Title: The Last Christian
Author: David Gregory
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “A.D. 2088.
Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out. A curious message from her grandfather assigns her a surprising mission: re-introduce the Christian faith in America, no matter how insurmountable the odds.
But a larger threat looms. The world’s leading artificial intelligence industrialist has perfected a technique for downloading the human brain into a silicon form. Brain transplants have begun, and with them comes the potential of eliminating physical death altogether—but at what expense?
As Abby navigates a society grown more addicted to stimulating the body than nurturing the soul, she and Creighton Daniels, a historian troubled by his father’s unexpected death, become unwitting targets of powerful men who will stop at nothing to further their nefarious goals. Hanging in the balance—the spiritual future of all humanity.”
Thoughts: Another INSPY read, The Last Christian failed to thrill and raise questions of faith in what I would consider an appropriate manner. It concerns itself with the struggle for eternal life, both spiritual and physical by asking if living forever physically truly means losing one’s connection with God. This is presented in the context of a future American society in which Christianity has supposedly died out. While Mr. Gregory presents some great arguments as for the reasons why Christianity failed to exist beyond the 21st Century, the probability of this occurring to a country founded on Christian ideals is low; as a result, The Last Christian loses some credibility with its premise.
Unfortunately, the story itself is weak. Almost all the main characters are self-righteous with little to no character development. The reader is forced to accept the idea that someone growing up in a tribal culture with no access to the modern world would adapt as quickly and as successfully as Abby does. Add to that a plot line that contains more pontificating than it does action, and the novel quickly spirals downward.
As for the faith aspect of the story, it contains a very limited view of what it means to be a Christian, one in which the Bible states all of the rules, regardless of the inconsistencies contained within. No other religion is acceptable; I even felt this attitude to be applicable towards other Christian religions, like Roman Catholicism. It is a disturbing, isolationist approach to faith that does more harm than good and is the reason why the idea of Christian living holds negative stereotypes.
This was not a novel that I felt promoted Christian ideals in a harmonious light but rather did more to confirm the divide between “Christians” and non-Christians. This is so unfortunate because the message of the story is quite special, this idea that one person can make a difference in this large world of ours. Unfortunately, the delivery of this message is so exclusive that it turns off a large majority of the world’s population. As a result, The Last Christian is not a novel I can recommend to anyone in good faith. There were too many disturbing aspects of the faith discussion to be able to promote this as a book that people should read.