The Haunted Mansion: Basic Christianity for Modern People
Donald R. Tveter
Christianity Non Ficton
Donald R. Tveter, First Edition 2016
25th of October 2016
The Haunted Mansion will create diverse reactions from those who read it. Like any good book I was nodding in agreement, scratching my head bewildered, and occasionally shaking it in disagreement. I do have queries over his usage of words like 'proof' and inference that some elements of traditional theology has to be reinterpreted, to suit the blockworld understanding of time. I am sure the author would contend that, creation, flood, and the Tower of Babel is better understood with the interpretation he now places on it, regardless of the scientific validity of the blockworld.
That being said, this book is a great read. I found the first section on the blockworld a little more difficult to read, partly because my training is in the human sciences and theology. Nevertheless, he argues a compelling case for special relativity, or the blockworld universe, and it deserves serious consideration. In many senses the practical implications of this would be to focus on the now, as opposed to the past or future. This book might be read in conjunction with, Present Perfect by Gregory Boyd, who maintains that now is the only existence and as such Christianity requires moment by moment discipleship.
His interpretation of creation, flood, and Tower of Babel will raise some eyebrows in conservative evangelical circles but this may be no bad thing, as they may be forced to give a better biblical defense of their position, or seek to adjust it. This section alone may be worth the purchase price, just to have some people shaking their heads and then opening their bibles to examine the evidence. Yet the author in chapters seven and eight is very clear that a reinterpretation of these narratives does not call into question the central dogma's of the Christian faith.
The final section outlining the uniqueness, rationale consistency, and appeal of Christianity is comprehensive and compelling. He manages to condense this section and cover, world religions, atheism, humanism, and certain elements of the new age movements without losing too much detail and becoming too simplistic. I would be surprised if you accepted everything in this book and I for one would enjoy a good debate on the relationship between science and theology. Yet, I enjoyed how he attempted to make the complex much more readable, and theology much more engaging.
It is a well-constructed and thoughtful book. It possesses a natural flow, and yet challenges the reader at various stages to stop, and reflect on firmly held assumptions. The Christian will find it a great discussion starter if read by a group, and yet it continues to embrace the core dogma’s of the evangelical church which will bring comfort to many. I find myself disagreeing with elements of it but in a book of this type that is not to be unexpected. Nevertheless, I have no hesitation in providing it with a five star, partially because it challenged my previously held assumptions, and yet, still left me feeling encouraged about my passionately held Christian beliefs.