While there is plenty of action, adventure, mystery, and romance in The Final Solution, it is also a novel of ideas because the five major characters are intellectuals and cannot be characterized without reference to their ideas, which they love to discuss and debate, often heatedly, sometimes spectacularly.  This page discusses and contextualizes some of the most important topics and ideas, such as:.

Terrorism and Holy War

A Peace Plan for Israel

The Source of Anti-Semitism

The Apocalypse

Web Conspiracies

The Revival of The Goddess

The Religion of the Future

"Terrorism" and "Holy War" are subjects joined here because it appears that, perhaps for the first time in history, a Holy War is being conducted entirely by terrorism, the objects of the attack being primarily the USA and Israel, but other countries are increasingly affected as well, as Moslem bombs go off in China, Russia, India, the Philippines, etc.

The novel's protagonist, Wolf Berlin, is acting as he does partly because he believes that the present terrorist threat is nothing compared to what we are going to experience when the terrorists start using weapons of mass destruction, as they are soon to do.   Which of course would inspire colossal retaliation that could threaten the entire planet and incur a Holocaust of Humanity.  Wolf hopes to avoid this fate, not by making Americans paranoid about Moslems, but by establishing a broader, more universal religion that can make peace and end the need for Holy War. 

Of course in the novel Wolf is surprised by the chief threat of a new Holocaust's coming not from a Moslem but from a wealthy rabbi who, among other things, is reacting against Moslem harassment of the Jews, which is another possible way the future could break.  After all, Israel has nuclear and no doubt other weapons of mass destruction at its disposal.  Will it not use them if the threat to Israel is deemed serious enough?  Could not an accidental, man-made Armageddon begin that way?

Why is Wolf's focus on religion rather than on, say, political peace-making?  Because he believes political settlements are never anything more than cosmetic, covering over deep disagreements about the nature and purpose of life, which ultimately will explode in violent antagonism again if left unsettled.  A more lasting settlement, he believes, will come about only if we can come to some general religious understanding of life that gives all human beings the sense of a common perspective and common cause. 

Wolf believes that most of our present religions are fatally flawed because they commit the gross injustice of consigning most of the world's population to "the damned."  Ironically, by separating sheep from goats, by declaring their believers "the saved" or "the chosen" and unbelievers "the damned," religions become ingenious devices for making bitter, implacable enemies.  Human beings are pugnacious enough without needing religion to provide the best excuse of all to go to war--either to cleanse the earth of "the impure," the "unbelievers," or to resist or redress the insult of being thought or called that.  Wolf finds that such melodramatizing, of separating people into good and evil, is at the root of all religion, giving it much of its energy, and that aggressive, often violent enactment of such melodrama is what people tend to revert to in times of crisis.  Wolf sees more and more signs of reversion in the increasing rise of religious fundamentalism all over the world, with its naïve view of scripture and the world, and he sees a developing crisis that will push the world even further down this destructive path.

On days when he was most exasperated with religion, as on days when another Israeli-Palestinian clash made the news, Wolf might begin his class with "God, I hate religion," which is also the opening line of the novel and operates in the novel much as the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth operates in that symphony.  The novel shows the countless variations an individual can play on a given theme, as Wolf becomes increasingly obsessed with how the world's religions seem to be heading toward a conflict that will dwarf all previous wars. 

The principal political cause of this future Armageddon is the failure of Israel to make peace with the Moslem world, which also brings in the Christian world, as it did during the Crusades, but there are also signs that the West and especially America is being attacked by terrorists simply because some Moslems find our modernist culture spiritually abhorrent.  Believing that nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction will soon be brought into play by terrorists, which will be met by even greater force, Wolf writes a book called Holy Wars in which he prophesies a century of devastating religious warfare unless the major religions are subsumed or synthesized under a unifying because more powerful religion.  And of course he thinks he has just the religion in his "Religion of the Future."  But does he?   And can his religion forestall the Holocaust his old friend, Harry Zaddik, has planned for the world? 

