Who Takes Away the Sins of the World

“LAMB” is a book. “LAMB” is a very entertaining book.

“LAMB” is the kind of book that, if Christians had the equivalent of fatwa, should’ve gotten author Christopher Moore killed seventy times seven times.

It’s the kind of book that gets good, pious panties all up in a bunch, which is fine by me really.

Briefly: “LAMB” is the story of Joshua (Anglicized “Yeshua”) – confused son of God – and his best friend Levi who is called Biff. Joshua and Biff travel to the east in search of the Three Wise Men, so that Joshua may learn how to be the Messiah. Along the way they learn much about philosophy, humanity and sex.

Lots and lots of sex.

I suppose it says a lot about me that I find a twisted version of Jesus’ life incredibly funny but bristle at the inconsistencies in Moore’s explanation of Eastern philosophy and religion.

He made several crucial mistakes, particularly in his interpretation of “wu wei” (inaction) and his claim that Gautama Buddha was a bodhisattva. There’s a reason why the title “buddha” was appended to his name, buddy.

And his depiction of the Cult of Kali was straight out of Indiana Jones, which is quite unfair, inaccurate and straight-up gross. I’m refraining from a tirade on the author’s Orientalist tone, because then you’d never hear the end of it.

The point, though, is that in a novel that plays fast and loose with Jesus’ life, the philosophical teachings he receives along the way should have been solid as rock. Otherwise, there’s no tying them to the development of Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament, right?

They’re supposed to be the controlled variables in a jumble of wild, Maury Povich-level variables, is what I’m saying.

But “LAMB” is a very good book, flaws and all. Some jokes are corny, some fall flat, and Biff can be annoying as fuck. Nevertheless, Moore presents a very human portrayal of his characters, divine origin or not.

I’m not religious. I’m sort of 90% Buddhist and 10% Christian – almost two decades of Christian education has made “oh my effing Lord please help me” prayers second nature already. I’ve read the Bible so many times I’ve lost count, and yet not once have I felt anything akin to emotion while reading the events leading to the crucifixion.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve always believed that Jesus was in on the plan, that he’d known about everything all along. That it was a conscious decision on his part, sort of a kamikaze mission even. If anything, I thought he viewed the crucifixion as an annoyance he simply had to go through to get rid of his mortal body and drive home the message before he went flying back home to heaven.
Reading “LAMB” reminded me of the prayer in Gethsemane – a crucial part of Jesus’ final hours yet rarely the focus of any Bible discussion. Holy Week themes revolve around thorns and the seven last words far too much.

In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed. It wasn’t a prayer of triumph, or excitement in what was to come. He was afraid. Completely and utterly afraid.

Sometimes, when I think the world is crashing down and everything’s gone to hell, I shut my eyes and pray. Because I’m afraid. Completely and utterly afraid.

It’s human. All too human.

And in that respect alone, Christopher Moore succeeds where apostles have failed.


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