Friday, January 26, 2024

 The first new history-based theory regarding the origin of Christianity in more than 170 years.

Available from Nova Science publishers. 


Rodney Stark

Codirector, Institute for Studies of Religion

Baylor University

Your book is astonishing. As a person who has openly confessed to having trouble with faith, I was overwhelmed with the logic and depth of understanding in The Other Jesus. You have explained the origin of Christianity in a way that clarifies what has too long been obscure.

James Russell Kirkland

Professor, University of Georgia,  Department of Religious Studies (retired)

Thank you for your profound book. I wish it had been available when I was teaching at the University of Georgia. It answers so many questions that have puzzled religious historians like me for years.

Msgr. John Meier

Religious scholar and Roman Catholic priest

Thank you for sharing your book with me. As a devout member of the Church, I cannot accept your findings. However, as a scholar, I can find no fault in your research. As I previously noted, Jesus could not have intended to found a church because he found a church already existing. Early sources, however, agree Jesus did extraordinary things not easily explained by human means. That is enough for me.

Robert C. Gregg

Dean, Religious Life, Stanford University

Your book serves as an important reminder of how our knowledge of religious history expands. It will not affect the existence of Christianity but, I suspect, will widen appreciation for its worldwide success despite its murky origins. I am particularly impressed that The Other Jesus is written so laymen can understand it.

Dr. A. Ronald Tonks

Assistant Archivist, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee

Author:  Faith, Stars, and Stripes: The Impact of Christianity on the Life History of America (1976)

What an incredible, original theory. I have always been buoyed by my faith, but, as an historian, I am gratified to finally have some of the most significant questions in Christian history have finally been answered. Congratulations.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Chauvin Trial Revives Societal Wounds

The ongoing trial of police officer Derek Chauvin has laid bare the raw, throbbing seam between the left and right wings in this country.  The conservatives see Chauvin as a dedicated policeman, who, threatened by a mob, acted responsibly to subdue a suspect who was under the influence of drugs and unfortunately died.  Progressives see an overzealous policeman who violated department policy and unnecessarily restrained a minority suspect and deliberately killed him. The two views are irreconcilable.

A jury will decide Chauvin’s fate.  However, regardless of the verdict, progressives will win.  They have always won since this country was founded.

Progressives wrote the Declaration of Independence and led the battle to throw off English rule.  Conservatives, then called Tories, opposed them.  Gen. George Washington’s troops did not freeze at Valley Forge just because of the weather.  They were denied supplies by Tories in Philadelphia who wined and dined English officers instead.  Eventually, Tories either reluctantly became Americans or fled to Canada.

Progressives wrote the Constitution, eventually adding the Bill of Rights, which are the most radical statement of human rights ever committed to paper.  They include the one amendment beloved by conservatives: the right to bear arms.

 Since then, progressives ended slavery, child labor and monopolies.  They set working hours, demanded and obtained safety regulations, created Social Security and a host of other laws designed to improving working and living conditions.  Many of these ideas were initiated by the Socialist Party and then adopted by progressives, initially in the Republican Party and promoted by such political leaders as Theodore Roosevelt.

 They were continually opposed to conservatives, who objected to almost any advance as being un-American and contrary to natural order.  Conservatives opposed radio, insisting the sets gave off rays that would hurt listeners.  They objected to movies, imposing censorship.  They objected to television, reviving old complaints about radio.  They tried to impose morality through Prohibition, voted against giving women the right to vote, imposed quota systems to limit immigration and maintained laws to block racial equality  Conservatives opposed the League of Nations, helping precipitate World War II.  They fought American entry into the war.  Had they succeeded in blocking our participation, half the world today would be under Nazi control.  

 It should be no surprise that the conservative icon Donald Trump was the first American president endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party and the Taliban.

 Today, conservatives are busily trying to restrict voting rights.

