GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast

107. The Life Wisdom Project | The Encounter With Novelty And Living Truthfully | Special Guest: Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum

December 29, 2022 Jerry L Martin, Jonathan Weidenbaum, Scott Langdon, Abigail Rosenthal
107. The Life Wisdom Project | The Encounter With Novelty And Living Truthfully | Special Guest: Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum
GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
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GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
107. The Life Wisdom Project | The Encounter With Novelty And Living Truthfully | Special Guest: Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum
Dec 29, 2022
Jerry L Martin, Jonathan Weidenbaum, Scott Langdon, Abigail Rosenthal

Questions? Comments? Text Us!

How can we live better, healthier, happier, and wiser lives? The Life Wisdom Project explores lessons and insight from each chapter of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher and the takeaways for everyday living. 

Meet Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum, who teaches courses in philosophy, world religions, ethics, and bioethics at Berkeley College in NYC and St John’s University in Queens. He writes and publishes in the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of humor, among other topics.

This philosophical and spiritual conversation between friends will provide inspirational answers that may surprise you and motivate your spiritual journey! Inspired by a gentle, understanding God, Jonathan and Jerry talk about living truthfully, the power to doubt, and appreciating others’ worldviews.

What is the canary in the mine?

We revisit I Ask God About The Beliefs I Grew Up With, the third episode of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast, and the dramatic adaptation of the book:

Jerry wonders if he is living a life of truth and proposes to Abigail. God and Jerry have a deep conversation about Christianity, Jesus, Jews, and the covenant. Jerry asks God difficult questions and receives unsettling answers, and he struggles to share these answers with his Jewish wife, Abigail.

Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.

Begin the dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher

Related Episodes:
[Dramatic Adaptation] 3. I Ask God About The Beliefs I Grew Up With [The Life Wisdom Project] 93. Introducing The Life Wisdom Project | 94. Tuning In To God | 99. A Lesson In Obedience

Related Content: [Video] Dr Jerry L. Martin and The Theology Without Walls Mission | God, What About Sin? |

Share Your Story | Site | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube |

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Questions? Comments? Text Us!

How can we live better, healthier, happier, and wiser lives? The Life Wisdom Project explores lessons and insight from each chapter of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher and the takeaways for everyday living. 

Meet Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum, who teaches courses in philosophy, world religions, ethics, and bioethics at Berkeley College in NYC and St John’s University in Queens. He writes and publishes in the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of humor, among other topics.

This philosophical and spiritual conversation between friends will provide inspirational answers that may surprise you and motivate your spiritual journey! Inspired by a gentle, understanding God, Jonathan and Jerry talk about living truthfully, the power to doubt, and appreciating others’ worldviews.

What is the canary in the mine?

We revisit I Ask God About The Beliefs I Grew Up With, the third episode of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast, and the dramatic adaptation of the book:

Jerry wonders if he is living a life of truth and proposes to Abigail. God and Jerry have a deep conversation about Christianity, Jesus, Jews, and the covenant. Jerry asks God difficult questions and receives unsettling answers, and he struggles to share these answers with his Jewish wife, Abigail.

Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.

Begin the dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher

Related Episodes:
[Dramatic Adaptation] 3. I Ask God About The Beliefs I Grew Up With [The Life Wisdom Project] 93. Introducing The Life Wisdom Project | 94. Tuning In To God | 99. A Lesson In Obedience

Related Content: [Video] Dr Jerry L. Martin and The Theology Without Walls Mission | God, What About Sin? |

Share Your Story | Site | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube |

Scott Langdon [00:00:17] This is God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin. He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him. Episode 107. 

