Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Evolution of God

As each Gospel was written, he argues, the differentness and additions about Jesus life show a slowly adapting story about his real life, somewhat glossing over inconvenient facts that might be used against his being the Messiah.
One reoccurring theme of the book is a discussion of how Judaisim, Christianity and Islam weren’t quite the strictly monotheistic faiths everyone likes to believe they were. That early leaders toyed around with polytheism and even chose monotheism because it suited the needs of society. Another theme is the search for moral truth and whether we can truly find it.
His conclusion, although he phrases it as a suggestion, is that if Christians, Jews and Muslims give up their monopoly on religion, their need for religious exclusivity, they would move forward evolutionarily. Of course, you can’t see the religious adaptation when you are right in the midst of it. Maybe that’s how God intended it.

SHOOT: The blind leading the blind.
clipped from
The essence of the book is to trace the history of Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam from their inceptions to current beliefs, reframing it in the context of scientific evolution and, more specifically, social evolutionism. That means wading through about 10,000 years of history in 483 pages.

Consequently, it’s not easy reading.

And if you are dogmatically Christian, his skeptical interpretation of how an unlikely Jesus, who talked in code so people wouldn’t convert, performed few actual miracles and who convinced very few people while he was on Earth managed to became savior of all humankind by being killed by the Romans will probably, at the least, mildly irritate you.

I particularly liked his analysis of the Gospels, showing how each one, written at a later time after Jesus’ death (they don’t appear chronologically in the Bible), expands upon Jesus’ life, adding new information.
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