This book is a bit of departure from my usual reading material. I first saw this book during one of my favorite activities: wandering aimlessly around Target. The full title of this book is actually Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. I was intrigued, and here’s a little bit about me to tell you why. I’ve been a Christian since I was about 15 years old. For quite awhile I was incredibly active with my faith and my church and really excited about it. As I got older, though, some things changed and I had a few bad experience with so-called Christian people, and churches, and even my college. I went to a Christian college that was, to this day, the most inaccessible, elitist, snobby group of people I have ever encountered in my life. I also began to question a lot of the doctrines being perpetuated by people of the church, and those questions have remained pretty much to this day. I think one of my biggest questions has always been: why do Christian people often seem so hateful when the God I know has always been about grace and acceptance? So for a long time, I drifted away from the church and Christianity. The whole time, though, my issues seemed to be with people, not God, and I found myself returning again and again to reading my Bible and praying to God. These things I have always loved and found comfort in. Which brings us to this book.
Love Wins is divided into sections, beginning with Heaven, moving on to Hell, and examining all the scripture that relates to these particular topics. Bell takes particular care to examine the prevalent notion that if you are not saved by Jesus and find your way into the ‘in’ group, then you are doomed to spend all of eternity in Hell. This is something that he says, and backs up with a lot of Bible passages, is simply not true. According to him, this is an especially terrible thing to perpetuate since we, as Christians, want to spread the love of God, but if someone doesn’t accept it, then we tell them sorry, you’re out of luck. Who would want to be a part of a faith that promotes such a cruel, fickle leader? Bell goes much more into detail about God’s love for everyone, not just the ‘in’ crowd, and even spends a good deal of time examining how those people who misuse their faith by bragging and excluding may not be as well off as they think.
There is much, much more in this book and I really enjoyed and appreciated much of what Bell had to say about this topic. I feel like this is especially relevant today, with people like the Westboro Church protesting everything under the sun and the vehement protest of Christians against gay marriage and gay rights. The God that I know does not promote such hate and the people who do so in his name are abusing their faith and are not true representatives of God. This book won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something that looks at God’s love, and inclusion of everyone in that love, then I highly recommend this book.