Scott Langdon [00:01:05] Hello and welcome to Episode 107 of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast and this third edition of our series, The Life Wisdom Project. I'm Scott Langdon. And in this episode, Dr. Jerry Martin talks with Jonathan Weidenbaum, professor of philosophy and World Religions at Berkeley College in New York, about his thoughts and reflections on Episode three of our podcast. Episode three is adapted from chapters two and three of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher and tells of Jerry and Abigail's relationship transition from dating to marriage. During this time, God remained as present as ever, even as some of what God told Jerry proved difficult to understand. Remember, you can hear the complete audio adaptation of the book any time by beginning with episode one of our podcast and listening through episode 44. We begin with Jerry speaking first. I hope you enjoy the episode. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:11] Well, I'm very pleased to have Jonathan Weidenbaum here to discuss episode three with me for the Life Wisdom series. I first met Jonathan when we were both contributors of chapters to a book on Models of God and Other Ultimate Realities. And I well remember the first time I ever met Jonathan. He had written a very interesting paper on William James, the American psychologist who's one of my favorite authors and thinkers. And I sent him a draft of mine as well. And it's typical of Jonathan that he started engaging the draft before finishing reading it. Just- I was getting emails from him with questions, comments and so forth. And you can see paragraph by paragraph almost as he went through, and that's typical of the zest and energy and intensity and thoughtfulness that Jonathan Weidenbaum brings to life and to his remarkable teaching. A very engaging, challenging teacher as well. And from that point on, he got involved in the Theology Without Walls project. And so we would see each other from time to time at conferences or occasionally meet in New York City when we were in town and took it from there. So, very glad to have him here with me for this episode. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:34] Well, welcome Jonathan Weidenbaum, so pleased to have you join me here where we try to figure out by this case episode three, some kind of life wisdom. What we mean by life wisdom isn't necessarily insights you have on the high Himalayas, but lessons useful for daily life. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:03:54] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:56] Daily life is very serious after all. And that's where most of us live most of the time. And we exchanged emails about this. You know, having gone listened to the episode again and read the transcript, a theme I pulled out is living truthfully. And I was very struck by what you pulled out is about the new and the old. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:04:18] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:19] And you use this arresting phrase- the encounter with novelty. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:04:23] You know, I noticed that one figure that is correct to say that in your book, the God book, if you will, Buber is mentioned a number of times. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:33] Yes.

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:04:33] The Jewish philosopher theologian Martin Buber. Buber, I think probably his most beloved quote, at least from his philosophy of dialogue phase is "All real living is meeting."

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:43] Yes. Right. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:04:44] And for my guess, extending that to a hermeneutic type perspective, it's like we carry with us a horizon of meaning and then we... something erupts and there's the new. And how do we handle that new? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:55] Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:04:55] You know, so that is kind of what I mean by the encounter with novelty. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:59] Yes. And of course, in this very episode, Jesus is announcing a new covenant, or at least I'm referring to that. And there's already a covenant, after all. And I'm very puzzled about. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:05:15] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:16] Should the Jews have accepted the New Covenant? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:05:19] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:20] And the answer I get disturbing. “Yes.” Well does that mean it invalidates the old? “No.” The old is still valid. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:05:29] No supersessionism there. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yeah. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:33] And that's-- And that's because we tend to think new ideas replace old ideas, right? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:05:39] Yeah, you do. Except that maybe when it comes to spiritual things, it's a question of it's something simply growing larger and richer. Right. Where the earlier-- and remember it's interesting, I mean, I guess it'll be interesting to ask God about forms of Judaism, post-Second Temple. You know, rabbinic Judaism, Hasidic Judaism, you know, all these different movements and permutations of Judaism over time. I think the Babylonian Talmud was canonized in the fifth century A.D., if I'm not mistaken. So, you know, Judaism also didn't lay static. It was-- it kept recreating itself. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:11]  Yeah and there are new things within Judaism within any given tradition.

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:06:15] Yeah. So does that invalidate the world of the Pharisees? Does that validate the world of any chapter of biblical Ju-- You know, they-- maybe each are complete to its own in its own way, but it also grows richer in some ways, you know, and one can find the route to the divine, let's say, through different stages. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:33] Yes.