One might begin to answer such questions by questioning further whether any of the world's religions show any capacity to win worldwide acceptance.  The answer is clearly no.  Most of the faithful would rather die than switch to another religion.

That answered, one might ask if it is possible that the religions can learn to live in peace.   The answer to that is that while perhaps the great majority of Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, etc., are inclined to live and let live, there will always be a few who would rather die or destroy the world than allow such a peace, to them a dishonest peace.

Wolf Berlin's concern, then, is that as we proceed through this century such people will be able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, are, in fact, already attempting to do so, as in the case of Osama bin Laden, if they have not already succeeded.  If the present religions are unable to bring peace to the world, the question then is whether there is any chance of devising a new religion to which all the other religions could bow, not just in the interests of world peace, which the fanatics do not care about anyway, but because its convictions carry such emotional and intellectual force that conversion is gladly willed by even the most stubbornly resistant. 

The Final Solution, in which all these questions are raised in the dialogue among the characters and in the conflict between two diametrically opposed new world religions, suggests that the present stalemate is likely to continue but invites any religious genius there might be out there  to finish "The Religion of the Future."





Inasmuch as the "peace plans" for the Middle East one hears about have absolutely no chance of being accepted by all sides, except dishonestly, with no intention of keeping to them in the long run, Wolf Berlin's idea for peace, whatever you may think about him and his new religion, might actually start us down a more promising path than anything seen so far.  But what is Wolf's plan?

Because he sees that terrorist attacks, from Robert F. Kennedy's assassination by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan to the attempt to blow up the World Trade Center, are all the consequence of America's support of Israel's claim to the land of Palestine, a support that is partly based on the biblical kinship of Christians and Jews and partly a guilt-minded attempt to compensate Jews for the horrors of the Holocaust of WWII, Wolf focuses much of his religion-building attempt on Israel, hoping to get the Jews of Israel to accept a religious understanding of life that would make them gladly volunteer to be citizens of the New World Order he's planning and which the Old Testament prophesies.  That is, because Wolf believes his new religion can be, ultimately, the underpinning of an effective world government, he hopes to persuade the Jews of Israel to realize that their tribalism can best be realized--that is, that they can best become "the blessing unto the nations" prophesied for them by their tribal prophets--by accepting a leadership role in establishing that world government, by leading us out of destructive tribalism to the global village of the tribe of man. 

The initial step in that would be agreeing to the internationalization of Jerusalem, allowing that city to be run by either an international government or the UN, possibly even become a regional capital of the UN.  Jerusalem might actually live up to its name of "the city of peace," Wolf believes, if it established the precedent of allowing disputed territory to be internationally managed and available to all, thus overcoming a major stumbling block in the peace process.

Wolf ties his plan for peace to his new "Religion of the Future," but there is no reason why the internationalizing of Jerusalem needs that tie.  The claim of three major religions to Jerusalem as a sacred site is sufficient to justify this internationalization. 


Today's use of the term "anti-Semitism" makes little sense since most of the world's Semites are Arabs and many Jews are not Semitic, so let's do the cause of clarity a favor here by reminding ourselves that the euphemistic "anti-Semitism" is really "anti-Jewishness."  Regardless, the eternal question then is, why are the Jews so constantly afflicted by this ethnic nastiness sloppy usage has labeled as "anti-Semitism" but which we should call "anti-Jewishness"?  What are the historical origins of this, and why has it developed as it has?

Wolf Berlin is partly motivated to explore this issue because he is of part-German descent and wishes to understand the source of the madness that afflicted Germany in WWII, which, if his ancestors had not escaped Germany in the 1850s, might have afflicted him as well.  In his research as an anthropologist of religion, he discovers that that madness has broken out in many other countries of the West in nearly every century of the Christian era.  Anti-Jewish pogroms of various sorts and various magnitudes have occurred quite regularly through the centuries, all over Europe, and even in America with the Ku Klux Klan and Henry Ford's championing of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and "The Holocaust" of WWII was only the most extreme and the most systematic of them, an industrialized version of a very ancient and recurrent madness.   When did it begin and why?

