David Bentley Hart is one those theological minds that I have hesitated to dive into deeply.
It is not as though he is not erudite (which he is), nor that he is not polemical in the most insightful way (which he also is). It is because he is so well knowledgeable and so marvelously incisive that I think it almost impossible to explain the penetrating power of his intellect to the average evangelical lay person. Why waste all of the effort? Let the academics have at him, and leave the rest of us mere mortals alone. But alas, Hart’s latest book is extremely difficult to ignore. So this is fair warning that this blog post will sound quite dense and geeky. Here we go….
An Eastern Orthodox theologian, currently teaching at Notre Dame, after having picked up a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Virginia, along the way, David Bentley Hart is probably best known for his devastating critique of the New Atheism, of Dawkins, Harris, Bennett, and Hitchens, in his Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies.
Long time Veracity readers will know that I greatly benefit from the pithy, enjoyable, and learned blogs posts by Reformed charismatic pastor, Andrew Wilson, of Kings Church of London, England, at the Think blog. Just about anything Andrew writes about, I try to read. He is that good. Andrew got his blogging start working his way through Hart’s Atheist Delusions back in 2011, which offers an excellent summary of the high points of Hart’s argument (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, plus a follow up essay, #10). Andrew’s blogs are a good place to start to get a taste of what David Bentley Hart is like.
But while Hart has served as a masterful champion of demolishing the New Atheism, in service to the greater Christian tradition, Hart has also applied his rhetorical, polemical skills against fellow Christian thinkers he finds to be petty and annoying. He can be over the top in some respects, but his criticisms deserve thoughtful responses. For example, he dismisses the greater classic evangelical Reformed tradition, embodied most broadly by the folks at The Gospel Coalition, as hopelessly fundamentalist, who are most likely guilty as “moral cretins.” That is a bit harsh, but for some on the far side of hyper-Reformed thinking, Hart may not be too far off.
Hart’s bristling does not end there. I am convinced that David Bentley Hart utterly despises N.T. Wright. While Wright, a British Anglican, who is perhaps the most well known New Testament scholar living today, may have captivated an entire generation of millennials, in seminaries, over the past twenty years, Hart will have none of Wright’s “idiosyncratic” style of New Testament translation methodology. Along with other critics, Hart believes that N.T. Wright’s enthusiastic embrace of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul” has led Wright down the path of injecting a false dichotomy into Paul’s doctrine of justification, a core doctrine in New Testament thought. Sample just this biting, scathing sentence from Hart’s rejoinder to an earlier critique by Wright, regarding one another’s work in doing New Testament Bible translation:
Regarding, for example, [Wright’s] insistence on rendering “dikaiosyne” by the cumbersome phrase “covenant righteousness” (a special hobby-horse of Wright’s, which he takes out for a gallop around the paddock whenever he can), I would be only one among legions in pointing out that this arbitrarily isolates a single dimension of a term [within] a far larger range of possible meaning in the text.
Wright’s translation of the New Testament could hardly be any more different from D. B. Hart’s version of the same (which is why the committee approach to how the English Standard Version, the New International Version, and the Christian Standard Bible were able to produce such excellent work, inviting millions of Christians to feast on their presentations of God’s Word, is far superior than any translation done by a solitary scholar…. but I digress).
Nevertheless, it is Hart’s latest volume That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell and Universalism that has caused the greatest amount of controversy. Here, Hart has moved away from the very center of Christian tradition, causing shockwaves among today’s theological intelligentsia.
Hart’s thesis here is built on the speculative work of the 4th century Cappadocian, early church father, Gregory of Nyssa, who advocated for a type of Christian universalism, that the doctrine of hell actually serves a more redemptive purpose, suggesting that, in the end, all humans will be saved. Unlike popular forms of universalism, that blithely claim that all humans bypass hell, Hart channels Gregory of Nyssa to say that, yes, there is indeed a hell, but its purpose is more like that of purgatory, a process after death whereby all sin is to be purged from every human, thereby ultimately resulting in everyone’s final reconciliation with God.
Now, before anyone gets too suspicious about Gregory of Nyssa, it should be noted that Gregory of Nyssa was mostly known for other teachings, that most Christians take for granted today. For example, among the early church fathers, Gregory of Nyssa was singularly outspoken in his belief that Christianity and the practice of slavery were incompatible with one another, in an age when slavery was an established norm in Greco-Roman society. Gregory of Nyssa was also one of the greatest champions of the doctrine of the Trinity. But when it came to universalism, Gregory of Nyssa speculated on certain ideas that later writers, such as David Bentley Hart, have taken and run with.
