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The Second Coming: A Love Story – Scott Pinsker

15 Jan

SecomTwo men claim to be the Second Coming of Christ. Each claims the other is Satan in disguise. But only one is telling the truth.

In The Second Coming: A Love Story, the devilish new novel by Scott Pinsker, the culture war between Red America and Blue America turns shockingly real when two self-declared saviors appear on earth. The first “messiah” attracts legions of liberal and secular-progressive followers with his message of New Age brotherhood, quickly becoming the darling of the left. The second “messiah” preaches fire-and-brimstone traditional Christianity, gaining a grassroots army of conservative worshippers ready to battle to the death.

It’s finally happened: Red America and Blue America are headed for Armageddon!

I was intrigued by the blurb of this book, there is something that intrigues me about Biblical interpretations and the study of the concept(s) of God and when that is mixed with politics it makes for some very volatile arguments and fascinating reading.

Naturally America is the setting for the Second Coming, with its polarised and well publicised leanings of both the political and the religious sort.  With such subjects on offer, I didn’t have a clear idea about how the story would be structured or if I would miss some of the points due to my Anglo nature.

I needn’t have worried on either score, it’s very much a book where the plot is threaded through a series of set piece scenes, which are the platform for discourses of theological and social arguments.  A lot of which will be familiar to anybody who has had thoughts on the subject for any length of time..  That is not to say there is nothing new in the book, putting age-old arguments into a modern-day context meant I did pick up some new thought paths and other reflections.

The crucial element of the book is that both “messiahs” are written to be believable, in fact I found each of the arguments very convincing and makes you consider the choice of words more closely.  The author keeps a neutral tone throughout, adding even more uncertainty to who is telling the truth.  It is fun to see how both players communicate in the 21st century as well as the Biblically named characters and their occupations which raise a smile.  There is enough satire in here to break up the well written arguments and stop the book becoming too much like an essay.

I don’t imagine that this is a book for all Christians as there is a fair amount of swearing – which is something prevalent in the modern world so adds that element of realism – and some of the book is downright sacrilegious as well but there is enough thought-provoking material contained herein to perhaps forgive the odd transgression should anybody be offended.

I did find that the odd piece of evidence didn’t quite stand up to my scrutiny but then again that is part of the enjoyment of a book like this, to weigh up the arguments and expand your thinking, even if you have no Christian leanings whatsoever the philosophy of the ideas is still going to intrigue you. I also found the switching to the war in heaven bits a little distracting but that is a minor complaint for a book which invites the reader to think, to be critical of what is in front of him or her and that is how it should be.

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28 Comments

Posted by on 15/01/2015 in Fiction, Philosophy

 

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28 responses to “The Second Coming: A Love Story – Scott Pinsker

  1. shadowoperator

    15/01/2015 at 22:03

    Sounds good! Once again, you fail to disappoint. By that I mean, someone who covers so many different types of books, fiction and otherwise, would ordinarily be likely to disappoint once in a while. But you don’t! Keep reading–it’s good for all of us.

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    • Ste J

      16/01/2015 at 19:09

      I’m just glanced over the pile of books I need to review and they are a varied bunch so I will keep you guessing with which genre I will tackle next. I try to pick a different genre each time, or at least sub genre if I choose to break my own rules like some sort of crazy maverick. I haven’t read a lot of book that cover Christianity to in any great depth, by which I mean solely based on faith although the +1000 page A History of Christianity is looking good right now. It really is impressive how many great writers are out there, I just wish I had the time to read even more than usual.

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  2. renxkyoko

    16/01/2015 at 01:35

    Even without reading the book, I’m sure I’d be on the side of the Blue Messiah. have you seen these so-called Christians’ ” flags” with a cross and a swastika together…. Christian Brotherhood…. No, thank you.

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    • Ste J

      16/01/2015 at 19:16

      I think the problem with these fringe groups is that they focus on a certain aspect of the faith and it can become increasingly bizarre. A swastika/cross is one of the more bizarre amalgamations, interestingly these groups take inspiration from Tolstoy’s essays.

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  3. Jilanne Hoffmann

    16/01/2015 at 06:54

    Sounds interesting, but not quite my cup of tea. Thank goodness, since so many other blogging friends are recommending books that I might like hand over fist these days. 😀 Sigh of relief.

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    • Ste J

      16/01/2015 at 19:00

      Haha, yes it is a challenge for the purse strings with all the good books around, I’ll have to up my game for the next review it seems.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. readinpleasure

    16/01/2015 at 15:51

    Certainly an intriguing and innovative book I dare say. I was misled by the tittle, expecting a love story in the actual sense. But then from what you have excellently described, a love story between two warring factions or concepts. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      16/01/2015 at 19:26

      Yes the title is intriguing and more subtle than you’d imagine. I think you would like this book, it has certainly left me with much to muse on from the points raised and I think it is a book I will go back to again when I fancy a religious debate.