Wolf concludes that the Romans could not be called "anti-Semitic," nor could any of the other nations that conquered and ruled Israel/Judah or the Israelites over the centuries before Christ--the Greeks, Assyrians, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, etc.  These nations simply did what imperialists always do to the conquered--slaughtered, raped, enslaved them, and then overtaxed the survivors and tried to force them to conform to imperial practices.  But the Jews weren't singled out for this treatment; every subjugated people in the ancient world received this treatment, or worse, and often the conquerors treated each other that way when they could.  Indeed, the Jews tended to treat whomever they conquered in this way as well, as the Canaanites could testify to.    It's the way the world was, and often still is.

Wolf's further researches substantiate what has often been claimed--that it was early Christianity that invented "anti-Semitism," which the Church sanctioned and encouraged over the years, although blowing hot and cold on the issue as circumstances decreed.   Nothing new so far.

But what shocked Wolf was his discovery that "anti-Semitism" was invented by Jews.  The books of the New Testament, especially the Book of Revelation, make it quite clear that the early Christians, mostly Jews at first, were very angry with their Jewish brethren for not accepting Jesus as the promised messiah and for contributing to the crucifixion of Jesus and the persecution of his Jewish disciples.  In their books and preachings, they did not just condemn this, they insisted that unreconstructed Jews had lost their privilege as a chosen people and would be punished with eternal damnation.  Armageddon and Judgment Day would sort such Jews out as among Satan's party. 

One suspects that this original "anti-Semitism" was mainly an emotional response to the early Christians' rebuff by and de facto excommunication from rabbinic and temple Judaism, and the perpetrators would probably be horrified at how it got out of hand in the centuries to come.  But, unwittingly or not, the gospelers said what they said, and Christians down through the centuries can't entirely be blamed for taking their cue from the New Testament in discriminating against and ghettoizing the Jews and sometimes murdering them in relatively small Holocausts all over Europe.  The Book of Revelation especially is an open invitation to persecute what it calls "false Jews."   The protocols of Armageddon unambiguously call for their severe punishment. 

And so it comes as no surprise that, as he went merrily about twisting the Christian Apocalypse, Hitler cited as one of his favorite plays the viciously "anti-Semitic" Passion Play at Oberammergau, nor is it surprising that Pious XII has been characterized in a recent biography as "Hitler's Pope" for the way he silently acquiesced in and even abetted the Holocaust.  While excluding Pious XII, whom he strangely wants to canonize, the current pope has apologized for the church's "anti-Semitism" in the past, and Passion Plays that depict Jews as the villain of the piece have recently been toned down at his instruction.

Wolf's investigation of this subject led him to the ultimate conclusion, however, that the damning of the Jews by the early Christians was simply the repetition of an ancient pattern of behavior built in to almost all religions at their founding, and which was passed on to the early Christians (and, later, Islam) through Judaism.   Another big surprise

The idea of maintaining peace in the world by running a religious cafeteria won't work because almost all religions maintain that one is "saved" only by the specific beliefs of its doctrinal faith and those who do not so believe are "damned," which enough True Believers always take sufficiently seriously to cause trouble.   All religions see their believers as "the chosen people" and non-believers as impious infidels condemned by God.  It is the habit of almost all religions to exclude the vast majority of human beings from "salvation," which means these days that, regardless of one's faith, 5 to 6 billion people are necessarily "damned" by believing in the wrong things.  It is this nonsensical view of things that Wolf attempts to counter in his establishing of a Universalist "Religion of the Future," which welcomes all and excludes no one on the basis of "belief."   Wolf agrees with Jesus: "By their fruits shall ye know them."