Contrary to a type of “hopeful universalism” of the 20th century Swiss theological, Karl Barth, that maintains that God’s ultimate purpose of saving “everyone” be held out as a theological possibility, with a number of caveats, David Bentley Hart takes a bolder approach. As St. Louis University theologian, and historical scholar of universalism, Michael McClymond, put it, Hart’s latest work casts aside the tentativeness of a “hopeful universalism” in favor of assertiveness. To think that God “might” save everyone in the end, as a type of optimism, while at the same time soberly recognizing an utterly just and final punishment of a hell, that can not be ignored, is something too weak for Hart to counsel.
Alas, defenders of Hart believe that Hart continues to be greatly misunderstood. Yet McGill University’s Douglas Farrow believes he understands Hart all too well, laying out his concerns in the pages of First Things, a (mostly) Roman Catholic think-tank journal:
David Bentley Hart, familiar to readers of these pages as an intellectual pugilist who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, has entered the ring for the Big Fight. Armed with his recent translation of the New Testament, he is ready to prove that no one suffers eternal damnation. Almost the entire Western tradition, backed by much of the East, is in the other corner. In his corner are fellow followers of Origen, the evangelical universalists, and a motley crew of sparring partners from the gyms where he has trained. As he approaches the ring, he strikes a Luther-like pose. Of course he wants nothing whatever to do with Luther, or any other product of the Augustinian stable. But he will stand where he must stand; he can do no other. The Church has backed the wrong man. She is about to be taught a lesson.
The man in question is Augustine, the bête noire of universalists everywhere. He wears the black trunks. Hart is in the white trunks, standing in for Gregory of Nyssa, the man the Church ought to have backed and didn’t…..
Other theologians have taken notice, and have weighed in. Peter Leithart, a featured blogger at First Things, wrote a partial review of That All Shall Be Saved, that Hart considered to be at least faithful to critiquing what Hart actually wrote. Nevertheless, Hart still found Leithart’s critique to be wholly lacking. Leithart, in return, offers a rejoinder to Hart’s response. Fellow Eastern Orthodox theologian, John Mark Reynolds, wishes to disown Hart from Eastern Orthodoxy. Others, acknowledging the puzzling depth of Hart’s thought, like Nicholas Frankovich, at the National Review, watches the sparks fly. Quirky-evangelical contrarian and blogger, Andrew Perriman, is intrigued by Hart’s argument, though not entirely convinced. The debate goes on. If you like spirited dialogue among academic theologians, it does not get any more exciting than this.
Pastor Andrew Wilson, mentioned above, who has greatly appreciated Hart’s previous works, regrettably describes Hart’s latest book as “Trump with a thesaurus.”
It is as though David Bentley Hart completely slept through the controversy a few years ago, surrounding former megachurch pastor Rob Bell, when he wrote Love Wins. In Love Wins, Bell hinted at but never came out and explicitly endorsed universalism, as much as Hart does in That All Shall Be Saved. But Bell pretty much had to quit his megachurch pastor job in Michigan, to take up his surfboard in Southern California, and occasionally traveling across country for various book tours. Preaching universalism in an evangelical church can not pay the bills, for any pastor. Evangelical pastors who flirt too much with universalism should consider a new career. Hart admits that he is not a pastor, which makes me wonder how in the world anyone could ever preach his message, in any evangelical church, and survive past a single sermon!
The once brilliant theologian Hart has now gone rogue, reframing a theological argument that got the early church father Origen, for all practical purposes, branded as a heretic, at least regarding his views on the doctrine of hell. The conscious eternal torment view, embraced by a majority of Christians (though not all), through Christian history, is to be rejected by Hart, as being ultimately “unChristian.” Apparently, according to Hart, this great majority of Christian believers, across the centuries, never got the memo.
Furthermore, though viewed by many as suspect, in a less obtrusive manner, the conditional immortality, or annihilationalist, approach to hell, as offered by thinkers like John R.W. Stott and Edward Fudge, is left off the table as a viable alternative to either the traditional conscious eternal torment view, or a universalist view, for Hart. No, David Bentley Hart will have none of that. Hart has planted his flag firmly in this universalist camp. Hart is now placed in the column marked “beware.” A theologian of David Bentley Hart’s stature and intellectual talents can not be ignored. But his thesis in That All Shall Be Saved makes him highly suspect, a good example of what NOT to do, when doing theology.