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:06:34] You know, it's interesting, Jerry. This is what I wrote you. I-- Hearing it twice and reading it twice in the, in my copy of the God book, and also--. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:45] Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:06:45] When I first read it, then I said, okay, let me prepare for this. And you had not yet emailed me and told me you wanted to concentrate simply on life wisdom and the practical and the moral. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:57] Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:06:57] So I was thinking about things metaphysical and theological. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:07:01] Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:07:01] And in regard to the encounter of the novel of the new, you know, and the way in which our old world of meaning, you know, can can sometimes eclipse the new, let's say. I-- in particular, in regards to Jesus and the person of Jesus in particular, I think of Martin Buber talking about Judaism over time. And he pleased a lot of Christian theologians of his time and sort of giving Jesus a very more positive place in the history of Jewish movements, of course, without being a Christian while remaining a Jew, of course. A Jew of a novel kind, he rejected Halacha, rejected Jewish law. But I also thought of Emerso--, little bit century earlier, Emerson's scandalous divinity at Harvard School-- Divinity School Address. You know?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:07:50] Yeah, what did he say? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:07:52] Well, he says a number of things in that landmark essay. One of them was that it's a critique of institutionalized Christianity of his time. And that among the charges against institutionalized Christianity was that it kind of substituted worship of the person of Jesus in place of the teachings of Jesus, let's say. So that, you know, that Jesus kind of embodied our direct relationship to divine, and of course Emerson has this whole metaphysics of the one and, he doesn't introduce it that much there, I don't think. But his-- And, but what struck me about rereading the God book chapter and listening to that beautiful recording, you know, is the gentleness of the teaching, you know. That the old ways are not wrong. They're not superseded. And yes, there was a rejection of the new. And yet, you know, this, the God is speaking to you, is... is sort of a... Is not angry about that. You know, He's understanding. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:05] Exactly. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:09:06] I don't know if I have the right to say He here, but He-- I'll, you know, He's understanding, let's say. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:10] Yeah, we won't worry about pronouns--

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:09:11] All right, gotcha. Um... Also, He's extremely gentle in regards to you and Abigail. You know, use discretion. You know, Abigail's feelings mean something. People are– People will receive what they're ready to receive. Right. And, you know, whatever you feel, I mean, about Jesus or Judaism or this or that, it's it's the more general tone of God in the God book, and the more general meaning of the teachings I'm taking away here. You know, and I sometimes, you know, the-- I reflect upon my own persona in front of the class over the decades. This is new. This is something I didn’t even think of. I'm only thinking about this now. And sometimes I, too, have that love of blood. I do have that love of scandal. And I do have that sort of, you know, I want to throw a rock at a glass window and rec-- in that-- so they can recre-- you know, that that deconstructive part is very important. But it's very easy sometimes to forget for someone's long term spiritual nourishment and growth that needs to be gentle too. You need to kind of gently hold the hand to kind of, you know, not to speak in a condescending way, it's not-- none of us are perfect of a God's perspective on the world. But, you know, there has to be an understanding of what a person is, and why the person or the culture, or the community, what have you, has the worldview they do. So, in a way, one thing I take away, I didn't expect to take this away on a second reading, but I did is the gentleness. This gentleness. And that also comes through when God says, "I am an evolving God." And then you had you know, you mentioned that, you know, as you sometimes find the God of the Hebrew Bible, of course, we know this idea that you know, the Leviticus 10:2 when the sons of Aaron walk the ark-- the Ark of the Covenant they get zapped, you know like-- and you know or the world and the voice-- the angry voice out of the world and in Job, you know, the Yahweh God, sometimes the Hebrew Bible has this angry intensity and you know, and some people like to contrast that with what they believe is a more gentle picture of the divine in the New Testament. I have my own differences with that picture. But that's okay. And the God says to you, you know, “I was you know, I'm an evolving God, you know, had not yet-- that was, I was new to dealing with human beings”. So that seemed to me the common glue connecting these different elements in this recording and in chapter is the gentleness of the divine in its dealings with human beings and telling you to practice discretion with Abigail. Something to do with that's the way we should live our lives with others, too. 

