God vs Judaism & Christianity is a cleverly written treatise. Panama-born Theo Chambers, of Jamaican heritage, uses his distinguished military and legal experience to fashion a thesis based on Socratic enquiry. He demands evidence, not blind faith in commonly held Judaic and Christian beliefs.
He assails the Church for failing to accept new evidence that proves the spurious foundation of its supposed divine truths. Here, two of the world's great religions are hauled before an imaginary Supreme Court of World Spiritual Justice to answer questions on their authenticity, if not their moral and ethical standing. Chambers serves as defence attorney, shielding God from the gross dogma, edicts and statements made in His name. Chambers' argument is pointed.
In God vs Judaism & Christianity, his client has been misrepresented and relegated to the role of puppeteer, deciding the fate of the world. The crux of Chambers' position centres on Genesis and the Tree of Life. In other words, the very foundation upon which the Judeo-Christian religion is constructed is said to be tenuous, at best. Why does God give us free will only to castigate those who exercise this divine gift?
The author further argues that we have been duped into believing the infallibility of so-called sacred books, many of which have been purposefully doctored. Of the Christian manuscripts which eventually formed the Bible, he cites the third-century Church Father Origen: "The difference among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others: they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they made additions, or deletions as they please."
Chambers' work is exhaustive and multilayered, forming a brew of science, philosophy, metaphysics, historical events and suppositions. He advocates a bare form of deism that bleeds with the ambassadorial refrain of Jane Roberts' New Ageism and Channeling: "We create our own reality …
It is a message long proliferated by channelled spirits. Chambers is an unapologetic proponent of adhering to natural laws. Humankind has, and will continue, to pay a hefty fine for violating the sanctity of God's laws and His creation. We understand God through His creation and the laws that he has set in motion. A personified, anthropomorphic God, he rejects. God, he asserts, has regrettably been given human attributes. We have created a dreadful, jealous and spiteful deity, to our detriment. This impedes our ability to question and reason. He cites Thomas Paine: "The word of God is the creation we behold, and it is this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter that God speaketh universally to man."
Chambers' thesis is hardly original and reads like a corollary of the far more cryptic, Isis Unveiled by Madam Blavatsky. Although short on academic rigour, it also reflects the signature writings of Professor Yosef Ben-Jochanan.
Admirably, Chambers congeals a mountain of data into a compelling literary gestalt, and does present a convincing case, albeit with some hiccups. To Judeo-Christian apologists, this work will prove antagonistic, or, even vexing.
On the symbolic witness stand, Judaism's origins are questioned, and so, too, are its perennial polemics over the messianic nature of Jesus and his virgin birth. Here, Chambers questions the contradictions between the Old and New Testaments, although both are held as God's immutable words. The pagan origins of Christian lore are also outlined.
In his cross-examination of the Pope, the representative of the Christian faith, Chambers is unrelenting, almost contemptuous, with his marauding legal style. He marches through history, impugning the Church for its judicial and canonical excesses. The infamous sex abuse scandals that have ravaged the institution's moral standing are also fair game. The Pope's testimony, transmitted via satellite, is aborted, caused by some technical problems at his end, indicating the indefensibility of the Church's standing.
Admittedly, the author's arguments are plausible, at times, irrefutable.
ONE SIZE FIT ALL
However, Chambers is really challenging Judeo-Christian fundamentalism, a movement that does not represent the multiple strains of the faith. This one-size-fits-all approach offers a provincial view of quite a complex subject. In favouring spirituality over religious dogma, the author has ignored the many cases of psychological, moral and spiritual bankruptcy that have blighted New Age movements, renowned for their mantra that we are creators, gods, of some kind. Are Judaism and Christianity then the problem, or is it the potential depravity of the human spirit?
And while many, including Chambers, vilify religion for its many wars that have claimed innumerous victims, evidence of genocidal rampages by atheists are equally appalling. Cambodia's 'Killing Fields' and the millions of victims at the hands of Mao's Cultural Revolution are just two examples in recent history.
Ironically, the vindication of Judaism and Christianity comes from an unlikely source - the Dai Lama, one of Chambers' mentors. Asked to identify the 'best religion', the Buddhist leader responded: "The best religion is the one that gets you closer to God. It is one that makes you a better person ... whatever makes you more compassionate, more humanitarian … ."
Countless Christians and Jews would concur with his every word, thereby shielding their faiths from Chambers' withering indictment.
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