What is most disturbing about Hart’s thesis is that he pretty much accepts the New Atheist complaint about the Old Testament at face value. For the New Atheist, the God of the Old Testament is capricious, unjust, and vindictive, and therefore, not morally worthy of being God. This is not an aberrant view, but rather an all-too-common criticism among learned, skeptical readers of the Bible today. A quick glance at EvilBible.com shows just how pervasive this New Atheist complaint has reached into our culture.
Consider the great flood of Noah. As much of traditional interpretation indicates, Genesis would have us to think that the vast majority of humans perished in that catastrophic event, a sign indicating that God takes judgment against human rebellion quite seriously. Ah, but observers will point out, this would presumably include small children, and mothers, pregnant with child, who were among those who drowned in the rising sea of God’s judgment. To critics, this would be genocide, with divinely sanctioned abortion built-in.
Other Christian thinkers offer nuanced responses, to this interpretive quandary, looking at the story of Noah within a broader Scriptural context (for example, consider this brilliant alternative, more theologically modest and centrist perspective, advocated by Eastern Orthodox theologian, Father Stephen De Young). But it would appear that in Hart’s estimation, the matter is more black and white. Hart rejects the historicity of the Noah story, but he does so on a basis that concedes this New Atheist critique of Christianity: An Old Testament God who inflicts such vindictive violence must be a caricature of the one true God (if there is a such a God). If God does not save everyone, then God can save no one.
But the New Atheist secularizes Hart’s argument, agreeing with Hart, and concluding that, yes, God can save no one, as such a God can not be ultimately trusted. Dawkins, Hitchens, and others, can easily respond: Why even bother with universalism? Just get rid of the whole concept of hell altogether, and the whole notion of final judgment, and be done with the whole problem…. while you are it, save yourself the trouble and deny the existence of God.
David Bentley Hart has touched a nerve, and his thesis deserves a thoughtful response. Yet Hart’s critics rightly pin him into a corner. Hart’s fellow Eastern Orthodox theological colleagues are not impressed by Hart’s theological innovations. Sure, I would love to think that in the end, even the most hardened sinner will embrace Jesus as their Savior. But to embrace such a view, as Hart has done so wholeheartedly, is sadly merely wishful thinking.
Even Douglas Farrow concludes his review of Hart thus, “Hart makes clear in conclusion that if Christianity requires belief in eternal punishment, then Christianity is false. Which prompts from this reporter an unhappy observation. If he really believes that, then the New Atheists, to whom he gave a thorough thrashing in earlier books, should demand a rematch. This time they might well win, and that by default. ”
December 29th, 2019 at 2:52 pm
Did you actually read Hart’s book and try to follow his argument or did you merely read reviewers of his work? McClymond…Farrow etc. couldn’t even enter the ring with Hart to continue your boxing analogy. Read Thomas Talbott…Robin Parry…Brad Jersak…Father Kimel…Richard Rohr…Peter Hiett…Ilari Ramelli. Etc. Etc. If you concur with John Piper and the “majority” of the evangelical community that most of humanity is going to burn in hell forever then you are worshipping a monster god. I sincerely feel sorry for you.
December 29th, 2019 at 4:55 pm
Thanks, Dave, for commenting. You are correct that I did not read the book, but rather surveyed reviewers of the book. If I gave the impression that I read the book, then that it is false impression I gave readers, and so, I stand corrected. However, I have read a number of essays that Hart has written, and listened to some interviews where Hart discusses some of the content of the book. So, I am not a stranger to Hart’s thesis.
I am not wholly familiar with Farrow, but McClymond has written one of the most comprehensive histories of universalism, that is highly regarded by a number of theologians across the spectrum. So to say that McClymond “couldn’t even enter the ring with Hart” is quite unfair, considering his scholarly record.
I have read Robin Parry on universalism, and he is quite articulate, and probably makes the best case for universalism, from a Scriptural perspective, that I have encountered. Furthermore, Parry is not as harsh as Hart is when dealing with critics. Nevertheless, I do not find Parry’s case convincing. I am reasonably familiar with Brad Jersak and Richard Rohr, but not necessarily on the universalism question. I do not really know the others you mentioned.
