You know that thing where you never really finish one project before you’re on to the next? I have an idea for another book.
So I’m more than a little fascinated with the history and historicity of religious movements. Not the religions themselves, but the context of the faiths through their history.
Like this: the creation myth in the Abrahamic religions shouldn’t be taken literally. But rather, the original version codified in the Tanakh is an obvious allegory for a people who had (probably at the time of writing it down) recently lost a major center of faith and society (the first or second temple, I can’t quite recall at this moment). It’s a story about how to deal with being forced out of your home. No fantastical elements required. It’s very human: grief and dealing with it.
That’s what I want to write. I want to take all the Torah stories, and the Bible and Quran too, and pick them apart for what they actually mean in a the context of when they were written. I mean, if Genesis is basically an allegory for losing a home, then what was the story in Esther supposed to mean (given that it’s not historically accurate at all)? Or that one depressing Bible book (started with an E…)? And I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Islam, but I bet it follows the same pattern of codifying myths with the intent of helping people.
Now, you might be wondering what my reasoning is. “Michael, you’re just a curmudgeon and an atheist, what could you possibly get from studying the bible?” The Abrahamic religions were and are the most prolific faiths in human history, two offshoots of the first boasting about two billion (BILLION~!) followers each (and that’s not getting into other world religions) Why wouldn’t I be interested in the reason why?