I have had many a discussion with people about William Young’s book The Shack. Many liked the book and were profoundly affected by it. I reviewed it and while I found the book enjoyable and moving, I said that there was a danger in the book at how we view God and the Trinity. People reminded me that the book was a novel and that it did not speak to doctrine, which I understand. But often sub-consciously, we can take a novel and think it is real teaching. In my review I mentioned that people had said that The Shack had ‘sorted out the Trinity for them.’ That worries me.
Then I saw a recent letter in the New York Times Book Review Section. It illustrated my point exactly. A portion of the letter says:
Thank you to Maureen Dowd for her honest review of “The lost Symbol.” [Dan Brown’s new novel]. The only thing lost in this book was a reason to read it. I too waited patiently for its release because I so enjoyed “The Da-Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.” I can’t describe the thrill I felt when I viewed the Last Supper in Milan just after completing the chapter describing its meaning…. .
Do you see the problem here? I can’t describe the thrill I felt when I viewed the Last Supper in Milan just after completing the chapter describing its meaning …. .To think that Dan Brown’s novel is a serious source for describing the meaning of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper is silly. Do not misunderstand me – I know that many novelists research their books and have ‘real’ information in them. But to say that your understanding of something is based on a novel is somewhat ludicrous.
Is it not a sign of our times that people now regard novels as being a serious source of accurate, and real information to the point of relying solely on the information in the novel and not even researching it more broadly with other sources?