The way you put the argument assumes a purely binary arrangement, with the universalism of someone like Hart on one side, and a more traditional view of eternal conscious torment, held by someone like John Piper, on the other. I would contend this is an unhelpful false dichotomy, that leaves little room for a more moderating perspective. For example, there is a growing body of Christian thinkers who find that a conditional immortality view (known as “annihilationism” in some quarters), is actually the view most consistent with Scripture. I have not studied it fully, but I might suggest you consider looking at the resources available at RethinkingHell.com, to become more acquainted with this view.
Thank you for dropping by at Veracity. Clarke
LikeLiked by 1 person
January 23rd, 2020 at 1:50 pm
Hart summarizes his argument online at the New York Times:
February 15th, 2020 at 5:11 pm
[…] When A Theologian Goes Rogue: David Bentley Hart’s Universalism […]
March 10th, 2020 at 8:51 pm
Sad that D. B. Hart never mentions conditional immortality (or annihilationalism) as an alternative to universalism:
March 20th, 2020 at 11:46 am
“Sad that D.B. Hart never mentions conditional immortality…” Sadder still that you should write this trash without READING THE BOOK!
March 20th, 2020 at 12:00 pm
I am sorry that you felt that my survey of book reviews was insufficient in the coverage of the controversy surrounding his book. I have a lot of respect for David Bentley Hart, but he has published several short essays/articles summarizing the thesis of his book (which I have read, by the way), and yet I do not find his position persuasive. Yet as mentioned in my blog post, I do believe that Hart’s argument is worth serious consideration. Have you ever considered conditional immortality as a legitimate alternative?
By the way, you might find the following interview of D.B. Hart of interest, regarding the book. If you care to share your thoughts regarding what you liked about the interview, or the book specifically, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts:
April 6th, 2020 at 8:56 am
Theologian Gerald McDermott believes that Michael McClymond’s The Devil’s Redemption, a sweeping examination of the topic of universalism, throughout all of the church history, is destined to be a classic.
If McDermott is correct, then fans of D.B. Hart’s treatise on universalism, who seem bent on discrediting McClymond, might find themselves on the “wrong side of history,” as they say.
July 3rd, 2020 at 11:08 pm
An engagement with D.B. Hart’s thesis at Mere Orthodoxy:
September 14th, 2020 at 10:56 pm
Clark, your review is helpful, clear, and even charitable. Ignore the belligerent and inattentive critics of it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
September 14th, 2020 at 11:31 pm
Thank you, Drew. I appreciate the support! Thank for commenting at Veracity.
October 4th, 2020 at 8:14 pm
I agree on many fronts on critiques of Harts approach. He is smug to say the least. I’ll take Robin Perry all day over Hart. But that does nothing to undermine his theological work. Fundamentalists love fundamentalism until it comes to universal passages. You could name so many here, one being the fact that Peter said regarding Noah that Christ preached to them in hell and rescued them. Also versus such as “every knee will bow every tongue will (joyfully) confess Jesus is Lord.” You would have to believe they give their allegiance, then he throws them right back into hades. What I am tired of is people saying universalism is heresy. That is a complete lack of knowledge of the early church fathers and a denial that scripture for sure has universal language. Jesus said he holds the keys to death and hades and that he wills that all come to repentance. Fundamentalists say he is sovereign and gets his will, except for salvation.
October 4th, 2020 at 8:35 pm
Scott: Thank you for sharing on the Veracity blog. I can certainly affirm the idea that Gregory of Nyssa, George MacDonald, and Karl Barth were all Christians. But I do have a difficult time seeing how a coherent and comprehensive view of Scripture can lead someone to universalism. However, the doctrine of conditional immortality might be a biblical alternative to the traditional eternal conscious torment view of hell. I have not studied conditional immortality in-depth, so I have no conclusion on the matter, but the folks at RethinkingHell.com are making an attempt to bring about some helpful discussion here (The Four Views on Hell book, where Robin Perry is a contributor, has been on my to-be-read list for several years now!). Have you considered the possibility of conditional immortality as a more Scripturally grounded view on hell?