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  5. Aquileana

    16/01/2015 at 18:16

    Stunning review… I particularly find intriguing and appealing that there are two sides here, which therefore define a sort of culture of war between Red America and Blue America
    Furthermore, The spreading message of those secular-progressive which would supposedly lead to the New Age brotherhood…
    The main ideas of the plot reminded me of those eastern societies’ religions… Two sides of the same system of belief of ideas (I.e Religion and or Ideology). Worth noting that a subtle difference of approaches can entrain a sea of tears (and blood?)
    Thanks for sharing, dear Ste… Sending you all my best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

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    • Ste J

      16/01/2015 at 19:20

      I always think of the Church of England Vs Roman Catholic troubles that have blighted these isles, there was a time in our past when each successive head of state would change to the other religion and it went on for years. So much blood and heartache has been spilled in the name of religion but then one thinks is i9t done for religious purpose? The answer is pretty much universally no. It is a fascinating topic and this book covers many of the thoughts I am sure you are having right now!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Aquileana

        16/01/2015 at 19:38

        Well my thoughts are actually recent ones… I wonder If you have seen the last cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine released after the slaughters in Paris…
        Well it says: ” Everything is Forgiven! and the guy is Prophet Mohammed, depicting Islamism… As far as I am concerned the cover is again polemic.
        I think that the magazine is still disregarding faith somehow through the argument of Freedom of Speech …
        A western citizen would say that the cover is not provocative ar all … And that there is not even an attempt of being provocative either…. But for a muslim (not a Jihadist, just a moderate muslim… well it might be taken as injurious or offensive!~As if Islam has something to be forgiven for… I think this is relative because just a group of terrorists used the argument of Faith to kill those cartoonists…
        We catholics are lucky not to have radical people among us… Well at least not those type of radical people who kill others in the name of God…
        But History is a complex thing as you said… We have gone through racism in many other ways and not so many years ago… I am thinking in the Holocaust and those 6,000,000 jews killed by then!~
        Not so much to be proud of, I guess…
        Best wishes Ste, Aquileana ⭐

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        • Ste J

          16/01/2015 at 22:25

          There is a lack of perception, people do not seem to be able to put themselves into somebody elses shoes. I think the news is so emotive that it doesn’t give people a choice any more and sadly less critical thinkers are being encouraged to think in a certain way, a lot like those fundamentalists who are targeted for being vulnerable. There are power plays everywhere these days, everybody seem to have an agenda. we need to learn from the past, be less corrupt and more open to scrutiny and debate.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Aquileana

            16/01/2015 at 22:30

            I certainly agree with you and finnd that being more open would probably lead us al to a better place… Common backgrounds based in basic ideas such us Peace and Mankind are priorities to keep in mid I guess!.. And then… well perhaps after that, we would be able to argue in more rational terms and therefore to “agree to disagree”!.
            Happy Weekend, dearest Ste ⭐ Aquileana 😀

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  6. Christy Birmingham

    17/01/2015 at 00:42

    The theological arguments would probably intrigue me and I have a feeling I would be reading and talking back to the book as I do sometimes in movies…

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    • Ste J

      18/01/2015 at 21:50

      Haha, I do the same thing, I think I annoy people. I do tend to watch a lot alone for that reason.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  7. Sherri

    17/01/2015 at 15:04

    This books sounds like a fascinating read to me. As you know, I lived in America for 20 years. When we left in 2003, George W was still riding high, very much with the Christian right riding on his heels and all that John Wayne talk – ‘We’ll get ’em, dead or alive’ – but the kids were in for a shock when they started school and everyone, the teachers included, despised old ‘W’. How the world has changed so much even since then. I have grown deeply troubled by the stand of the religious right (I can’t even call it Christian any more as it seems so hard and unforgiving) but when I lived there I was deeply distrustful of the liberal left. I would love to read this book in light of all this and see how these two sides are depicted in line with their religious beliefs and the way they view life. The red and the blue. I’m grabbed already by your excellent review, thanks Ste.

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    • Ste J

      19/01/2015 at 18:28

      I always love a rhyme in a comment! I find all aspects of governments deeply troubling these days, to the point of saying which lunatic do I vote to put in power. Disliking George W is up there with disliking The Sun and the Daily Mail these days, but the whole concept of religion and politics mingling is where the real problems lie but hasn’t that always been the case?

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Sherri

        20/01/2015 at 10:55

        Ha…yes, which lunatic indeed? You’re right, it seems nothing much has changed…

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  8. Tom Gething

    18/01/2015 at 18:28

    It sounds like an interesting premise. I would expect it to be a satire of religion, but from your description, maybe not.

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    • Ste J

      19/01/2015 at 18:30

      Their is some satire about religion as well, not so much the teaching of it as the understanding, most though is aimed the way of society and politics.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. Letizia

    18/01/2015 at 19:04

    What a unique book, from the cover to the subject matter!

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    • Ste J

      19/01/2015 at 18:13

      It is a book that will cause all sorts of conversations and that’s always a good thing.

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  10. writersideup

    22/01/2015 at 02:34

    It sounds like a fresh take on this type subject matter, Ste J, and I’d think it’s very interesting, but I know it’s one I’d never pick up. I tend to gloss right over books that tend to be blasphemous and since I’m very anchored in my faith, it would only feel like a waste of time, at least for me. Very glad to know about it, though, so thanks for that 🙂

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    • Ste J

      26/01/2015 at 11:05

      It is very faith based, there are a lot of good arguments in there and it will make you think, if you can skip over the language and the sacrilegious bits then I think you would definitely get something out of it.

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  11. LuAnn

    22/01/2015 at 14:10

    Although I probably hear fragments of this story in the news or in social settings, I am intrigued and will definitely be reading it. Thanks Ste J. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      26/01/2015 at 10:57

      I think the talk of religion is definitely topical after recent events in France, it does make for a fascinating read whatever your beliefs and will certainly get you thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. RoSy

    19/02/2015 at 02:21

    Sounds like what’s going on all over the world, Frightening.

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    • Ste J

      19/02/2015 at 09:17

      There is certainly a lot of horrors out there in the world today, it does make one wonder exactly who are the sane ones.

      Liked by 1 person

       

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