Scott Langdon [00:12:20] Hello, my friends. It's Scott, and I'm here to interject a clip from episode three called I Ask God About The Beliefs I Grew Up With. In this clip, Jerry recounts the time he went to buy a car and then had to decide who exactly he was buying it for. Is God guiding Jerry to live more truthfully? In this clip, I speak the voice of Jerry Martin. 

___

EPISODE THREE

Jerry Martin [00:12:54] Abigail was still teaching full-time in New York, and I was working in Washington, D.C. We saw each other only on all-too-brief weekends. Come summer, we were spending more time together. She needed a car. I looked at the ads and found a nice little white used car. The guy selling it was the youth minister at his church. I started to explain I was buying it for my girlfriend, but that wasn't true. I was buying it for my future wife. "I'm buying it for my fiancé," I told the man. 

___

Scott Langdon [00:13:42] That was a clip from episode three of our podcast called I Ask God About Beliefs I grew up with, which is also the topic of conversation today between Jerry Martin and Jonathan Wiedenbaum. And now back to that conversation. Here's Jerry once again. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:03] One big take away, actually, is that final comment used to-- I can't remember. I'm not quoting quite correctly- use discretion. Use discretion. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:14:12 Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:13] And, I was thinking about living truthfully and yet that, of course one element of that, a lot of it is to live sincerely believe, believe you're be honest about yourself, but also speak truth to others. Don't lie. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:14:15] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:15] Don't pull the wool over their eyes. Don't mystify. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:14:20] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:20] Speak the truth. But. That doesn't mean your job is to run around telling everybody what they don't want to hear. Right? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:14:39] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:41] And you as a teacher, you tell the students what they're prepared for, or not. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin You know. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum What's going to work. What's going--. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin  [00:14:50] Communicate effectively what you're trying to get across. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:14:52] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:53] And I was even struck you know, one of the first things in this episode three is that I'm buying a car. For my future wife. Though, I have not yet proposed. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:15:08] I remember this. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:15:09]  And I start to tell the guy I'm buying it for my girlfriend. I thought that doesn't-- That's going to communicate the wrong idea. And I said, I'm buying it for my fiance. Well, that's literally false, because it wasn't until a week later. In fact, this was a pivotal event where, uh-oh, I'm not living the truth. I gotta live that truth of her being my fiance, and I propose the next week. But, that shows part of the complexity of truth telling. It can't be just word by word. You have the situation. What is the statement going to mean in this situation? What is it going to mean to this listener? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:15:51] You yourself have to grow into it too. Like, I like that moment in the car-- in the car dealership, if I'm not wrong, you know. I like how you say it's almost like you were ready to say what future wife, you know. You weren't you weren't ready to say it yet. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:08] Well, I had been holding off. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:16:09] Right, right, right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:11]  I had been holding off on making the final, the formal move. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:16:14]  Yeah. Yeah. It's almost like. Yeah, I can't. It's like you. You you. You wouldn't. You were only right then and there able to say that. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:26] Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:16:27] Because, Jerry, I've been married for just over a year. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Oh. You have? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Oh, I didn't tell you that?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:32] If you told me, I didn't-- I missed it or misinterpreted it. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:16:36]  Yeah. I, you know, in the space of-- not to go talk about personal stuff, but in the space of a year, I went from living, like, in a basement of a house. And, you know, whenever I had money, I would just hop on a plane. Of course, you wouldn't be able to do that in the year--

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:53] Right. A bachelor life. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:16:54] Yeah, I was living that kind of life, all of a sudd-- now I'm a homeowner living in a-- paying a mortgage in Long Island New York in a house with a wife. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:04] Yes. Yes.

