One sentiment I’ve seen expressed at several tour stops is that the allegorical elements of The God Hater will give new understanding of familiar truths. Certainly, allegory in general functions this way, but what about The God Hater?
From my perspective, this tale would be most effective in bringing fresh insight into the gospel to unbelievers rather than believers. Yet I couldn’t help wondering if someone of another faith–or no faith at all–would pick up this book. It’s a long-standing discussion among circles of Christian writers–does Christian fiction ever successfully “evangelize,” reaching beyond believers to those skeptical or even hostile to the faith, or does it only serve the Christian community? Both functions have value, but categorization and shelving often serve to pigeonhole Christian books in the religious section, where they’re less likely to find a wider audience.
As for The God Hater specifically, the compelling title serves to catch attention. However, the synopsis, with its clear description of the allegory the book contains, could provide a possible turn-off to someone disinterested in faith. Interestingly enough, this synopsis doesn’t appear anywhere on the book. Testimonials fill the back cover, rather than the standard summary of the novel. I wonder if this was a strategic choice, meant to allow the reader to enter the book without preconceived notions?
If you picked up an unfamiliar book in store, intrigued by the title or cover perhaps, would you purchase it without any back cover copy to indicate what the story was about? I’m not sure that I would, if I’d never read anything by the author before. If the endorsements were by writers whose works I enjoyed, I would consider it, but most likely, I’d put it back on the shelf and look it up online later.
So, will The God Hater find itself in the hands of those outside the Christian community? I don’t know, but if it does, it might give some food for thought.
For more discussion of The God Hater, visit the tour stops below:
Thomas Clayton Booher
Morgan L. Busse
Carol Bruce Collett
CSFF Blog Tour
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte