I Just Read ‘The Great Good Thing’

 

When Ricochet member @andrewklavan posted about his new book called The Great Good Thing – A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ, I was curious. I was curious why he took a little flack from a few Jewish members of Ricochet when he posted about his new book, who didn’t feel he gave Judaism a fair shake. But that’s not why I ordered the book. As a Christian, I was born into the faith, but came to a more personal faith backward and sideways, sometimes kicking and screaming. I was curious to hear about another person’s journey of faith – was it worse than mine?

So I ordered it and threw it up on my bookshelf for another day. Published in 2016, I am three years late in picking it up, but not really. I read it at the perfect time. There are times in a person’s life when a book like this is profound and quite frankly, more appreciated, than other times. The recent deaths of people I love and thoughts about mortality and immortality flowing through my mind, rapidly changing world events, including challenges to people of faith, especially Christians and Jews, with the dramatic rise in antisemitism, religious persecution across the world, and the upcoming peace talks in Israel made it the right time.

This book is a story of a soul – we’re all born with one, and Andrew Klavan, an atheist at one time, then an agnostic, could not shake this truth. His awareness seemed to start at around eight years old. Then there was the abusive father, along with the distant mother. In the midst of great suffering, somehow his spirit was never extinguished. I am amazed at how some people can put in words what cannot be put in words. It’s like he turned himself inside out. Andrew Klavan found the words to hold his heart and soul out to the world, that others might find comfort. This book teaches how fragile children are, how innocent, and how parents especially, form their mental and emotional health and well-being.

I could not put it down. An excerpt:

The human heart is so steeped in self-deception that it can easily outrun our own lies. It can even use meticulous honesty as a form of dishonesty, a way of saying to God, “Look how honest I am “. So I let it go – I let it all go. I swung wide the gates to the sorry junkyard of my soul and let God have a good look at the whole rubble-strewn wreck of it.

Another:

An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will. Happy and sad events, from birth to death, just happen, and we ascribe moral qualities to them as they suit us or don’t. We have to choose. Either there is no God and no morality whatsoever, or there is morality and God is real. I couldn’t quite bring myself to accept the existence of God. But I knew the road to hell when I saw it and I chose to go home by another way.

What does love have to do with his experience, marriage, seeing a birth, being on death’s door, suffering mental anguish beyond description, addiction, anger, forgiveness, miracles, poverty, success, rejection, fear, depression and ultimately peace, have to do with it? Read the book. It doesn’t matter where you are in life, how old, what faith or none, how successful or barely making it – this book has something for wherever you find yourself in life. It will give you hope if nothing else. There is no other reason to write it. I found it to be a gift. It’s a story of the human spirit – and in it, you will discover a better understanding of yourself and your place in this world.

Thank you, Mr. Klavan, for sharing your amazing story.

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There are 75 comments.

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  1. Keith Rice Member

    Because of the fact that assimilation is the #1 reason for the attrition of an already tiny population, we Jews tend to look at converts away as traitors – regardless of the nobility of their sentiment. In fact Chanukah is celebrated and remembered for Jews resisting the attempted forceful conversion of Jews at the hands of the Syrian-Greeks and all other following attempts at forceful conversion, like the Spanish Inquisition … and as we all know by now – no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    What then would be the feelings of betrayal when someone willfully allies with one of our historic oppressors? The whole “Jews for Jesus” has been a sore spot since it began. Jews do feel threatened, not only by anti-semitism and by our small numbers, but by the lack of Jewish presence making the dominant culture naturally attractive.

    Yet, as with love and personal taste, there’s no accounting for an individual’s spiritual inclination. Klavan is a good man with a good heart and while I understand a tacit agreement that Jews owe each other at some fundamental level, I also appreciate that every individual has their own journey.

    Now that I recall, it was a big hit to us when Bob Zimmerman converted to Christianity … but he got over it, people in my childhood community would talk of him occasionally joining them at the Shabbos table. That’s not to say that Klavan is forgiven if he returns to the fold, there’s nothing to forgive he’s doing the right thing for himself.

    • #1
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:04 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. GFHandle Member

    I read it a couple of years ago and really liked it. I loved the first part especially because it reminded me of the country I grew up in. Post-war America was so much freer, so much less angst-riven, and had real heroes walking the streets. I liked the parts about Berkeley because they were funny. The message about love and beauty is at the heart of it, of course.