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:17:05] And it's you know, listen, we get old, we get a little older. And I know I'm– I love this life, you know, it's great, you know? So I changed radically. It was really a special and unique experience to say-- to use the word wife. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:24] I see. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:17:25]  I mean I mean, you know, it still blows my mind, you know, because I was a single guy all the way through 48. And then all of a sudden now in the last year, I'm saying my wife, you know. And I still sometimes find myself saying, you know, my girlfriend, you know, then I correct myself quickly. So sometimes we're not ready or, you know, to to say, you know, and that's what that scene reminds me of, a little bit of you in the--

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Right. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Car. You know, there's something about that. And that also connects, you know, maybe this has its root in the divine life as well. God says I am an evolving God. You know-- He doesn't tell the lies-- but there is that kind of sense that He is maturing into his relationship with others and that also deals with maturing in His relationship with Himself, you know? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:12] Yeah, that's right. And this applies this relation of the old and the new. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Applies to all different areas of life. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin We're interested in religion and of course in God: An Autobiography, religion is central. However–

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Mm hmm. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin  Neighbors you like moved away or the one you didn't like moved away. The new neighbors come, and one of the things in stressing this gentleness, Jonathan, and focusing on that to use discretion is that you can't approach these as if the new is always better, the old is always better. And you know, you're new, you look back now at your bachelor life. Probably not as good as life as what you're living now. However, that doesn't mean you have to say what a fool I was, right?  

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Right. Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin It had its own merits. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Of course. It did.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin It may have been the right thing. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum It did. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Until just now. You know? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:19:28]  It was the right thing for me in my twenties, thirties and middle forties. But this is the right thing for me now. You know?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:19:42] Yeah. And so you have to, when you take in the new with discretion, there's also a cautionary word that God seems to be pushing for belief. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:19:53] Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:19:54] When I say, “Was it a sin for me not to believe?” No. No more than when you weren't a believer. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:20:00] That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:20:01]  People doubt for many reasons. Some is just the exercise of their critical faculties. You know. The skepticism is based on human reason and our analytical abilities and--

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:20:12] Also has to do with--  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:20:13] The power to doubt as a power is is important. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:20:16] That's exactly right. And also, human beings are ready for what they're ready for. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yeah, yeah. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum They're ready for what they're ready for, you know. I mean, this is a community that lived under duress, under the thumb of the Roman Empire, Roman occupation. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes, yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum People themselves diverse. You have the Essenes, and the Pharisees, and the Zealots against the Roman. It was a tumultuous period of time, and you had what people were ready for and what they weren't, and that's all there is to it, you know? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yeah. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum And I think human life is like that, you know. One persistent theme, whenever we talk about the God book, you're probably almost sick of hearing it, you know, I could almost see you rolling your eyes, but you're not going to roll your eyes of course-- I always compare to a process theology in many ways. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:19] That's right. Which I don't study much, though I've spoken at the institute. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin But I have heard a lot of the ideas. If one wanted to plug in a metaphysical background for God: An Autobiography, you might go to Whitehead.

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:21:35] Yeah. Hartshorne has a whole tradition, you know. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:38] Or it's a whole tradition that's been developed. After all, it's Hartshorne and John Cobb. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum And yours would give it real body. It would add real, I mean, that's-- that stuff is so rarefied and metaphysical and--. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes, yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum But yours is more lyrical. It's rich. It's full of you and your life experience. And, you know, it would it would add a tremendous. Not that, you know, that you should combine them, because it going to be clear differences, too. There are clear differences, of course. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yeah. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum But, you know, and I particularly like-- in a way the theme of God sort of giving what human beings are ready for, so to speak, or people accepting what they're ready for--

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Is what was the key to a very large section of this book. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Because you talked about the different religions of the world and the different, you know, traditions. And, you know, you have different human beings are going to receive Spirit's truth in radically different ways. And take upon their context, in their place, in their time, you know? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:22:37] Yeah, sometimes that's the truth they need. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:22:39] That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:22:40]  Or, that they're particularly suited for it. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin For picking up on. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And making the most of, and-- I guess back to thinking of the encounter with novelty. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin You asked the question, Jonathan, as you're saying, of what are you ready for? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And, but there's that-- I think the good attitude to have it as a kind of attitude of, of grace or--

