Northwest University Reviews 10 Things
Hate is a strong emotion, an attention-getter, a buzzword in the political world. But is there more to hate than dislike? Jason Berggren, a punk-rocker turned pastor is stirring up controversy and conversations with his new book, “10 Things I Hate About Christianity”, an exploration of the author’s problems with the Christian faith.
A former screamer for the hardcore band Strongarm, Berggren had a faith experience in his mid-twenties and began to investigate the Christian faith. While he agreed with many of the principles, he found some tenets of the faith troublesome, even annoying. Rather than walking away from this new found faith altogether, Berggren made the decision to work through each and every one of his disagreements and tensions with Christianity in an effort to make a positive step towards a better understanding of his faith.
His book has elicited both praise and anger, especially the latter, in regards to his use of the word ‘hate’ in regards to the Christian faith. On his blog and in interviews, Berggren claims to use hatred to incite change within the church. But this hatred is not without purpose. In an interview with ABC Nightline News’ Dan Harris, he says,“I use the term [hate] in an honest, open, passionate expression. It’s a deep, angst-ridden frustration that can propel you to forward motion.” One may say that they hate eating broccoli, or hate country music, but Berggren is unafraid to say it about everything from prayer that doesn’t work to love that is conditional.
From other Christians to the Bible, especially the King James Version, Berggren spares no touchy issue in his book. Those seeking a political and religious rant will not be satisfied, but readers who seek a deeper understanding of the mysteries of the Christian faith will find a kindred soul in Berggren’s version of hatred. “If there’s any hope that the message of Jesus is gonna happen in modern day,” Berggren says,“we’ve got to be honest. I‘m not claiming to be authentic, but I’m trying.” This authenticity has won over many critics and reviewers alike, even those from outside the religious community.
Because of his stance on the Christian faith and his views of the problems within the faith, Berggren is not unfamiliar with negative reviews. While many have expressed their agreement, there are many who see “10 Things” as antagonistic or too scathing to be helpful to the religious community. However, Berggren has a different perspective. “I have worked in construction off-and-on for years. The first thing you do before you remodel is demolition. If you ever watch HGTV, you know this to be true,” Berggren says. “You tear down walls and break up old cabinets to make way for the new. That’s what this book and this website [his blog] are about. I am simply trying to change into the person I want to be and inviting you to join me in the process.”