    I just finished From Fire, by Water by Sohrab Ahmari, which is an engrossing account of a conversion to Catholicism by an Iranian, now American, intellectual. I learned a lot about Iran that I didn’t know and the conversion account is riveting. Highly recommended.

    The comparison is interesting. You can see how the personality of each author affects the kind of conversion he undergoes. Religion fills a deep human need, but that need is felt differently by each of us.

    And on my shelf ready for re-reading is a book I first read over 50 years ago and have never forgotten. Not exactly a conversion story, The Man Who Got Even With God, by M. Raymond, tells about a boy so full of anger he burns down his father’s tobacco barn and runs off to become a cowboy and ends up a Trappist. That one, as I recall, is about channeling rage into something much more positive.

    And I’ve re-dipped into but not finished the Ur text of conversion tales, Augustine’s Confessions. I forget who said, “I like Augustine saved better than Augustine damned,” and I hope it won’t be true for me. But I just finished G.K. Chesterton’s Saint Thomas Aquinas, and I think I am leaning toward his side of the argument with the Augustines.

    BTW, I got to the Chesterton book from the introduction to the third edition of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, A Study in Moral Virtue where he says by the second edition he had become an Aristotelian and by the third, a Thomist (though still, I believe, an agnostic). After Virtue is a hard read, so I am taking a break by following his leads. I even read and loved on his mere mention of it Walter M. Miller, Jr’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, though it is science fiction and that’s nowhere near my favorite genre.

    • #2
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Front Seat Cat: As a Christian, I was born into the faith, but came to a more personal faith backward and sideways, sometimes kicking and screaming.

    Isn’t that all of us?

    • #3
    • May 18, 2019, at 9:57 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Gary McVey Contributor

    Keith Rice (View Comment):

    Because of the fact that assimilation is the #1 reason for the attrition of an already tiny population, we Jews tend to look at converts away as traitors – regardless of the nobility of their sentiment. In fact Chanukah is celebrated and remembered for Jews resisting the attempted forceful conversion of Jews at the hands of the Syrian-Greeks and all other following attempts at forceful conversion, like the Spanish Inquisition … and as we all know by now – no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    What then would be the feelings of betrayal when someone willfully allies with one of our historic oppressors? The whole “Jews for Jesus” has been a sore spot since it began. Jews do feel threatened, not only by anti-semitism and by our small numbers, but by the lack of Jewish presence making the dominant culture naturally attractive.

    Yet, as with love and personal taste, there’s no accounting for an individual’s spiritual inclination. Klavan is a good man with a good heart and while I understand a tacit agreement that Jews owe each other at some fundamental level, I also appreciate that every individual has their own journey.

    Now that I recall, it was a big hit to us when Bob Zimmerman converted to Christianity … but he got over it, people in my childhood community would talk of him occasionally joining them at the Shabbos table. That’s not to say that Klavan is forgiven if he returns to the fold, there’s nothing to forgive he’s doing the right thing for himself.

    Great comment. The issue at the time wasn’t Jewish members giving him flak; they shrugged amiably and wished him good luck, but they didn’t see his conversion as a great gift and a fine example. They don’t feel that something calling itself Messianic Judaism is Judaism, any more than Islamic Christianity would be Christianity. Andrew’s a great writer, Jewish or Christian, and leave it at that.

    • #4
    • May 18, 2019, at 10:24 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. Keith Rice Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Keith Rice (View Comment):

    Because of the fact that assimilation is the #1 reason for the attrition of an already tiny population, we Jews tend to look at converts away as traitors – regardless of the nobility of their sentiment. In fact Chanukah is celebrated and remembered for Jews resisting the attempted forceful conversion of Jews at the hands of the Syrian-Greeks and all other following attempts at forceful conversion, like the Spanish Inquisition … and as we all know by now – no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    What then would be the feelings of betrayal when someone willfully allies with one of our historic oppressors? The whole “Jews for Jesus” has been a sore spot since it began. Jews do feel threatened, not only by anti-semitism and by our small numbers, but by the lack of Jewish presence making the dominant culture naturally attractive.

    Yet, as with love and personal taste, there’s no accounting for an individual’s spiritual inclination. Klavan is a good man with a good heart and while I understand a tacit agreement that Jews owe each other at some fundamental level, I also appreciate that every individual has their own journey.