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin It doesn't have to be conceptualized that way, but of a kind of trust in life. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin You know that- well, things will come to me when I'm ready for it. Maybe this has come to my attention now, because I'm ready for this set of ideas, this new lifestyle, this new person, this new social arrangement. Maybe instead of resisting it, I should see, oh, well, what does it have to offer? And kind of, kind of relax. You've always function-- functioned critically, you're always thinking you're never just jumping into things, but to kind of be open to the most that they can give you is probably a good, positive way to live. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:23:46] Yes. And as I've been pointing out, a kind of kindness, understandingness and forgiveness toward others in regards to what they're ready to change for, you know. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yeah. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum That seems to be an important part of this chapter as well.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:24:00] Yes. If you're ready for something new and new comes along and you think, boy, this is just what I've been waiting for, or I didn't know it was going to come, but now that it's here--This is just great. And it's natural for people to then-- what about these stick in the muds? These people are just resistant to the--. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Right, right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And to decry them and think they're horrible. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:29:52] And part of that kind of attitude that you're talking about, Jonathan. The gentleness is both gentle to them as people and I would say generous to them to what the old ideas offered, what the old way--. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Old--. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin The old arrangement offered. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum I like that, yes--. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Emerson was probably being too hard on those people. You know? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Right, that's right.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:24:52] You or I might not-- might agree with him on that particular point. However, you can't just disregard them without thinking what does this mean to them? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin What does this do for their lives?

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:25:05] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:06]  In fact, in all of our social arrangements, there's a tendency to see it, of course, from one's own point of view. Me, I can't stand this stuff. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin But you have to step back a little bit and be more empathic and say, what does it mean to them? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:25:21] Because it seems that in this chapter, in the God book, God is saying it's the Jew, the Jews of this time, they have the truth. But it's configured in the way that they need it. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. That's right. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum So they're not, in the end, they're not-- it did not-- Again, it rejects supersessionism. It rejects that they don't have, so it rejects those kinds of ideas. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum So there is that sense. I mean, that's part of the gentleness of it-- part of the gentleness--

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:50] Yes, yes. Throughout the old that was a truthful experience with God. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin That's what the old covenant represents. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin It's the experience of God. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Remains valid, and the same thing when dealing with other human beings. You know. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Around the world. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:26:02] Were taking the-- Yes, and also just with anything, you know, that they the way their world is configured, they get what they, you know, of course, you have to be open to the new and the novel,  but still there's a you can't judge the shape that they have it now. You know that there is that sense in which they're still to get the shards of truth in there, in that particular, the way their worldview was shaped, you know. So there is that sort of that kind of how should I put it? Agreeableness, lack of judgmentalness, ready to still see how earlier forms of things or other forms of things, even if you feel that they don't have the complete picture, they have what they need for the moment, you know, and they still get something. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And they may not have the piece you have. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:52] Because you have, hopefully is the piece you need. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:26:58] That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin That they may or may not need. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Or they may be later, but not yet. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum  Hmm. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And so if we're going to make, let's say, a single take away from this, Jonathan. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin It might be that theme of being--. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Of trusting that you might say people are doing their best. They're taking in what they can. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin It doesn't mean they can't do better. They may need to learn to make more. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin But that will take time. But meanwhile, be gentle. Appreciate the truth that they are taking in. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin What it's doing for their lives?

