Slate Editor David Plotz has been guest blogging this week on the Jewish Book Council’s blog and in his most recent post he asks an incredibly interesting question:
“Why have we been so demographically unsuccessful? One important reason, of course, is that we’ve been repeatedly targeted for extermination. But there are others. We’re very finicky about whom we accept, and theologically, we’re pretty rigid. There are only a few varieties of Judaism, but there are practically endless varieties of Christianity, ranging from Orthodox traditions that encourage iconography to Catholic traditions that venerate Mary, to liberation theologies, to throwback Amish and Mennonites, to a Mormon offshoot that supposes Jesus came to America, to a Unitarian tradition that rejects the Trinity.
The monotheism of Christianity has one simple principle—accept Christ and his resurrection, essentially—and allows worshipers to customize the religion in practically any way they see fit. Speak in tongues! Pray to saints! Do a Latin mass! Do a punk service! Christianity has managed to crush or swallow so many other religions because it’s so adaptable.
We’ve managed to avoid being crushed or swallowed. But we’ve also decided not to compete. (Christianity is Toyota. Judaism is Ferrari.)”
The whole article here.
David Plotz is the editor of Slate magazine. His new book Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, is available now.