    Now that I recall, it was a big hit to us when Bob Zimmerman converted to Christianity … but he got over it, people in my childhood community would talk of him occasionally joining them at the Shabbos table. That’s not to say that Klavan is forgiven if he returns to the fold, there’s nothing to forgive he’s doing the right thing for himself.

    Great comment. The issue at the time wasn’t Jewish members giving him flak; they shrugged amiably and wished him good luck, but they didn’t see his conversion as a great gift and a fine example. They don’t feel that something calling itself Messianic Judaism is Judaism, any more than Islamic Christianity would be Christianity. Andrew’s a great writer, Jewish or Christian, and leave it at that.

    Thanks for the clarification … and yeah, “Messianic Judaism” is called “Christianity.”

    • #5
    • May 18, 2019, at 11:32 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. E. Kent Golding Member

    Ultimately, this is an argument about Truth and Reality. If you are convinced Jesus is the Messiah, you go one way. If you are convinced he is not the Messiah, you go another. And if you are not sure, but think it is an important question, you would be wise to keep investigating.

    Ultimately, everyone must decide what they believe for themselves, but their belief doesn’t affect the underlying reality. What is real is real, what is not is not.

    • #6
    • May 19, 2019, at 4:32 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. Podkayne of Israel Member

    The thing is, no matter how good a writer, lucid a thinker, or sincere a soul Klavan is, as a Jew, I will always see the conversion of a fellow Jew to Christianity as a loss to our people and a failure of our community. It is not exactly fair to term Klavan’s case as apostasy, since the thin gruel of “Judaism” on which he was raised consisted political Leftism plus the dogma that Jesus is not the Messiah. The weakness of his Jewish education left him unable to engage with meatier Jewish sources, texts, prayer, and devotional and communal experiences which could have satisfied his hungry soul, but he never acquired the means with which to digest it.

    And that will always leave us sad.

    • #7
    • May 19, 2019, at 4:42 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  8. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat Post author

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Ultimately, this is an argument about Truth and Reality. If you are convinced Jesus is the Messiah, you go one way. If you are convinced he is not the Messiah, you go another. And if you are not sure, but think it is an important question, you would be wise to keep investigating.

    Ultimately, everyone must decide what they believe for themselves, but their belief doesn’t affect the underlying reality. What is real is real, what is not is not.

    This is a point that has been made in many posts here on Ricochet. It is a point that Klavan makes in his book. Is a Jew always a Jew, whether he follows Jesus, or is a non-practicing Jew, as many are? It seems to me the answer is yes, but maybe not to some. That is one part of the book, but it is so much more than that. I was especially taken by how he was treated by his parents, and how fragile little minds are. Yet children know hypocrisy with no one teaching them. Examples to me were by my best friend’s parents who I went to church with for a time when small. They used racial slurs all the time once out of the church. Even at eight, I told my aunt I wanted to stop going and she enrolled me into another denomination. She was a lapsed Catholic.

    • #8
    • May 19, 2019, at 5:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat Post author

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    I read it a couple of years ago and really liked it. I loved the first part especially because it reminded me of the country I grew up in. Post-war America was so much freer, so much less angst-riven, and had real heroes walking the streets. I liked the parts about Berkeley because they were funny. The message about love and beauty is at the heart of it, of course.

    I just finished From Fire, by Water by Sohrab Ahmari, which is an engrossing account of a conversion to Catholicism by an Iranian, now American, intellectual. I learned a lot about Iran that I didn’t know and the conversion account is riveting. Highly recommended.

    The comparison is interesting. You can see how the personality of each author affects the kind of conversion he undergoes. Religion fills a deep human need, but that need is felt differently by each of us.

    And on my shelf ready for re-reading is a book I first read over 50 years ago and have never forgotten. Not exactly a conversion story, The Man Who Got Even With God, by M. Raymond, tells about a boy so full of anger he burns down his father’s tobacco barn and runs off to become a cowboy and ends up a Trappist. That one, as I recall, is about channeling rage into something much more positive.

    And I’ve re-dipped into but not finished the Ur text of conversion tales, Augustine’s Confessions. I forget who said, “I like Augustine saved better than Augustine damned,” and I hope it won’t be true for me. But I just finished G.K. Chesterton’s Saint Thomas Aquinas, and I think I am leaning toward his side of the argument with the Augustines.