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum  Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And again, we're not just talking about religion. We're talking about all areas of life, including lifestyle or whatever it might be kind of take in what does this mean to them? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:27:47] That's how I take the moral teaching from this chapter. To me, it's not simply a history of Jews and Jesus and what have you. It's a general understanding. And that's what-- I mean, last night I'm putting this all together in my head, emailing you my thoughts, but just now, even a few minutes ago, I'm thinking of my own life in regards to my vocation. You know, I mean, I don't-- teaching is not is not my job. It's what I am. You know, finally. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Surely. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum It's very intrinsic to my being, you know. But it's-- I'm now reflecting a little bit on growing larger in this sense, you know, just thinking over these themes. How I relate to others, and, you know, not only in my own way, I don't have the complete perspective, I should, you know, being open for the new, but also when dealing with other human beings. You know, it doesn't it doesn't tend to blow out their glass window, as I mentioned earlier, is in the end, it's antithetical to growth. You know. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:28:46] Yes and it's, It's not just--

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum At their level. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Level to them. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin You, yourself will learn more, develop more. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin By taking in their perspective. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin You see, it is old hat you might say it's something we passed beyond. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin You and your group, have passed beyond. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:29:04] Appreciate what it's doing for them. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And come to try to understand it from their point of view. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And you will learn more. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:29:13] Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:29:14] And then you'll expand. It-- One never has to see the world only from one's own point of view. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:29:19] That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:29:19] We have the capacity to enter multiple points of view. And to see, therefore, like walking around the building. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin To see more of reality. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:29:29] I kind of rushed very quickly over the many years to play devil's advocate. You know. The idea to to to sharpen the knife of analytical thought, and to, and to pierce through and throw the conundrums and contradictions in. But, you know, maybe I could, I could have, and will, you know, in my engagements with others also just sort of not to dilute it. That's not what I mean. But to also play the other hand in which to kind of to to show how how I appreciate where their–

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:30:05] Yes. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:30:05] Their worldview is coming from, and what truths it contains. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:30:09] Yes. Yes.

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:30:09] You know, and that's I already feel myself in a way moving in that direction now. You know, I'm a little bit less I don't by less intense than I used to be. I'm not so sure if I want to put it like that. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:30:22] No, I would not say so. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:30:23] I'm gentler in some ways. You know, I'm maybe as I go gray a little bit, you know, it's--. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:30:29] Right. That's wisdom, right? 

Scott Langdon [00:30:54] It's time for another clip from episode three, I think. No look back on this episode would be complete without this clip. It's at the very heart of episode three and is the main thrust of this conversation, namely Jerry's realization that this revelation from God just might be too much for his new wife. In this clip, I speak the voice of Jerry. Jerry L Martin, who heard the voice speaks the voice of God, and Abigail Rosenthal. Jerry's wife speaks her own voice. 

___

EPISODE THREE

Jerry Martin [00:31:50] My wife is Jewish, and I was afraid all this talk about Jesus would upset her. But, like someone who talks too much about the very thing he wants to avoid, I asked… “Lord, did the Jews make a mistake in not being open to the new covenant announced by Jesus?”

Voice of God [00:32:10] Yes. 

Jerry Martin [00:32:13] Oh, no. Here goes. 

Voice of God [00:32:15] They became wedded to the covenant, the covenant with the people of Israel in their Messianic destiny. That was, and remains, a valid covenant. But it is not the only covenant. I make many covenants with human beings. They are all valid and have their own destiny, and work together toward a common destiny for mankind. The new covenant of Jesus is not as incompatible with the covenant with Israel as Jews tend to suppose. It is compatible, but does not supersede, does not erase or nullify, the old covenant. 

Jerry Martin [00:33:02]  Does Jesus replace the covenant? 

Voice of God [00:33:04] No, he fulfills it. 

Jerry Martin [00:33:07] I see. But does Jesus fulfill the covenant in a way that replaces it? 

Voice of God [00:33:13] No, it remains fully valid. 

Jerry Martin [00:33:16]  Should Jews, in Jesus' day have accepted him as Messiah?

Voice of God [00:33:20] Yes. 

Jerry Martin [00:33:21] Why didn't they accept Jesus? 

