This is a fictionalised biography of the third century prophet Mani, whose gnostic-based ideal of a liberal tolerance of other religions and cultures reminds me of modern multi-culturalism, as epsoused by, say, Isaiah Berlin. There is only one God, but he is manifest in all religions and whatever name you might call him, it still God you are praying to... his light is in you, in battle with the darkness in you (a gnostic conceit). Mani has to outwit (though with guidance from his inner voice, his 'twin') those jealous and cunning priests and magi of the other religions, but while he has the preference of the King of Kings of the Sassanid Empire his classless religion blossoms amongst those who are hard done by... But of course, this is sedition, this is rebellion, however reasonably and mystically you put it. Mani is in for a hard time when the old Emperor passes away...
Manicheism was one of the most popular religions in the 4th and 5th centuries through the Middle East (Mani was Persian), but one I knew practically nothing about till I started this inspiring book (and I am an atheist!). It sounds like one of the better religions!
Why can't we all just get along?...Continua