chapter  5
Falling Far Short: Taking Sin Seriously
Pages 18

The landscape of contemporary religious belief is often a puzzling vista to contemplate, and one of the more baffling features of modernity is the relatively rapid dissolution of the doctrine of sin. As David Lodge remarks in his novel How Far Can You Go? (D. Lodge, 1980), it seems as though hell disappeared in the 1960s, and that nobody noticed.1 And if there is no hell, then there is nothing – such as sin – that can really take us there. Hell, therefore, becomes an abstract concept; something to gaze on and ponder in literature and art, perhaps puzzle over in primitive religion, but only to ultimately rejoice in our deliverance from such a manipulative and fear-inducing theological construction of reality.