    BTW, I got to the Chesterton book from the introduction to the third edition of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, A Study in Moral Virtue where he says by the second edition he had become an Aristotelian and by the third, a Thomist (though still, I believe, an agnostic). After Virtue is a hard read, so I am taking a break by following his leads. I even read and loved on his mere mention of it Walter M. Miller, Jr’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, though it is science fiction and that’s nowhere near my favorite genre.

    Thank you for these recommendations – very interesting.

    • #9
    • May 19, 2019, at 5:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    Keith Rice (View Comment):
    Now that I recall, it was a big hit to us when Bob Zimmerman converted to Christianity … but he got over it, people in my childhood community would talk of him occasionally joining them at the Shabbos table. That’s not to say that Klavan is forgiven if he returns to the fold, there’s nothing to forgive he’s doing the right thing for himself.

    It’s interesting to note that Bob Zimmerman’s step-daughter and her husband are Orthodox Jews and are raising their children as such. It should also be noted that, according to halacha or Torah law, Jewish identity — as long as you have a Jewish mother — is not invalidated by conversion to another faith. Once a Jew, always a Jew. Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger was a Jew who became archbishop of Paris. He always considered himself a Jew and was even seen, on occasion, entering a synagogue to recite kaddish, a series of praises to G-d offered in every prayer service and typically associated with mourning, especially for parents.

    • #10
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:15 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  11. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Keith Rice (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Keith Rice (View Comment):

    Because of the fact that assimilation is the #1 reason for the attrition of an already tiny population, we Jews tend to look at converts away as traitors – regardless of the nobility of their sentiment. In fact Chanukah is celebrated and remembered for Jews resisting the attempted forceful conversion of Jews at the hands of the Syrian-Greeks and all other following attempts at forceful conversion, like the Spanish Inquisition … and as we all know by now – no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    What then would be the feelings of betrayal when someone willfully allies with one of our historic oppressors? The whole “Jews for Jesus” has been a sore spot since it began. Jews do feel threatened, not only by anti-semitism and by our small numbers, but by the lack of Jewish presence making the dominant culture naturally attractive.

    Yet, as with love and personal taste, there’s no accounting for an individual’s spiritual inclination. Klavan is a good man with a good heart and while I understand a tacit agreement that Jews owe each other at some fundamental level, I also appreciate that every individual has their own journey.

    Now that I recall, it was a big hit to us when Bob Zimmerman converted to Christianity … but he got over it, people in my childhood community would talk of him occasionally joining them at the Shabbos table. That’s not to say that Klavan is forgiven if he returns to the fold, there’s nothing to forgive he’s doing the right thing for himself.

    Great comment. The issue at the time wasn’t Jewish members giving him flak; they shrugged amiably and wished him good luck, but they didn’t see his conversion as a great gift and a fine example. They don’t feel that something calling itself Messianic Judaism is Judaism, any more than Islamic Christianity would be Christianity. Andrew’s a great writer, Jewish or Christian, and leave it at that.

    Thanks for the clarification … and yeah, “Messianic Judaism” is called “Christianity.”

     

    My Messianic Jewish friends don’t see it that way and have chosen the appellation for historical reasons. 

    • #11
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I very much liked Klavan’s book, too. I have one correction. Based on my recollection, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize his father as “abusive.” They had a difficult relationship, but it didn’t seem like abuse to me.

    • #12
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I read Klavan’s book a while back, and I was one of those feeling distressed about his conversion. It wasn’t that he was wrong or bad, but I felt that he never really knew what Judaism was. I’ve been on my path for a while as a returning Jew, and I’ve barely begun my journey. So as @podkayneofisrael said, I felt a sadness, a loss, not just because he converted, but he never knew what he left.

    • #13
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:16 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  14. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat Post author

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Keith Rice (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Keith Rice (View Comment):

    Because of the fact that assimilation is the #1 reason for the attrition of an already tiny population, we Jews tend to look at converts away as traitors – regardless of the nobility of their sentiment. In fact Chanukah is celebrated and remembered for Jews resisting the attempted forceful conversion of Jews at the hands of the Syrian-Greeks and all other following attempts at forceful conversion, like the Spanish Inquisition … and as we all know by now – no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    What then would be the feelings of betrayal when someone willfully allies with one of our historic oppressors? The whole “Jews for Jesus” has been a sore spot since it began. Jews do feel threatened, not only by anti-semitism and by our small numbers, but by the lack of Jewish presence making the dominant culture naturally attractive.