March 6th, 2021 at 1:50 am
This is false: the hell of which you speak was held by the Jews to be a temporary place where Abraham, Moses, etc. awaited the reopening of Heaven. Of course God wills all come to repentance. He also wills that we do not commit sin. Yet we do sin and not all repent. Christ made quite clear the fate of the damned when he lamented that wide and packed is the path to destruction, narrow is the path to salvation and few travel it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
June 1st, 2021 at 4:54 pm
Reflections on some thoughts by David Bentley Hart on Univeralism:
October 9th, 2021 at 8:19 am
Deciding who is actually “rogue” on the basis of the majority of Christian tradition does not necessarily lead one to the truth, as the following quote from this blog entry suggests – “The once brilliant theologian Hart has now gone rogue, reframing a theological argument that got the early church father Origen, for all practical purposes, branded as a heretic, at least regarding his views on the doctrine of hell. The conscious eternal torment view, embraced by a majority of Christians (though not all), through Christian history, is to be rejected by Hart, as being ultimately “unChristian.” Apparently, according to Hart, this great majority of Christian believers, across the centuries, never got the memo.” I hope you will bear with what is bound to be a lengthy explanation of why I believe the great majority of Christians in fact did not get the memo.It is based on a prophetic type in Genesis 38 and is also hinted at by the Apostle Paul in his warning to the elders in Ephesus (and by extension the rest of the church) in Acts 20:29-310.
When seen as a prophetic type, Genesis 38 predicts the failure of the church to be married to, and reproduce “righteousness”. Below in quote marks is a summary I put together while arguing on a catholic forum about this failure, and an explanation of why it is not a contradiction of what Jesus said about the “gates of Hades” not prevailing against the church –
(Begin quote) “Nearly every commentary I have read or heard has pointed out the fact that this chapter (Gen.38) is a strange insertion into the narrative about Joseph, and the events described in it don’t fit chronologically with the chapters before or after. I believe it was put where it is because it is a prophetic type. When I was a young Christian and first began to meditate on the scriptures I noticed that verse 1 connects Judah leaving his brothers with their selling off of Joseph in chapter 37. Joseph typifies Jesus as Redeemer and Savior, Judah typifies Him as Ruler. If you sell off your Redeemer, you give up your Ruler (and your right to rule in His name) at the same time. It is interesting that when Judah leaves his brothers, he takes a Gentile wife, just like Joseph did. Judah’s wife is the daughter of a man named Shua, whose name means “to cry for help or freedom from some trouble” (kind of reminds me of the man from Macedonia crying out to the Apostle Paul in Acts 16:9). Three sons are born to this couple. Er, Onan, and Shelah. Their names are interesting, as is the name of the woman that Judah gets for his eldest son as a wife. Her name is Tamar, which means “a palm tree (in the sense that a palm tree is ‘upright’).
So the Ruler (Judah) tries to marry his eldest son Er to “uprightness” and Er fails. Er means “watchful” and it could be that Er’s failure is related to his failure to be watchful in some way? How many times did Paul warn the early church to be on watch for false teachers? Could there be a connection?
Then Judah has his second son, Onan, take Tamar as wife. Onan means “strong”. Onan did not want to use his strength to raise up an heir to his brother so he wasted his seed on the ground (the earth). To me this seems prophetic of the majority of the church from Constantine on, although the roots of this trend go back to when the number of Roman converts entering the church began to grow. A preoccupation with earthly things and earthly power slowly took over.
The birth of Judah’s third son has a bit of information tied to it that makes me wonder if Shelah is really Judah’s son. Verse 5 says “He was at Chezib when she bore him.” Why is this information given? Chezib means “falsehood”. It can also have the connotation of something that fails to live up to reasonable, truthful, expectations. Could the account be hinting that Judah went to Chezib as a testimony against an unfaithful wife? Why was he in Chezib and not there with her? Was it Judah who was being false and this detail is a hint on how he would later refuse to give Tamar to his third son? If we see Judah as a type of Christ in this passage, it is hard to hold that view. Could it be Shelah who was hinted at as being “false”? I tend to think so, and there may be a clue to this in the meaning of his name. Shelah means “request”. When his first two sons died after being married to Tamar, Judah did not want to take a chance on losing his third son, so he made an excuse saying that Shelah was not full grown. Maybe Judah would have given Tamar to Shelah later on if he had lived up to his name and “requested” that Tamar (“uprightness”) be given to him? Maybe Shelah was not really Judah’s son and hence he had no desire for “uprightness”?
