The Last Christian

The Last Christian

by David Gregory

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400074976
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/04/2010
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 584,708
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

DAVID GREGORY is the best-selling author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, A Day with a Perfect Stranger, The Next Level, and the co author of the nonfiction book, The Rest of the Gospel. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion, sociology and communications. He holds master's degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and the University of North Texas. A native of Texas, he now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Read an Excerpt

The Last Christian

A Novel
By David Gregory

WaterBrook Press

Copyright © 2010 David Gregory
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781400074976

PROLOUGE
 
APRIL 3, 2088
“I see your neurons firing, Ray.”
The voice was familiar, one Ray Caldwell had known for decades. Bryson Nichols’s face came into view overhead.
I must be on my back.
He had no such sensation. He tried to turn his head to the right, then the left. It didn’t respond. He tried moving his fingers. No sensation. Nothing. Panic swept through him. He was paralyzed.
“I brought you back to consciousness to let you know about the procedure.”
The procedure. On whom? There were no more procedures scheduled. Caldwell had canceled them all. Nichols’s face slid in and out of view as he hovered above and behind, wielding surgical instruments with which Caldwell was all too familiar.
No…He wouldn’t…
Nichols spoke calmly as he worked. “I do so apologize for having drugged you. But it was the only way. You know how much I’ve valued our working relationship—our friendship—these many years. I’d never do anything to jeopardize that friendship.
“But you were acting nonsensically, Ray. Halting the procedures at this point was sheer madness. I told myself it was the onset of disease, that you weren’t thinking straight. Or perhaps you were having cold feet about your own procedure. In any case, for your own good, I had to accelerate the schedule.”
Nichols paused, his upside-down face fixed in Caldwell’s line of vision, smiling. “Your alphas reveal your reluctance, but I do forgive your response, Ray. I know that, once the procedure is complete, we’ll see eye to eye.”
Caldwell examined Nichols’s face as he spoke. He was calm, purposeful, self-assured. No trace of consternation concerning the crime he was about to commit.
“Oh, Ray, to be free at last from the constraints of biological intelligence. How I wish I were in your shoes!”
The room fell silent save for Nichols’s movements and the methodical hum of neural scanners. Caldwell knew the routine. He had performed it himself numerous times, though not to completion.
Think! He had to think. Within the hour he would be disconnected from his biological brain…forever. If only he could talk, he could dissuade Nichols from— Nichols’s face reappeared. The procedure was ready, Caldwell intuited. Now was his final chance to change his destiny.
“…pat your hand, Ray. But I know you can’t feel it. I want you to know that I’ll be with you throughout.”
Nichols leaned closer to Caldwell’s face, his voice softening. “I have to admit, I’m envious. We had always planned on my being the one unveiled. And now it appears you will be the world-famous one—the first transhuman.”
He straightened up. “I could be bitter, being supplanted by you in that regard. But of what value, ultimately, is the recognition we receive for our achievements? Is it not of minor importance compared to the contribution we make to the advancement of our species—of the evolution of the universe itself ?”
Nichols glanced to his right. “I can tell by your scan that you still aren’t in full agreement.” He cocked his head slightly. “Ray, are your gammas spiking? I recognize that configuration. Are you trying to tell me something?”
He turned back toward his patient and shook his head. “You never cease to amaze me. I doubt any of our colleagues could manipulate their brain waves with such ease. That’s why I teamed up with you so many years ago. Always amazing.”
Nichols stepped away from Caldwell’s sight, then reappeared. “I’m putting you back to sleep now, Ray. When you wake up, everything will be complete. Your misgivings, whatever they may be, will be alleviated. You’ll be everything we have worked toward. Everything humanity has dreamed of for millennia. Our friendship, our partnership in this grand endeavor will continue. Shortly you’ll perform the procedure on me. The two of us will lead humanity into its greatest adventure.” He smiled broadly. “See you on the other side.”
With all his will Ray Caldwell commanded his arms to move, his legs to break free from the bands that held him to the surgical table. But it was no use. In a few moments he would lose consciousness. When he awoke, he would be missing the only thing that made life—existence
itself, even—worthwhile. Drowsiness stalked him. His mind began to swim.
Three hours and six minutes later Caldwell’s new brain powered up. He awoke. Electronic impulses coursed through the silicon mass that his cranium now housed.
Terror seized him. He bolted upright and scanned the room. His gaze landed upon the smiling face of Bryson Nichols standing four feet away.
“O brave new world that has such people in it, Ray. How do you feel, my friend?”
Past Nichols, in a glass jar, he spotted the three-pound mass of gray matter that had been extracted from him. His terror subsided into resigned grief.
What he had feared most had come to pass.
It was gone. Utterly gone. He had lost his connection.

