Faith-Promoting Rumor

Dedicated to oddments and marginalia in Mormondom and, failing that, deep doctrinal discussion

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Out of the best books...

Dear reader,

I am once again, too lazy/busy to come up with an actual topic for discussion (although I do have a couple that I am pecking at on the keyboard). That said, the discussion from my last post has gotten me thinking about the books that we read in the church.

What book have you read that has best helped you to understand the atonement?

Here are the ground rules for this discussion:
1. The scriptures are disqualified (this isn't because I don't like them (the opposite is quite true) but because it is a too easy answer).
2. Explanations are not necessary but are appreciated.
3. Books do not need to be limited to the LDS publishing market.
4. More than one entry is acceptable.

As for me, I think the best book I have ever read for helping me understand the atonement in The Brothers Karamazov (runners up include Believing Christ, The Miracle of Forgiveness, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek). I like it because it is concerned with how the atonement plays out in the real world. There are no easy answers in the book and the atonement remains hidden through much of it, but it is there throughout. For all its realism, the book is nowhere near reality, but Dostoevsky is exceptionally good at exploring the extremities of human existence which is as good a place to test the reality of the atonement as any (and better than most). It is a glorious thought experiment and a powerful testimony of the workings of Christ and his atonement, brought to us by an alcoholic, compulsive-gambling, religious fanatic. I love this book so much that I make my students read bits of it each semester. So, there is that.

What have you read?