I've recently completed a book I never particularly expected to write. It covers subjects we've touched upon in some of the columns, but my guess was that the book would wait for quite some time. It's called Discourses on Judaism, Jesus & Christianity, and it rather forced its way out of me, regardless of what I had in mind. (Writing can be a very odd exercise at times.)
And so I'd like to run through one of the more important chapters in our public articles. The full book (106 pages) is available on Kindle for those who want it.
In this first installment we'll include the table of contents and the preface. After that we'll go through Discourse 6, one section at a time. I think you'll find this interesting and probably surprising.
Discourse One The Progress of Judaism
Discourse Two Whose Religion?
Discourse Three The Judeo-Christian Principles
Discourse Four What Really Did Jesus Teach?
Discourse Five The Sayings of Jesus
Discourse Six The Religion of Jesus
Discourse Seven How The Way Became Christianity
Discourse Eight The Kingdom of God
Discourse Nine The Son of Man
Discourse Ten The Crisis of Christianity
Discourse Eleven The Progress of Judaism, Part Two
Coda Yeah, We're Better
I expect my books to move from one subject to the next smoothly. And so when I decided to write this one, I presumed that my collection of "terribly important but almost entirely overlooked" concepts would form themselves into some kind of logical and naturally-flowing unit.
The book, however, wouldn't come together that way. And so, after some struggle, I decided to let it be what it naturally was, a collection of generally- but not directly-related thoughts.
Soon after that I finally understood the importance of specifically not turning these discourses into a single unit.
Nearly every set of religious or spiritual ideas is quickly turned into a full-spectrum answer to all of humanity's deep questions: Where did we come from? What will happen to the world? What will happen to me once I die? And so on. Anyone who puts forth new religious ideas faces tremendous pressures to answer all the questions and to extend their findings into a complete set of answers and/or a complete ruleset for living. Yielding to that pressure, however, is a grave error.
So, not only am I not attempting an answer to every question, I'm advising you that we're in no position to do such a thing. I think we humans carry immense potential; in time we will become wonderfully advanced creatures. At present, however, we have a long way to go. I think all healthy humans carry the potential to be stunning creatures and to understand just about anything that can be understood in this universe. But we're not there yet, and we probably won't be for a while. Ultimate rulesets and fixed determinations are not for us.
All that said, I would very much like for this set of discourses to turn our eyes toward better vistas, and I thank you for taking the time to read and absorb it.