Continues...

Excerpted from The Last Christian by David Gregory Copyright © 2010 by David Gregory. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

Following are 18 discussion questions for you to use to further explore the themes in the novel The Last Christian. The questions prompt thinking in several different categories.
Questions 1-5 deal with the advancement of technology.
Questions 6-9 deal with the approach to Christianity.
Questions 10 and 11 deal with the demise of Christianity in America.
Questions 12-18 are more general about plots and themes in the book.

1. The Last Christian highlights a mixture of rapidly developing sciences, including bioengineering, virtual reality and nano-robotics. These developments can be seen for their positive benefits or for the way they handicap the spiritual life. What do you see as the potential benefits of such advancements? The potential dangers? How should Christians approach technology and scientific advancements? Should they take a posture of fear?

2. In 2088, The Last Christian portrays relationships in the United States as being mostly interacted online, on the Grid. Indicators presently point us toward more virtual community and into a certain kind of isolation. What can believers do to understand that community and to foster relationships even as technology drives us further from actual human contact?

3. The Last Christian presents a world in which most diseases have been cured and people regularly live past 120. If you expected to live past 120, what effect would that expectation have on the way you live your life? What effect do you think such a change would have on most people’s lives?

4. What do you think most people would choose: a consciousness without end, as Bryson Nichols envisioned, but also without God, or a normal lifespan with the presence of God? Why? Which would you choose?

5. Is there a point at which the use of technology and an active walk of faith with God become mutually exclusive? In what ways, if any, does your use of technology impede the closeness of your relationship with God?

6. According to the story, what is deficient in Abby’s understanding of the Christian life as she comes to America? Is she suffering from a lack of trying hard? In what ways do you see this deficiency in your own life or the lives of Christians in general?

7. What does Abby’s grandfather Ray attempt to communicate with her? Why does Abby struggle to understand his message?

8. What are the implications of Ray’s spiritual message for you personally? Does it change your understanding of what a faith walk with God means? How?

9. What is the spiritual epiphany that Abby has on the train? How does this new awareness affect the way she sees and responds to things in the remainder of the story?

10. In his lecture to his college class, Creighton lists five primary reasons for the demise of Christianity in the U.S.
(a) Do you see any of these trends at work now in the culture? In what ways?
(b) Which of these trends do you think is the most serious problem confronting the Christian faith?
(c) What do you expect will be the results of the trends you see on (i) society at large, and (ii) the church?

11. Do you see characteristics or trends in the church in America that will prevent it from going the way of secular Europe?

12. What feelings did starting a book called The Last Christian evoke in you?

13. In the book, Abby has some strong reactions to what she sees as the negatives of American culture in 2088. What are some of the things she reacts against? Do you see any of these same issues in today’s American culture? How have these cultural factors influenced your own life?

14. What threats to free religious expression and freedom of speech have you noticed in the news? What do you think might be the long-term outcome of such threats?

15. What do you think is the main inner conflict Creighton experiences with regard to whether or not to get the brain transplant? What makes him decide in a certain direction? How did you react to his decision? Why?

16. What are the competing ultimate realities expounded by Abby and Bryson Nichols in their conversation at his estate? Which reality do you think is correct? What would you say to someone who asked you to defend your answer?

17. What do you think is the primary message of the final scene of the book, the conversation between Hutch Hardin and Creighton? What implications does this message have for your life?

18. What were the primary effects The Last Christian had upon you? What did it make you think about afterwards? What feelings did it evoke? What, if anything, did it make you ponder concerning your own life?