    Yet, as with love and personal taste, there’s no accounting for an individual’s spiritual inclination. Klavan is a good man with a good heart and while I understand a tacit agreement that Jews owe each other at some fundamental level, I also appreciate that every individual has their own journey.

    Now that I recall, it was a big hit to us when Bob Zimmerman converted to Christianity … but he got over it, people in my childhood community would talk of him occasionally joining them at the Shabbos table. That’s not to say that Klavan is forgiven if he returns to the fold, there’s nothing to forgive he’s doing the right thing for himself.

    Great comment. The issue at the time wasn’t Jewish members giving him flak; they shrugged amiably and wished him good luck, but they didn’t see his conversion as a great gift and a fine example. They don’t feel that something calling itself Messianic Judaism is Judaism, any more than Islamic Christianity would be Christianity. Andrew’s a great writer, Jewish or Christian, and leave it at that.

    Thanks for the clarification … and yeah, “Messianic Judaism” is called “Christianity.”

     

    My Messianic Jewish friends don’t see it that way and have chosen the appellation for historical reasons.

    Some of the more prominent Messianic Jews that are in public life would agree – they still honor the Jewish holy days and embrace their Jewishness – this is something I don’t do as a Christian because I’m not Jewish – but I feel a part of the Jewish faith because the Old Testament or The Torah is a part of my Bible, and the entire history of the Jews is my history too. As Christians believe, God took on human form and chose the Jewish race and faith to do it.

    • #14
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:34 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat Post author

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I very much liked Klavan’s book, too. I have one correction. Based on my recollection, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize his father as “abusive.” They had a difficult relationship, but it didn’t seem like abuse to me.

    He was physically and emotionally abused – almost terrorized is the way I would interpret it.

    • #15
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat Post author

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I read Klavan’s book a while back, and I was one of those feeling distressed about his conversion. It wasn’t that he was wrong or bad, but I felt that he never really knew what Judaism was. I’ve been on my path for a while as a returning Jew, and I’ve barely begun my journey. So as @podkayneofisrael said, I felt a sadness, a loss, not just because he converted, but he never knew what he left.

    I hope you won’t take this the wrong way but I have wanted to ask you something in keeping with this subject. You started out formally in Jewish life, as Klavan did, then did you become agnostic? I know at one time you became a follower of the Buddhist faith – so were you still Jewish? In other words, because Klavan is a follower of Christianity, does he become less Jewish? 

    • #16
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:41 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I felt a sadness, a loss, not just because he converted, but he never knew what he left.

    It reminds me of non-observant Jewish parents (or one Jewish and one non-Jewish parent) who tell the world: “When our kids grow up, they will be free to choose whether they want to practice Judaism or not.” But the kids have no inkling of what Judaism is all about so the idea of choosing Jewish practice is absurd.

    • #17
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    As Christians believe, God took on human form and chose the Jewish race and faith to do it.

    Just to be precise, FSC–Judaism isn’t a race. Every race in the world has Jews.

    • #18
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I read Klavan’s book a while back, and I was one of those feeling distressed about his conversion. It wasn’t that he was wrong or bad, but I felt that he never really knew what Judaism was. I’ve been on my path for a while as a returning Jew, and I’ve barely begun my journey. So as @podkayneofisrael said, I felt a sadness, a loss, not just because he converted, but he never knew what he left.

    I hope you won’t take this the wrong way but I have wanted to ask you something in keeping with this subject. You started out formally in Jewish life, as Klavan did, then did you become agnostic? I know at one time you became a follower of the Buddhist faith – so were you still Jewish? In other words, because Klavan is a follower of Christianity, does he become less Jewish?

    I didn’t become agnostic. I just wasn’t practicing. I’ve always believed in G-d, and now more than ever. Buddhism doesn’t include G-d, but it has no problem with a person who invites G-d into his or her life. Also, you don’t “convert” to become Buddhist. You can formally accept the precepts (which are like the ten commandments), and I did this, but I didn’t have to give up anything from Judaism to do so. Now some people (men and women) become Buddhist priests, but I never did that: it means putting Buddhism number one in your life. Not.