In this whole story, the only one able to produce offspring through Tamar is Judah himself, but this is only because Tamar changes her appearance to look like a harlot. It is a strange tale but it seems to be very significant that their union produces twins. Their births are surrounded with details that could be prophetic of Israel and the church. That is how I see it anyway. Zerah puts out his hand which is marked with a red string to denote him being the firstborn, but he draws it back in. Then Perez breaks forth unexpectedly. His name means “a breach”. After Perez was born Zerah came out. His name means “a rising of light, to shoot forth” but he was not named when he put his hand out at the first, only after he is fully born. There are parallels between the events in this account and church history here also. The church began with the Jews, and for a while there was always a great amount of debate over whether Jesus was the Messiah or not. They were not hardened into the stance they took later on. It seemed like it could go either way. While they wavered and as a whole eventually rejected Jesus as their Messiah (Zerah pulling his hand back in), the Gentiles began to get saved and I think it is safe to say that no one expected this to happen. At least not in the way it did. Once Perez is born, Zerah finally comes out and receives his name, which implies something dramatic, swift, and far reaching. To me this is suggestive of what Paul spoke of Romans 11:5 & 11:26. I know prophetic “types” are open to a lot of interpretation, but it seem that by God directing this chapter to be placed where it is in the Book of Genesis, and the names of the people involved, it practically begs to be seen as a prophetic type.
Of course, at this point, I expect to hear all about how the church cannot fail that badly, since Jesus said in Matthew 16 that “the gates of Hades cannot prevail”. A few years ago, it occurred to me that most people’s understanding of what Jesus meant by “the gates of Hades” is misguided. The catholic church uses Jesus’ statement about the gates of Hades not prevailing against the church to justify the idea that the pope and/or “the church” cannot teach error or else Jesus’ words will be contradicted. But if you look at the meaning of ‘hades’ in Greek, and then at what happened immediately prior to Peter’s confession about Jesus and his subsequent re-naming by Jesus as “rock”, it seems that “the gates of Hades” takes on a different meaning. Just prior to Jesus mentioning the “gates of Hades”, He had asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”. Judging from the disciple’s response, it is pretty clear that the people had no idea. They were “in the dark” and didn’t know who He was. “Not being able to see or know” is what the word Hades means. A-eidos, with the “a’ being a negative particle and eidos meaning “to see, and also by extension to know, or understand.” It is this deprivation of light, seeing and knowledge that gives the word “hades”its negative connotations and makes it a place of suffering. So prior to the Father revealing to Peter Who Jesus really was, both Jesus’ identity as Messiah, and one important aspect of the person of Messiah, were both locked up in obscurity and the realm of the unknown, i.e. “Hades”. Once Peter opened his mouth and said “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”, and Jesus validated this as a revelation from God the Father, both of these “unknowns” officially came out of the realm of “Hades” into the light, and according to Jesus’ words, they would never be “unknown” or in “hades” again. So as long as these two facts are being proclaimed by the church, the gates of Hades will not have prevailed.
The mention of a “rock” in this passage also brings to mind Daniel’s vision of “the rock hewn without hands that became a great mountain filling the earth”, The fact that the rock was hewn out without hands is similar to Jesus telling Peter that flesh and blood (men’s hands) had not revealed Jesus’ identity to him, but God the Father. And the mention of a great mountain in Daniel has a parallel also, since the events of Matthew 16 took place at Cesaerea Phillipi where there was a whole mountainside full of “niches”, which, along with the idols that were placed inside of them, were all cut out and made by the work of men’s hands. (end quote)
November 20th, 2021 at 11:34 pm
DBH on the Apostle Paul’s Gospel:
April 26th, 2022 at 9:42 pm
Michael Bird on David Bentley Hart:
July 8th, 2022 at 9:25 pm
[…] It seems that certain people can’t wait to line up and take a shot at David Bentley Hart. […]
February 12th, 2023 at 11:40 pm
Still thinking through this awkward review of Hart’s book:
May 11th, 2023 at 5:12 pm
Count me among those who have read DBH and who believe that his view is incontrovertible (assuming that we believe that a God who is Love created the universe from nothing). But that’s neither here nor there. What I really want to point out is that the widespread Christian belief in eternal torment for [some undetermined number of people] has been fantastically effective in convincing millions of people that they want nothing to do with Christianity. So those who are interested in growing the Faith might want to read DBH and Fr. Aidan Kimel and others and be open to the possibility that Christianity took a very wrong turn when it committed itself to the idea of eternal torment.