s apologists could pull off a work of apologetic fiction that was both strong on content and story. I was pleasantly surprised. Five Sacred Crossings turned out to be a very enjoyable read – melding a truly exciting plot with great insights into investigating worldview claims. As the main character teaches his class, he is really teaching you – albeit indirectly – with a Socratic style. The characters are believable, even if sometimes stereotypical; but they each serve their purpose to represent a plurality of views.

This book is 168 pages long, is a very enjoyable read, and is a book anyone can read and get immersed in. The truths that are explored are extremely valuable, and it’s a great companion book for those studying comparative religions. This could serve as an excellent “gift book” for a friend or family member. It’s also a good change of pace for the apologist who typically finds him/herself on vacation with heavier reading. Five Sacred Crossings is enjoyable and highly recommended.


Inchristus said...

Agreed. The book is intriguing and does the job Craig sets out to do nicely. Highly recommended. Particularly, Hazen's apologetic approach comes out nicely when he speaks to the significance of the Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn's "Return of the Prodigal Son," (see here) painted in 1622. Hazen writes:

“A piece of art like this could never come out of Islamic circles. Not only because images like this are tactitly prohibited by many Muslims but also because this representation would be so foreign to their concept of Allah. Allah may show mercy, but it’s the kind of mercy a warrior might show someone he has beaten on the battlefield–he may choose not to slit his throat. What is depicted in The Return of the Prodigal Son is not a merciful father who spares the life of an errant child. Rather, we have a gracious father who gives unmerited favor to the wayward son he loves so deeply. ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.’ Those are the words a Muslim will never hear from Allah.”

winteryknight said...

Thanks for reviewing this Brian. Do you know what would be great? If someone decided to make a movie about a story like this showing the importance of ideas and how they have consequences.

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