    So I’ve always been Jewish and always said I was both Jewish and Buddhist. I called myself a Buju–anyone remember when I called myself Susan the Buju on Ricochet? (I put the Bu first because I was actively practicing Buddhism.) I don’t think there are degrees of Jewishness–you either are or aren’t Jewish. If you are born of a Jewish mother, you’re Jewish. But @yehoshuabeneliyahu might be a better person to comment on “partial Judaism”!

    • #19
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    Being a little bit Jewish is like being a little bit pregnant.

    • #20
    • May 19, 2019, at 8:17 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    As Christians believe, God took on human form and chose the Jewish race and faith to do it.

    Just to be precise, FSC–Judaism isn’t a race. Every race in the world has Jews.

    There was recently an episode of “Fokus Jerusalem” which featured Jews from India making Aliyah to Israel and they did not look central-western European in the general features. From one man has the LORD made all the peoples of the Earth. 

    • #21
    • May 19, 2019, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Dave Carter Contributor

    I read Andrew’s book about a year and a half ago and was so moved that I invited him on my podcast to discuss his book and experience. Andrew was, of course magnificent. Here’s the link

    • #22
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:17 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  23. garyinabq Member

    There is so much history here between Christians and Jews. But that is not the point. The only point is what happened 2000 years ago and who got it right, or wrong. Of course, that too is part of the plan.

    • #23
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Henry Castaigne Member

    I didn’t like Andrew Klavan’s book. Maybe it’s because I’m agnostic but I couldn’t see into her eternal world. Where is the joy that comes from believing in G-d? I didn’t get it. 

    • #24
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. HeavyWater Inactive

    It’s interesting how Andrew Klavan’s experience with Judaism and Christianity is different from David Horowitz’s experience.

    David Horowitz was the child of two Jewish schoolteachers who were staunch communistis at the height of the Cold War. Horowitz followed in his parents’ footsteps for a time. But Horowitz became disillusioned with Marxism when he learned that the Black Panthers killed a friend of his and he felt partially responsible because he had introduced his friend to the Panthers.

    But Horowitz’s change of political views didn’t induce him to become either a devout Jew or a Christian or a member of any other religious group. He instead became a non-religious conservative. He wrote up his story in a fascinating book titled, “Radical Son.”

    I personally find Horowitz’s agnosticism more congenial because it’s more humble. There could be a God. But even if there is a God, we really don’t know what God likes and what God does not like. At this point someone like Andrew Klavan might point to the New Testament just as the Jew might point to the Hebrew Bible. But to even claim that these books were authorized or inspired by God is to go further than I can go and still be intellectually honest with myself.

    Sometimes, “I don’t know,” is the most honest answer one can give. That’s why agnosticism continues to have an appeal to me that neither Christianity, nor Judaism nor Islam has.

    • #25
    • May 20, 2019, at 1:54 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Gary McVey Contributor

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It’s interesting how Andrew Klavan’s experience with Judaism and Christianity is different from David Horowitz’s experience.

    David Horowitz was the child of two Jewish schoolteachers who were staunch communistis at the height of the Cold War. Horowitz followed in his parents’ footsteps for a time. But Horowitz became disillusioned with Marxism when he learned that the Black Panthers killed a friend of his and he felt partially responsible because he had introduced his friend to the Panthers.

    But Horowitz’s change of political views didn’t induce him to become either a devout Jew or a Christian or a member of any other religious group. He instead became a non-religious conservative. He wrote up his story in a fascinating book titled, “Radical Son.”

    I personally find Horowitz’s agnosticism more congenial because it’s more humble. There could be a God. But even if there is a God, we really don’t know what God likes and what God does not like. At this point someone like Andrew Klavan might point to the New Testament just as the Jew might point to the Hebrew Bible. But to even claim that these books were authorized or inspired by God is to go further than I can go and still be intellectually honest with myself.

    Sometimes, “I don’t know,” is the most honest answer one can give. That’s why agnosticism continues to have an appeal to me that neither Christianity, nor Judaism nor Islam has.

    David’s a terrific writer, and Radical Son is an important book that even the Left should try to honestly deal with. They won’t. 

