Joshua (The Novel) Essay, Research Paper
Herm s question, Josh, what do you think of Religion? becomes the beginning of a period of both joy and conflict for Joshua as he is then often encountered with many related questions and, later, contradiction from the Church. These questions all lead to similar answers, in which Joshua expands on his ideas. And because of this further discussion, it s important to read all of his responses throughout the book in order to understand his reply and to intelligently decide to agree or disagree. Therefore, my reaction to Joshua s reply is based on everything he said concerning religion.
The question arises from a discussion between Pat, Herm, and Joshua concerning his lifestyle. They are walking home from breakfast at the diner and the other two are interested in why Joshua doesn t mind living alone. Don t you get lonesome living by yourself? Herm asks (72). But Joshua explains to them that he values the serenity of living alone. He tells them that he can peacefully enjoy the beauty of nature outside and the animals also keep him company at times. But the main reason why Joshua never feels alone is that God is always with him, loving him always, and will never abandon him: No. I like being by myself God is with us all the time (72). Pat and Herm agree but still can not imagine living alone without any feeling of loneliness and this discussion of God leads to Herm s question.
Joshua s response is similar to a sermon or speech, and is over a page in length; he is firm in these beliefs and reiterates them several times throughout the book. He is very prepared for the question; before saying a word he asks, the way it [religion] is or the way God intended it to be? (73). And when he is sure of the latter, releases everything inside him, as if he was just waiting to explain what people had been doing wrong. His main point is that Jesus wanted to free those under the pressure of rules in their religions and offered a comforting God who loved them, asking only for honor and worship in return. Joshua is also disappointed in the way the clergy preside over their congregations: Jesus did not envision bosses He wanted his apostles to guide and serve, not to dictate and legislate (74). Joshua feels that rules and traditions are blocking people from growing in love of God, that the people become unable to think for themselves and panic when changes are made. He finally says that the religious leaders enjoy the authority more than serving the people and leading them in worship and that they would prefer that people don t think for themselves for fear they will lose control over them (75).
Personally, I agree and disagree with certain ideas of Joshua s, but mainly disagree with his primary idea. I agree that God offers his comfort and love and also that it is good that so many people worship God, whatever religion they belong to, as Joshua explains as his reason for attending services of different religions. But I don t agree that one could or should have such strong criticisms of today s church and at the same time such a general idea about worshipping God and, for this reason, not settle on one set of more detailed convictions concerning God and Jesus. For example, believing that Jesus is the Messiah (one which the Jews do not include but we do as Catholics). I also feel that although Joseph Girzone makes the pastor of Fr. Pat s Catholic church seem this way, our religious leaders are not at all the way Joshua portrays them. The clergy may have at one time impressed very strict moral rules, but none exist in our faith today, and though some priests have been corrupt over the years or weren t totally devoted to God, He and His work have always been the central concentration of their lives.
I believe that Joshua portrays a good man, most likely intended by the author to be Christ, come again. I know that Joshua s beliefs may be more reasonable to some than to others and myself. I admit that Joshua makes some points that I agree with as well, but they are overall, very vague and his criticisms are untrue of today. It is a good story but lacks the good points and truths necessary to convince people of its message. It could serve as a parable or lesson as implied on the cover, but in my opinion, only to show how great a loss it was when Jesus was crucified, and then only realizing it after his Resurrection. It can show that we only see the message or greatness of a person after he or she is gone.