Insurrection by Peter Rollins [Featured Review – Vol. 4, #25.5]

December 10, 2011


“Friend, Enemy or Frenemy?”

A Review of
To Believe is Human, To Doubt, Divine

By Peter Rollins

Review by Maria Drews.


Insurrection - Peter RollinsInsurrection:
To Believe is Human, To Doubt, Divine

By Peter Rollins.
Paperback: Howard Books, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

In a book that often reads more like poetry than systematic theology, Peter Rollins takes us on a journey through crucifixion into resurrection in search of true faith, burning down the church as he goes. Insurrection: To Believe is Human, To Doubt, Divine, Rollins’ fourth book after How (Not) to Speak of God, The Fidelity of Betrayal, and The Orthodox Heretic, once again seeks truth in the paradox, finding faith by letting it be crucified.

Rollins combines religion, philosophy, theology, and psychology to deconstruct faith and find new life in what is left. A life stripped of games and self-deception, of convenient plot devices and a promise of purpose. And a life of love born anew in the midst of the pain and anxiety of our true human condition. Rollins opens each chapter with a simple parable, twisting the conclusion to capture a profound truth, and employs metaphors spanning church history to cartoons in order to make the abstract vivid. Even if you vehemently disagree with the ‘pyro-theology’ Rollins constructs, and there is a good chance you just might, Insurrection is a thrilling read.

“…the question for us today is whether or not religion is necessary in order to participate fully in the life testified to by Christ” (xiv).

Rollins begins with Dietrich Bonheoffer, for whom ‘religion’ is the way we approach God as the solution to problems of fear, ignorance, or despair. In Insurrection, Rollins aims to deconstruct this religion, removing all that is not vital to Christianity and looking at what is left. Is there a faith beyond this religion? Can we burn off the structures of religion and find what remains, a reality of God that cannot be burnt away?

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