Customer Reviews

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The Last Christian 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
AAR More than 1 year ago
THE LAST CHRISTIAN by David Gregory is an Inspirational Sci-fi thriller set in the future, the year 2088. It is well written with depth and detail. It is very deep and overwhelming at times but it has a great message throughout the book. It is also full of bible references. It is a throught provoking, and very interesting in "what if's". It has betrayal, suspense, sadness, action, faith, a little romance, intrigue and religious themes. The characters will pull you in and keep you there. They are exciting, strong and innocent. There are also evil characters in this story. If you enjoy sci-fi thrillers, and throught provoking that leave you wondering about the future of Christianity in the modern world this is definate the book for you. This book was received for review from Waterbrook and details can be found at My Book Addiction and More and Random House Publishing.
JodyJ More than 1 year ago
My review of the book The Last Christian. In the future tolerance has come to pass and Christianity no longer exists. Abigail Caldwell grew up in a remote jungle in Papua New Guinea. A disease killed her village, forcing her into a real world that she has no connection to. It is almost scary how easily the reader can imagine the circumstances in the story coming to pass. It is a little eerie to think this may not be so far in the future anymore for us. The faith aspect of this story is very thought provoking, the reader will definitely look at the gospel in a brand new light. There is a heavy focus on life, a little love, and tolerance that is not so tolerant. This book was provided to me for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
wanttoreadBM More than 1 year ago
A good read with enough action and mystery to keep you reading. The Christian message is clear as you progress through the story. I would recommend it.
John Resler More than 1 year ago
It is not a great leap to see a day when Christ's message is viewed as hate speech. The criticism and ridicule of a non-conformist are accurate and Orwellian. A good read for anyone but reassurance for the Christian.
Chella Charles More than 1 year ago
Good books entertain you. Great books make you think in ways you never have before. The Last Christian is a great book.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
It's the year 2088 and Abby is the only person to survive when a strange disease spreads. Abby goes out in search of others survivors. Her grandpa sends a word telling her to spread the word of Jesus. Little did she know, the entire human race could obtain eternal life and her grandfather was partially to blame. The brain replacement project is already in use. Will Abby be successful in her attempts to remind everyone of a higher power or will the humans play God and end up destroying everything? The plot is amazing and the author really delivers on each page that you turn. A total thrill ride.
Richele More than 1 year ago
If you read one book this summer.choose one book to throw in your beach bag.choose one book to bring on your plane ride.choose The Last Christian. From the moment I read the summary I was intrigued. I had high hopes that his book would be excellent. I was not let down! From the first page you will be taken on a ride to rival any roller coaster. Be sure to start this book when you have the time to devote as you will NOT want to put it down. Not only is the book exciting, it is well written, characters are realistic and well developed and concept though wild draws you in and never lets go. I would mark this as my favorite summer read and summer had barely begun!
AnAvidReaderNJ More than 1 year ago
When I agreed to review this book, I was not thrilled about it to be honest. I do not like science fiction, never have. But I have to say this book was amazing. They way the author tied together the past and the present was seamless. Abby Caldwell was the perfect leading lady and the flow of the story was excellent. From a Christian perspective, there are many lessons to be learned: Abby's bravery and steadfastness about confessing her faith, people making the ultimate sacrifice for others, the thought of what could happen if we remain cavalier about our Christian faith. I would highly recommend this book and I just may read it again myself! This book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. The opinons expressed are my own!
FaithfulFoliosvLogReviews More than 1 year ago
Vertical Reach = 4 Abby doesn't give thorough details about what she prays or what passages she reads in her bible but I love that she acknowledges doing them at all. Lotsa CBA christian fiction doesn't even elude to this I liked this character so much she was real to me. Ministry Message = 3 The message I believe is to have faith in God and spread his word no matter what. I hope I didn't miss it the storyline held me so captive I didn't really grab a lot of message. Craft = 5 I love good plot and great characters. This novel has both not to mention it has captivating details and dialogue. This is the only end time novel I believe I've ever enjoyed. Aesthetics = 5 If I saw this book in a book store the title and cover alone would make me stop and pick it up. Good job Waterbook Press design team. LOVE IT!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2088, the unknown disease has devastated the small Inisi village. Desperate, Christian missionary Abigail Caldwell leaves the jungle for the first time in eight years seeking help for those surviving. She is found dehydrated and taken to Meriden Hospital in Lae where she is treated by American Dr. Kate Sampson. The two women fly by helicopter to the village only to find everyone dead. Grieving as she loved the villagers, Abby goes to America after receiving an odd missive from her neuroscientist grandfather, an inventor of brain transplants. She is stunned to find Christianity is dead in America, but she vows to lead the crusade to bring it back from the grave. However, her grandfather is also dead. His death leads her to History Professor Creighton Daniels, whose father like Abby's grandfather and villagers suddenly died. The duo join forces to investigate what is going on. They soon discover a plot to evolve mankind into eternal non-believers transhumans with silicon based brains and no one will stop them; not even two people grounded in faith that God created Adam and Eve. The Last Christian is a terrific futuristic thriller in which the religious elements come across (no pun intended) as powerful and refreshing while the political spin felt mechanical, a rehashing of early twenty-first century DC paralysis. Fast-paced with two strong believers as champions, sub-genre fans will want to join these David's as they battle Goliaths with plans to make mankind in their image. Harriet Klausner
