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“Where God Was Born” Speaks To Our Time, Our Path In Life

September 28, 2013


Every now and then I sit back and think how nice it would be to have a person of this or that background as a next door neighbor so to ask complicated questions.  When legal dramas play out in the news I want a legal mind to perhaps give me insight into a federal grand jury.  When medical breakthroughs are made I want a doctor to further explain the ways in which the body works, or does not, as the case may be.  During the past couple weeks I have wanted a person steeped in philosophy and various world religions to live next door so to sit and talk about a whole raft of issues.

Reading Where God Was Born by Bruce Feiler has been uplifting, historical, and spiritual.  Perhaps more than anything else the book has left me pondering the topics that Feiler so easily examines and offers insight to for his many readers.

If Bruce Feiler sounds familiar it is due to his many books, PBS series, and role with NPR radio over the years.  In this book he travels 10,000 miles through the Middle East-Israel, Iraq, and Iran-and examines the question, “Is religion just a source of conflict or can it be a source of peace?”  With this book the reader will feel the text is part wartime chronicle, part archaeological detective story, part personal spiritual exploration.  

As he searches for the common roots of Christianity, Islam and Judaism we can see the way human history has transformed our relationship to God, and altered how God is viewed.  When the Israelites are removed from Jerusalem we see them adapt to a new reasoning as to how to commune with God, and lift themselves up to an individual connection with the creator.  Within the book we are also made aware of how the Mesopotamian story of creation impacted closely with how the story is written in the Bible, and how Zoroastrianism helped define heaven and hell in the scriptures.

The compelling parts of this book are many, and varied.  If anyone has any illusions over the life of David they will be dispelled.  If one wonders how Goliath was taken down there is even some facts to underscore how the events might have actually played out.  In addition Feiler removes that historical misperception about how uncouth the Philistines were.

Over and over the background given on a whole array of topics adds texture to religion, the Bible, and the great unknowns that we continually ponder.

It is a most compelling read, and one that leaves the reader (at least this one) desiring to better understand the nuances of religion as much as the history of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Thankfully for the curious Feiler has several books about religion that will surely please those who pick them up.

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