Not My God
Paul, an 18-year-old-Greek, falls in love with Phoebe, the Jewish daughter of the High Priest of the Temple at Tarsus. To receive permission to marry, he must first convert to Judaism, involving the mutilation of circumcision and the study of the Torah. Sent to Jerusalem, he is told by the priests that the Torah is the absolute word of God as given to Moses and is not to be questioned. He finds many inaccuracies and repetitions and realizes that only part of it was written by Moses, that ancient scribes and greedy priests added the family histories and religios offerings later. He cannot tell his mentors of his doubts, so he writes them down privately. He finds evidence in the Torah that the God of Moses was vain, jealous, angry, vindictive and murderous and that those are the same characteristics of Moses himself. He sees Moses as an extremely bigoted, completely intollerant religious fanatic who assumed the role of God to the Israelites. After two years of study, Paul is appointed a Temple guard with the assignment to bring in members of a religious cult for questioning and possible trial for blasphemy. Anxious to complete the requirements and return to Tarsus, he aggressively pursues the members. He witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus and the stoning of Stephen. He meets a man who, though not a disciple, had followed Jesus long enough to be able to tell Paul about his teachings. The man downplays the significance of the teachings of Jesus: The God of Jesus is not like the God of Moses but is a God of infinite love, mercy, and understanding. Paul believes that this message needs to be given to the world and he is just the one to do it.
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