tarenn on LibraryThing 7 months ago
THE LAST CHRISTIAN by David Gregory is an Inspirational Sci-fi thriller set in the future, the year 2088. It is well written with depth and detail. It is very deep and overwhelming at times but it has a great message throughout the book. It is also full of bible references. It is a throught provoking, and very interesting in "what if's". It has betrayal, suspense, sadness, action, faith, a little romance, intrigue and religious themes. The characters will pull you in and keep you there. They are exciting, strong and innocent. There are also evil characters in this story. If you enjoy sci-fi thrillers, and throught provoking that leave you wondering about the future of Christianity in the modern world this is definate the book for you. This book was received for review from Waterbrook and details can be found at My Book Addiction and More and Random House Publishing.
twiga92 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Very interesting book. A missionary kid who has been raised in the jungle of Papua New Guinea and never been away from her village goes for help when her village is sick. She ends up going back to America to find that Christianity has died out. Her grandparents leave her a message telling her they think God wants to use her to bring Christianity back to America. She faces a completely different world than the one she is used to. This is set in the future - 2088, so technology has advanced considerably. Neuroscience has advanced to the point that they have discovered a way to create a silicon brain, upload software of the human and then transplant the silicon brain into the human in place of the biological brain. Most diseases have been cured so people are living a long time, but eventually the brain wears out. By transplanting to the silicon brain, basically living forever is offered as an option. This is the society that Abby faces to try and convince to turn back to God and Christianity.The book started getting suspenseful towards the end as Abby's life became in danger and I ended up staying up late to find out what happens. A great read, futuristic yet suspenseful, with a little romance thrown in.*I received this book from a blog giveaway.
autumnesf on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Very interesting read on a time in the future where God has been abandoned and the human race is trying out artificial brains.
atdCross on LibraryThing 7 months ago
That people downloading their (brain (person) in a silicon brain with the consequences of losing their spirit and, as a result, their connection with God is nota credible premise. Those who transfered their brains didn't seem less human but still showed emotion and morality, which is impossible without the human spirit, in my opinion. To lose your spirit is to lose your whole humanity. The book did not make me eager to read the next page, the characters were not interesting, and the ending was not memorable (forgot how it did and and I just finished reading it last night). The idea that America totally abandoned their founding father's faith in God was a good idea to start with but the approach the author took with it was unappealing.
dccab73 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I loved this book!!! The themes and ideas that were presented REALLY had me thinking, what if?? I was thinking as I read the book, this was similar, at least for me, to 1984...VERY SCARY! I believe that many of the concepts presented in the book are not that far off. Look how our idea of marriage has degraded in the United States. Is it possible in the future that marriage will be nothing but a contract and we are "Life partners"? HMMMM! I think we are quickly heading that way. Also the idea of Christianity being eliminated form American society. We are already well on our way. Gregory, in my opinion did an exceptional job with the story and I loved his writing style. I cruised through this book effortlessly. I will definitely recommend this to my friends. If you are a Christian this should be a must read as it presents futuristic ideas of what may come if we as Christians keep conforming to the world's view rather than our Saviors!
PamelaBarrett on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Christian Science Fiction with a twist, because in 2088 Christianity in America in a thing of the past. Artificial Intelligence is common place, and Virtual Reality is where most people spend their time. 34 year old Abby Caldwell, born to missionary parents, spent her entire life in an isolated jungle village in New Guinea. She leaves the village to get help when the villagers mysteriously start dying. She hopes to find the answer in America. There is also another reason to go to America: her grandfather left her a message about what was happening to Christianity¿a message posted 16 years earlier on the Grid.History Professor Dr. Creighton Daniels comes across a story on the Grid about Abby returning to America, and as an expert in historical religion, he is intrigued by her story. As he contemplates meeting her, he also finds a message from his recently deceased father and slowly realizes that his father and her grandfather knew each other. David Gregory¿s well researched novel, took me into a world I never want to see¿a world where speaking about God can get you arrested. A society that does whatever it wants in VR, and an individual¿s wants are more important than the family. Where AI, taken to the limit, is no longer used for limb replacements and to help people with sight and hearing, but has industrialists funding silicon brain transplants to make people transhuman. A brilliantly written, futuristic thriller that leaves you questioning what is important in life.
loubigfish on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Has some good characters and a good story line. Is it believable? Well that it what you need to figure out... Has some good chapters... but I was left wanting more.
Tmtrvlr on LibraryThing 7 months ago
