When I first heard about Christopher Hitchen’s book, God is Not Great I didn’t have a good perspective on just how true that title was. “God is Greater” allahu akbar is a well-known phrase said by many Moslems on the occasion of a significant event or revelation, like the birth of a newborn, beginning prayers or blowing themselves up in the midst of a holiday crowd.
The Jewish people’s history is well documented with similar events, but lacking in explosives and automatic weapons. You’ll find them endlessly recounted in the “Old Testament” books.
Christians haven’t come off much better. Remember the Conquistadores yelling “Vera Cruz!” as they slaughtered innocent indians, or appeals to the Virgin or Christ himself as they sacked yet another town or murdered other Christians or Jews whose doctrines were not sufficiently in step with their own.
Three religions, members of the same intimate family – children of Abraham – have been killing one another for centuries. Unfortunately, they are getting quite good at it these days and with the availability of nuclear and biological weapons, some of their more fundamentalist members are set to deal death and destruction to everyone, regardless of which particular dogma you ascribe to, and especially if you don’t hold with religion at all.
In a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Frank Turek, Turek responded to the question of what would make him change his mind, by saying that he would if somehow the body of Christ was discovered. Even though he said that, and the belief in the diviinity and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is fundamental to the Christian faith, I somehow think that even if Jesus’ body was discovered in a cave, somewhere in Israel, this would not be reasons enough for many Christians to give up their faith.
Such is the basis of my book The Q Fragments, the idea that if Jesus of Nazareth’s body was found in modern day Israel, accompanied by proof that it was actually him, and documents were to also found that really told about the events of his life, demonstrating that he wasn’t a divine being fathered by a supernatural dictator living in the sky, how could such a thing have happened?
As I put forward in my book, Jesus was obviously a special man, but the later hijacking of his life by the gospel writers (except for whoever wrote the Gospel of Thomas) and especially by the emotionally unstable Saul/Paul of Tarsus (and we don’t even know for sure if he came from Tarsus) put paid to that idea. We know historically that Jesus from Nazareth was only one in a succession of apocalyptic Jewish prophets and faith healers operatiang during the period of the Roman occupation. Read about The Egyptian sometime.
Recovering the actual words and deeds of Jesus is now pretty much impossible given the time — two thousand years — the fact that his followers were illiterate, there are absolutely no non-Jewish references to him until about a hundred years after his execution, and, most importantly, the immense amount of superstitious, religious bullshit that has been shoveled over his corpse since then. Who is now to know what the man actually did and said?
I think, within the context of his time and his religion, he was one of many controversial figures and if it had not been for Saul/Paul’s made up superstitious lies, and Constantine’s influence 300 years later, he would be remembered as an obscure footnote, if at all.
My book portrays him as I would have liked him to have been. I have tried to distill some semblance of truth from the fog of religious myth that surrounds him by placing some of his deeds and words, as much as we can have confidence in them, in an historical, secular and non-religious context.
What would come after the discovery and proof that Jesus of Nazareth was merely a human being, like we are, and not a divine entity is something I’m presently working on.
It’s not pretty.