An exploration of various religious beliefs delivered in the readable format of a dialogue.
Though not the first, the bedrock text of philosophy is Plato’s The Republic, a dialogue among Socrates’ students, friends and enemies. As a structure, it works well, allowing readers to examine both sides of an argument, with “proof.” Such is the structure of Keire’s work, which examines the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The cast of characters is large and not exclusively Christian. In the text, we find Jews, atheists and Christians of different denominations arguing about the plausibility of Jesus returning from the dead, as well as if and why it matters. Sarah, a Jewish woman, states early that “we Jews do not believe Jesus rose from the dead. We don’t believe God would resurrect a single individual.” One character attempts to offer proof (and those lacking skepticism may concur) and says that “people had face-to-face discussions with the risen Jesus.” Each person makes a plea for what he or she believes to be true. Keire approaches her subject and people with a commendable attempt at objectivity, though her own beliefs sometimes seep through. As the work continues and explores different conceptions of faith, the reader is treated to discussions concerning varying aspects of Judaism—such as Judaism as a cultural movement rather than a religious belief—as well as a summary of the varying arguments concerning the divinity of Christ and the evolution of Christian theology. Keire takes an intelligent approach and tries to flesh out ideas that have been argued since before Christ was born: Does God actually exist? Does it matter? What does it mean that eternal existence might actually exist? There are, as one might expect, issues with a text dependent upon dialogue; there’s no setting and little plot and character development, and it can also be clunky. Still, the work tackles age-old issues philosophically.
This Christianity-focused dialogue, while not entirely subjective, works surprisingly well as a philosophical text.