With running headlines like "Allah in the Family" or "The medium is the messiah; the messiah is the medium," it's not hard to figure out that the "godblog" www.killingthebuddha.com has a sense of humor. Kind of a cross between Dave Eggers' literary Webzine McSweeney's, Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" and Bible study, the site examines the deity in all its forms.
Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet have created an intelligently written literary magazine for believers -- and atheists -- who are challenged by, or drawn to, the idea of God, Allah, Buddha, etc.
The site refers to itself as a forum for the "supposedly nonreligious to think and talk about what religion is, is not and might be," and it aims to be provocative (in one story God gets a makeover by the Queer Eye guys).
Though sometimes buried amid droll commentary, the site's essays are meant to give both the faithful and the faithless an opportunity to dissect and reconstruct God for the modern world. In one piece, a Buddhist recounts the simple pleasure of drinking water to break his daily fast during Ramadan. Another describes a Jew's yearlong stint at Trinity College Dublin.
Also excerpted are snippets of Manseau's and Sharlet's recently released first book, "Killing the Buddha: The Heretic's Bible," which documents their cross-country road trip to study the outer fringes of religion in America.
The authors have street creds to back them up: Manseau is the son of a Catholic priest and a former nun, and Sharlet is the son of a Jewish father and Pentecostal mother who ended up studying Hinduism and Buddhism. There's got to be a punch line in there somewhere.
-- Christine Ziemba