    • #26
    • May 20, 2019, at 2:10 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  27. HeavyWater Inactive

    Another comparison might be made between Andrew Klavan and Dennis Prager. Prager believes in God. Yet Prager has embraced Judaism, not Christianity.

    I noticed when I read reviews of one of Dennis Prager’s book on Amazon’s web page that some Christians warn readers to not place too much value on the views of someone who is “unregenerated,” in other words, someone who has not accept Jesus.

    This is a issue that’s hard to resolve. The Jew, the Christian and the Muslim all say they believe in God. Yet their views regarding God’s personality differ and yet all of these descriptions of God seem like speculation and/or mythology.

    • #27
    • May 20, 2019, at 2:12 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Gary McVey Contributor

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Another comparison might be made between Andrew Klavan and Dennis Prager. Prager believes in God. Yet Prager has embraced Judaism, not Christianity.

    I noticed when I read reviews of one of Dennis Prager’s book on Amazon’s web page that some Christians warn readers to not place too much value on the views of someone who is “unregenerated,” in other words, someone who has not accept Jesus.

    This is a issue that’s hard to resolve. The Jew, the Christian and the Muslim all say they believe in God. Yet their views regarding God’s personality differ and yet all of these descriptions of God seem like speculation and/or mythology.

    To be fair, HW, each conception took place with different people and different circumstances. It’s not unreasonable to look at the relative convergence of some of the core principles of all of them as Abrahamic faiths. Does that sweep a lot of differences under the rug? You betcha. But is it true? That’s a tough one. 

    Tom Friedman once said that for Muslims, Islam is God 3.0, Christianity is God 2.0, Judaism is God 1.0, and Hinduism is God 0.0. 

    • #28
    • May 20, 2019, at 2:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. HeavyWater Inactive

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Another comparison might be made between Andrew Klavan and Dennis Prager. Prager believes in God. Yet Prager has embraced Judaism, not Christianity.

    I noticed when I read reviews of one of Dennis Prager’s book on Amazon’s web page that some Christians warn readers to not place too much value on the views of someone who is “unregenerated,” in other words, someone who has not accept Jesus.

    This is a issue that’s hard to resolve. The Jew, the Christian and the Muslim all say they believe in God. Yet their views regarding God’s personality differ and yet all of these descriptions of God seem like speculation and/or mythology.

    To be fair, HW, each conception took place with different people and different circumstances. It’s not unreasonable to look at the relative convergence of some of the core principles of all of them as Abrahamic faiths. Does that sweep a lot of differences under the rug? You betcha. But is it true? That’s a tough one.

    Tom Friedman once said that for Muslims, Islam is God 3.0, Christianity is God 2.0, Judaism is God 1.0, and Hinduism is God 0.0.

    Sure. Andrew Klavan’s version of Christianity is God 5478.9684.

    All of us have our own ideas about God. And they might be different at different times in our lives.

     

    • #29
    • May 20, 2019, at 3:00 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Podkayne of Israel Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It’s interesting how Andrew Klavan’s experience with Judaism and Christianity is different from David Horowitz’s experience.

    David Horowitz was the child of two Jewish schoolteachers who were staunch communistis at the height of the Cold War. Horowitz followed in his parents’ footsteps for a time. But Horowitz became disillusioned with Marxism when he learned that the Black Panthers killed a friend of his and he felt partially responsible because he had introduced his friend to the Panthers.

    But Horowitz’s change of political views didn’t induce him to become either a devout Jew or a Christian or a member of any other religious group. He instead became a non-religious conservative. He wrote up his story in a fascinating book titled, “Radical Son.”

    I personally find Horowitz’s agnosticism more congenial because it’s more humble. There could be a God. But even if there is a God, we really don’t know what God likes and what God does not like. At this point someone like Andrew Klavan might point to the New Testament just as the Jew might point to the Hebrew Bible. But to even claim that these books were authorized or inspired by God is to go further than I can go and still be intellectually honest with myself.

    Sometimes, “I don’t know,” is the most honest answer one can give. That’s why agnosticism continues to have an appeal to me that neither Christianity, nor Judaism nor Islam has.

    David’s a terrific writer, and Radical Son is an important book that even the Left should try to honestly deal with. They won’t.

    Radical Son is a non-fictional Darkness At Noon  for the 60’s.

    • #30
    • May 20, 2019, at 4:46 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
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