Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just the Right Amount of Blasphemy

There are few books that I get really, really excited about.  I have been wanting to read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore since it initially came out in 2000.  The premise of the novel is absolutely brilliant.  Within the text of The Bible there are serious gaps in the life of Jesus, and roughly thirty years are missing.  Moore sought to tell the rest of the story.  

The rest of the story is how Jesus goes on a quest to find the Three Wise Men to learn what it means to be a Messiah.  Biff, Jesus' best friend, who is conveniently left out of The Bible, fills in the details about the son of God's spiritual journey.  He provides a good counterpoint to Jesus because while Jesus contemplates deep issues, Biff only thinks about material comforts and bedding women.  These two set out from Nazareth and travel throughout the Middle East and Asia, befriending a diverse group of people along the way who teach them all about Buddhism, Confucianism, and of course kung fu.  Upon the completion of his spiritual training, Jesus and Biff head home to Nazareth and begin to build a group of followers.  

Without giving away anything, the rest of the story expands upon the events The Bible outlines.  Unless you have had absolutely no religious exposure, you know where this is heading.  It's how you get to the point of the crucifixion, that matters.  This book is one of the most hilarious novels I've read in a long time, the type that will make me get stared at as I laugh out loud in public.  I can understand how a person with deep religious beliefs may find this book blasphemous, but, as Christopher Moore points out, those people aren't likely to read it in the first place.  As for my opinion on the subject, I don't think that Moore intends to offend people and he generally paints Jesus in a positive light.  I personally don't have strong beliefs, and I think that any God of mine probably has a good sense of humour. 

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