A short collection of miscellaneous observations about spiritual matters in various religions.
The four authors look over the tenets of Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism and use leaps of intuition and conceptual history to examine what they see as the “truths” of those faiths. The bulk of the book’s opening segment discusses Christianity and makes several assertions about Jesus Christ (stylized here as “Y’sa,” or as a new Messiah, “M’sa”) and his role in bringing about the downfall of the Roman Empire: “To defeat the Romans, he [Y’sa] sees that faith in the Roman system needs to be broken,” the authors write. “This faith is based on the fear of crucifixion.” They style Y’sa as a “top-notch physician of the time and place” and imply that his medical knowledge (along with a specially drugged vinegar) allowed him to survive the ordeal of crucifixion, thereby breaking the psychological power of that form of execution for the Romans. But because the authors admit from the outset that “no attempt has been made to provide citations or other scholarly trappings,” these and other observations amount to questionable historical fiction. The book asserts, for example, that the ancients didn’t understand what heartbeats were; that if Y’sa were alive today, he would be a vegan; and, most incredibly, that Muhammad promised gay sex in the afterlife to his martyred followers. The scholarly “trappings” that the authors avoid would flatly contradict these and many other claims in the book, which will leave readers confused about whether to take them as speculative or not. The authors’ calls for an Islam without violence and a Hinduism without excessive mythology are refreshing. However, they don’t compensate for the other ideological imbalances.
A short, disjointed work of religious speculation that will appeal mainly to readers who already agree with the authors’ hypotheses.