Neil Gaiman – American Gods
This was a challenging book. Ultimately, I'm glad I read it. I ended up thinking of things either I'd never though about before, or in a new way.
The basic idea of the book is that gods (with a little 'g') live among us. They are sustained by our worship (and the time we give them). So, if a god is no longer worshiped, they will eventually die and be forgotten by humanity. The novel envisions a coming battle between old gods who were worshipped (like Thor or Zeus) and new gods who are worshipped (like the media, or transportation, or the internet).
I kept thinking of verses in the Bible that talked about 'gods'. Things like "You shall have no other gods before me. " or "I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods" . So I did a little research. I couldn't find any words from God (with a big 'G') in the Old Testament where God said there were no other gods. All I could find were instructions that the worship or creation other gods were not compatible with our worship and obedience to Jehovah God. However, in the New Testament, Paul says "So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." [1 Cor 8:4-5] (As an aside, my preacher Mike Cope did a sermon on this passage. You can listen here .)
God is not mentioned in this book (although Jesus is, briefly). The book is definitely not written from a religious perspective. But I did find myself thinking about what it means to 'worship' a god or God. These days, people don't worship the internet or their TV. They do, however, give these things a lot of their time. Does the offering of time and attention constitute worship? If so, these new 'gods' are alive and well in our society.
I'm glad I read this book because it challenged me to think about God and worship in a way I haven't before. 8/10.