Voice of God [00:33:24] Many different reasons. He was too radical, flouted their traditions, spoke a language they found uncomfortable, alien. It's not easy to believe. It is easier to pray for a distant Messiah than to accept a present one. 

Jerry Martin [00:33:42] Lord, was it a sin for the Jews to reject Jesus? 

Voice of God [00:33:46]  No. No more or less than all those years you did not believe. It is a sin in a sense, but it is also much of the human condition not to believe. People are skeptical for good reasons, having to do with their intelligence, as well as bad. 

Jerry Martin [00:34:05] Did the Jews kill Christ? 

Voice of God [00:34:08] That's a silly question. Did Americans--or Southerners--kill Lincoln? Some Jews, some Gentiles were equally implicated. That is a nonissue. 

Jerry Martin [00:34:26] I would often tell Abigail what I had been told, and usually she reserved comment. But, when she heard that Jews should have accepted Jesus, she burst into tears.

Abigail Rosenthal [00:34:40] Two thousand years of pogroms and persecution, ghettos and exile--all for a mistake?

Jerry Martin [00:34:49] I don't know if that is really an implication of what I had been told, but it was certainly a natural reaction. 

Abigail Rosenthal [00:34:56] Mistake or not, the people of the covenant, as the "suffering servant" identified by Isaiah, will always be vulnerable to persecution. 

Jerry Martin [00:35:10] After that, I wondered whether I should share everything with Abigail. “What should I do about Abigail, Lord? She is a sensitive person--feelings shoot right through her body. Should I keep it to myself?”

Voice of God [00:35:34] Use discretion. Do not break the vessel. 

___

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:35:47] After this discussion with her, does she finally resolve her feelings about, does she come to a different understanding of things, does she synthesize earlier understandings with what she was revealed to her here? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:36:04] Well, the umm-- What is actually reported in the book that she said. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Way back was that there still would have been anti-semitism. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:36:18] Of course. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:36:19] You know. There still would have been, I mean, the peculiarity of anti-semitism--

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Which she has thought about a great deal. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum She has, she has. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Is precisely how ungrounded it is. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin In Japan there's anti-Semitism. They've never seen a Jew, but there's anti-Semitism. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And it's a maybe itself kind of deep embedded in reality that there's going to be a can-- what she sometimes thinks of as the canary in the mine. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Right. Yeah.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Something going wrong when everybody starts turning on the Jews. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:36:52] Anti-Semitism is like that alien creature from the thing. It just takes on a new form. Absolutely. That is the truth. Absolutely. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:02] And, and, so it's a you know, there's this thing about being a gift unto the nations. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum Yeah. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin This may be the gift where the canary-- to be the canary, because you need a canary. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum That's right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin In the mine, right? 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:37:17] Yeah, that's exactly right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:19] You need it. And this, they're doing, they're doing that the best as it could be done. 

Dr. Jonathan Weidenbaum [00:37:25]  In a weird way. It's its own compliment. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:28] Yeah. Isn't that strange? 

Scott Langdon [00:37:54] Thank you for listening. To God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. Subscribe for free today wherever you listen to your podcasts and hear a new episode every week. You can hear the complete dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin, by beginning with episode one of our podcast and listening through its conclusion with Episode 44. You can read the original true story in the book from which this podcast is adapted. God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, available now at Amazon.com, and always at godanautobiography.com. Pick up your own copy today. If you have any questions about this or any other episode, please email us at questions@godanautobiography.com and experience the world from God's perspective as it was told to a philosopher. This is Scott Langdon. I'll see you next time.

Introduction
Jonathan Weidenbaum | The Encounter With Novelty
A Gentle, Understanding God
Revisiting | I Ask God About The Beliefs I Grew Up With
Use Digression | Living Truthfully
The Power To Doubt | What Are You Ready For?
The Moral Teaching | That's Wisdom, Isn't it?
I Ask God About The Beliefs I Grew Up With | Don't Break The Vessel
Canary In the Coal Mine
Outro And Contact Information