A debut book thoroughly examines the Bible for believers seeking a deeper connection to God.
Aiello strives to show that a connection to Jesus “does not have multiple steps or complicated formulas,” but is instead based in a consistent practice of trust, surrender, and self-abandonment. He begins with a philosophical study of original sin, translating the first story of the fall of Adam and Eve into more modern contexts, and arguing that since that moment, man’s nature became a sinful one: “Addictions and compulsions are linked to this process, because whatever you desire eventually controls you….Ultimately, the cause of human dissatisfaction is our basic sin nature.” For him, the key to conquering this unsatisfying disposition lies in complete surrender to God and the ultimate goal of Christian freedom, “which is not freedom to sin, but freedom from sin.” Aiello writes about this capitulation in a way that blends the psychological and the spiritual. In an attempt to make more abstract Christian concepts like faith and grace feel more tangible, he describes them as concrete exercises that will slowly lift a veil—one that “prevents us from perceiving the spirit world.” The topics Aiello chooses will likely be familiar to many Christians, ranging from the Eucharist to the existence of angels, but the tension between his more modern, progressive explanations and the classic tenets of Christianity produces some fresh and stimulating arguments. The author brings in concepts from other faiths, carefully explaining why he found the meditation practices of Eastern religions ultimately inferior to being “subordinate” to God. He is also quick to point out what he calls “misplaced faith,” writing that an overreliance on strict biblical interpretations or individual church practices can get in the way of a godly connection: “Christianity is operating way below par because it does not encourage unconditional trust in God.” But no matter which criticisms or new ideas Aiello starts from, he always works his way back to the Bible, using these various viewpoints to ultimately reinforce traditional Christian notions rather than truly challenging or changing them.
An intriguing exploration of Christianity that aims to bring diverse perspectives to traditional ideas.