 Again, eventually, they will lose.  Americans, like all people, opt for increased rights and opportunities.  The most common motif in movies, our most-invasive and pervasive medium, reflects that.  Constantly, heroes fight against the rich and powerful.  The list is endless.  To name just a few: Roadhouse, Pale Rider, Bond movies after communism faded and so many more.  The American Dream contains at its heart the ideal vision of living in a home, unbothered by civil authorities with freedom to live unfettered by restrictive rules and regulations.

That seems ideal, but the end of liberalism is anarchy, which is why conservatives are so focused on law and order.  On the other hand, the final stop on the conservative spectrum is oligarchy, where the few rich and powerful control everything.  It’s no wonder Putin, Kim and other dictators serves as the models for conservatives. And why the FBI has identified white supremacists militia as the big threats to American security.   Progressives didn’t attack the Capitol; conservatives did.  Progressive tend to shun armament; conservatives embrace them.

In the end, we will continue to move along the progressive road.  All societies do and have done so historically.  Eventually, the overriding Catholic Church fell beneath the wheels of the Enlightenment; Communist Russia collapsed; China has liberalized its policies; and Saudi Arabia is easing up its constraint on women. 

It's inevitable.

The battles between left and right wings won’t cease anytime soon.  Sometimes, they will collide such as is happening in Minnesota with the Chauvin trial.  Sometimes, they were cross swords over the ballot box.  Regardless, if history is a guide, eventually the center will continue to slide toward the left, dragging the right with it like an anchor.



Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history with an occasional foray into American culture.  He holds an ABD in American Studies from Case Western Reserve (OH) University and an M.A. in journalism from Kent State (OH) University.   A resident of Ormond Beach, Fla., he also speaks at various religious organizations throughout the state.  You can reach him at or through his website He is the author of the several novels Revelation! (Southern Owl Press) and The Great Seer Nostradamus Tells All (Bold Venture Press) as well as a variety of nonfiction books, including Messiah: A History of One of the World’s Most Enduring Ideas (Bold Venture) ;  and Comparative Religion for Dummies (Wiley Press).  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.












Sunday, December 20, 2020

Walking in a Pandemic

Recently, just after sundown, my wife and I drove to Rockefeller Park where we used to walk our dogs before COVID-19.  For several years, Kathy and I were guides at the Casements during the day.  From about 6 to 8 p.m. virtually every night for years, we would walk typically through Rockefeller and the attached Fortunato Park, enjoying the boats and occasional dolphins and manatees in the Halifax River. 

We developed friendships with many of the dog owners who joined us and loved the many trees, wide swaths of grass, benches and playground.

 Kathy wanted to see the lights.  Annually, the Casements gets all decorated for Christmas and hosts a fundraising gala that lasts two weeks.  I always volunteered to help with the little two-car train which carried children around the park during the gale.  Over the years, the Casements has added a giant Christmas tree and other decorations for the festive occasion. 

This evening, the tree was brilliant in its usual white lights while the area contained many different displays and ornaments.  As usual, the Casements was festooned with rows of colored lights.

Yet, it was all so different.

Only a few people were there, unlike the hundreds who came to the opening ceremony every year for the music, lights and food.  We saw only one person with two dogs.  I didn’t recognize him and then realized I couldn’t remember the names of many of the dogs.  I could picture the animals, just not their names, although I could remember the owners.  Of course, many dogs have died in the last year, just as our two did.  I learned that through emails and calls, but had no way to share hugs.  We warily avoided everyone.  No more walking in groups and chatting.  We noticed park improvements made in the nine months, but had to take a circuitous route to evade contact.

We talked to one woman about the stars.   She was looking for the “star of Bethlehem,” the conjuncture of Jupiter and Saturn which supposedly forms a cross.  We chatted at more than social distance,.  The woman was as leery as we were.

On the ride home, we both recognized how much had changed since we went into isolation in March.  We no longer hear from park friends.  I call and write because that’s my nature.  Most have moved on.  They are pleasant enough if I reach them, but don’t call back or reach out.  Now, we shy away from contact.  We couldn’t even get close enough to pet a dog.

We enjoyed walking around both parks.  It brought back such fond memories.  Our stroll also reminded us how much we have lost in just a few months.  I doubt we will ever be able to rebuild that community.