THE CHRISTIAN ENIGMA by Thomas D. Lynch

THE CHRISTIAN ENIGMA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

According to two interfaith pastors, it was a misunderstanding that led Jesus’ followers to falsely believe he was the son of God and was resurrected from the dead.

Cynthia Lynch (Public Affairs & Security Studies/Univ. of Texas Pan America; The Word of the Light, 1998) and Thomas Lynch (Public Administration/Louisiana State Univ.; The Word of the Light, 1998, etc.) admire Jesus but believe he “was just a man,” albeit one deserving respect. They call salvation-based Christianity as practiced today the “Alpha Interpretation” and offer instead their “Omega Interpretation” of the New Testament, arguing that Jesus’ teachings weren’t new and were similar to those of “other great religious thinkers” of the world. They say Jesus’ message was simply to “[d]evelop your inner spirituality” and let it guide you through life. Contrary to this teaching, they say, the Alpha Interpretation tells Christians “merely to accept Jesus as our God and Savior and then we can go to the ATM with our prayer card any old time and request our favors and gifts and God’s forgiveness for our sins.” They discuss Matthew’s account of Jesus’ early life, which says his family moved to Egypt and then back to Israel, though they say the other Gospels’ silence on the matter implies “nothing like that happened.” Yet they make their own bold claims, such as their belief that Jesus trained with the Therapeutae community in Alexandria, which may have been influenced by Buddhism, and they suggest Jesus was the first “Reform Jew.” The Bible’s silence on those particular matters is apparently of no concern. Jesus probably survived the Crucifixion, they say, and the Resurrection “cover story” helped him avoid another trip to the cross. Generally well-written, the book has some typos that don’t interfere with comprehension of the often dense text. (The authors frequently use one distracting term: “Kindom of God” rather than “Kingdom of God,” which they believe is sexist.) While the authors admirably value logic and reason, in a book about faith it’s strange that they come across as so disinterested in anything resembling an emotion. Whether or not their Omega Interpretation is true, reading about it is a joyless journey.

Dry musings for those who like to deconstruct traditional Christianity.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0985647513
Page count: 362pp
Publisher: International Academy for Interfaith Studies
Program: Kirkus Indie
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