Kris and I sat down the other night to watch Rob Bell’s DVD called The Gods Aren’t Angry. My question: What do you think of it? Did any of you see this live and have a response?
Here are some highlights for me: first, it’s almost a history — a brief one no doubt — of the human attempt to appease the gods through sacrifice, bargaining, pleading, and manipulating. The big message is that God is satisfied with the sacrifice in Christ, a sacrifice that deconstructed all sacrifices. We can rest in the redemptive act of God in Jesus Christ. The 90 or so minute message ends with some excellent stories of how this pleading is present and can be resolved in our world.
The altar in the middle of the stage reminded me of the altars I’ve seen in Pompei and Ostia antica. I took long looks at those altars, working my imagination up to envision what it was like, but I also had to maintain distance from those who were listening to tour guides.
I saw the presentation as a kind of flip image of Yancey’s stuff on God’s grace. Instead of coming at this from the angle of God’s goodness and grace, Rob Bell comes at it from the angle of the futility of human attempts to control the forces and gods out there.
Because of my own study of atonement, I kept waiting for Rob to come forth with a theory of atonement but he didn’t, though I did hear at times a little Girard — the ending of all violence against scapegoats — and even Anselm, who famously emphasized the idea that God’s justice and honor were satisfied by the death and resurrection of Christ, the God-Man.