In the future, it¿s possible to live forever¿but at what cost?The year is A.D. 2088, and Christianity has died in America. The Last Christian is an interesting look at a futuristic world where Christianity has almost died out. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, Abigail Caldwell has lost her family and her entire village from a mysterious brain disease. She receives a unexpected 16 year-old recorded message from her grandfather asking her to go to America and spread the gospel. Is Abby ready for the danger and does she really understand the gospel message she has known her whole life?In this future time where there are self-driving cars, common virtual reality, and brain transplants, Christianity is considered hate speech. Abby has a choice to make ¿ flee the country or face arrest. The story is rather profound when you think of the way things are already going in America, and it will make you reflect on the message. I get a little nervous when an author wants to add to the gospel message, but I think the author just wanted to convey the message of grace and not works. The story has action, adventure and a great message. I really was not expecting the twist at the end!
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The novel was a DNF for me, which I believe is only my 2nd novel I ever did not complete. The story lines are strong, the characters are likable and the writing style is excellent. I personally did not care for the mix of the two genres. If you like science-fiction and evangelical religion, this may be the book you are looking for.Please read other reviews as the ones I looked at were wonderful.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
What an awesome look at what our future might hold. Abby is an American raised in isolation with the Inisi tribe. When her people start dying she leaves the village and seeks help not knowing who to trust. Upon returning to the village she finds all have perished. No one can explain the strange illness that killed everyone in her village and no one can explain why she alone survived. After receiving a strange message from her grandfather, Abby goes to America to bring Christianity back to a nation that has rejected it. She finds the America she once heard about with its religious freedoms, no longer exists. She takes up the mission to bring Christianity back to these people and uncovers a hornets nest that will put her own life at risk. I felt sorry for her for her constant loss. I was reminded of Job who lost everything and yet remained faithful to God. Abby was a modern day Job. She was willing to push her own grief and sadness away for a higher purpose. The marriage of Religious beliefs and Technology proved to be a thought provoking avenue to travel. I loved a lot of the technology of the year 2088. It made me realize that we are only 78 years away from that date and the possibilities now. This was an absolutely thrilling book to read and I can't wait to pass it to my friends. This is a must read for anyone who loves Science Fiction
seizethebook on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I don't usually read "futuristic" kind of books and I'm not sure if I would have picked this one to read from the bookstore or library shelf, but now, after reading The Last Christian by David Gregory, I consider myself "stretched" in my reading interests. I enjoyed this book for its unique approach to romance as well as the interesting ideas the author has about future technology. It was believable as well as fascinating.I think one of my favorite things about this book was the character named Abby, who is a 34-year-old daughter of missionaries from Papua New Guinea. She has spent her entire life in the jungle, but comes to America to try and find out what disease wiped out her entire village. She finds a country where Christianity has died out. As a result of a cryptic message from her grandfather, Abby embarks on a mission to re-introduce people to God.There are other things going on in the book, such as a plan by an artificial intelligence innovator to implant silicon brains into humans in order to make them live forever. And then there's Creighton Daniels, whose life intersects with Abby's when his father is found dead of an apparent suicide and Daniels begins to investigate.The "plot thickens" when Creighton and Abby uncover facts that reveal malicious intent on the part of some of the scientists working with the AI project. They find themselves on the run and their lives threatened.This Christian thriller is a great read, if you can get past some of the scientific language used throughout. I just skimmed through those parts and it did not affect the overall enjoyment of the book. I recommend this one.
Lynngood on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Circa 2088 Abby has come out of Papua New Guinea where she has lived in isolation for all of her 34 years as the daughter of missionarys. Seeking medical help for her dying village she ends up in the United States where she finds that God has been eliminated from society. Inadvertantly she uncovers a plot to replace the brains of everyone with a silicon transplant with much greater power ... except it severs ones relation to God.
Justjenniferreading on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book was amazing. It had a little of everything in it. The technical aspect of the book was very interesting to me. The idea that all people can be connected to each other constantly was very interesting. It added a new level of intrigue to the story. In this story technology has tried to rid the world of the social ills that had once existed. However it seems that technology has taken one thing away from the culture...The story was pretty faced paced, right from the beginning. And while the technology was really futuristic it was feasible. I think I was able to understand the technology because it is, I think, where technology is currently heading, so it wasn't difficult to imagine. I loved how the story combined the technological society, and that of a non-technological religious society. Seeing the differences between the religious society and the technological society was quite eye opening. The path that was explained in the book as to how society became non-religious is very sobering. The writing was very good. It was easy for me to connect to the characters in this story. They were well written and well developed. I loved Abby, based on the culture she was thrown into she was quite naive, however she was actually a very intelligent character. I really loved this story. I was so easily drawn in to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No good story line
Anonymous More than 1 year ago