The most adamant expression of New Testament "anti-Semitism" occurs in the Book of Revelation, in which it is expected that the Jews and all the other non-believers will get their final comeuppance at The Apocalypse, which brings a Day of Judgment, and it was this idea, along with the thousand year Reich which mimicked the thousand year reign of the saints, that Hitler so grotesquely expressed in the Nazi reign of terror.  Although "Apocalypse Fever" seems to have abated somewhat, those who insist that 2001 is the real beginning of the millennium are still expecting The Apocalypse to occur this year, and those who think our calendar has nothing to do with it expect The Apocalypse to occur whenever God is good and ready, which could be any day now.  In any case,  the faithful await the Rapture!

Wolf Berlin even visits Patmos, the Greek island off the coast of Turkey where the Book of Revelation was supposedly written, to get a better sense of why it was written and how it should be taken because he thinks in that he will find some clue as to why his antagonist, Harry Zaddik, is constructing a religion that begins with an apocalypse.   This also leads him to thoroughly investigate the tradition Revelation was based on, for one of his first discoveries is that apocalyptic literature has a long history, apparently going back to the Persian Zoroaster, who may have been a contemporary of Abraham (mythical or not), the idea then being picked up and developed by the Hebrews during their periods of captivity or subjugation. 

Surprisingly, the Book of Revelation is not the spontaneous burst of vision one might expect it to be but rather a scholarly work that frequently quotes from Old Testament apocalyptics.  Wolf concludes that the general fault he finds in religion, its exclusionary tendency, is magnified many times over by apocalyptic thinking.   Apocalyptic thinking is always desperate thinking, by people who believe that they and their kind are on the verge of total defeat unless God intervenes, stops history, and straightens everything out by rewarding the righteous and punishing the wicked.   Apocalyptic thinking is last-ditch thinking, and thus the action it invokes is desperate and violent. [Which can account for the way Hitler and his Nazis went about their butchering of about 12 million people in their death camps, convinced that they were saving Western civilization by righteously purifying it of evil elements that were on the brink of destroying it].  The only long-range cure for this purgative violence, Wolf believes, is to replace the apocalyptic religions with his anti-apocalyptic "Religion of the Future," in which no one will have cause to feel so threatened that calling down an apocalypse is the only way out.

But Wolf's real concern is to address the fact that the intervention of God is no longer needed to enact an apocalypse.  Hitler's Nazis, as they enacted the dénouement of the Christian apocalypse in their own twisted way, made it clear that someday a purely man-made apocalypse would be technologically possible.   No need to wait for God.  The day has come when any man's wrath, if he has the weapons, can now express itself in the totally destructive terms our imaginations have conjured up in our various apocalyptic books.  We can even destroy the planet, if we set our minds to it.   And thus Wolf looks nervously about at both the Osama bin Ladens of the world and his own Harry Zaddik, two extremely angry men who will have justice, as they conceive it, even at the cost of destroying the world, if necessary. 

The curse of humanity is the man who thinks he must destroy the world in order to save it.


The world is a tinderbox, just waiting for someone to strike the right match, and all you have to do to confirm this is to cruise the Net and take a look at all the hate groups out there who are angrily calling for death and destruction, who want Armageddon and Apocalypse Now.  A favorite target of the haters is ZOG, the "Zionist Occupation Government," because obviously (to them) the Jews are trying to take over the world.  This delusion is getting so serious that there really ought to be more said about it in the media.  Somebody needs to start announcing more loudly the truth that the porno sites are the least of our worries.  It's the hate group sites we need to keep our children from, as the Columbine High massacre make clear.   

Wolf Berlin learns this when, in searching for Harry Zaddik on the Net, he discovers how many such lunatic sites exist.   But the real surprise occurs when Wolf begins to discover that Harry is listed as the brains behind many of these organizations spoiling for war.  And not just these, but Harry seems to be directing every violence-prone conspiracy on the Web, even the ones whose goals contradict each other.  Wolf knows that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, often cited by the hate-mongers as evidence of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, is a fraudulent book, so he is very puzzled at why Harry is creating the impression on the Web that there is a powerful Jew operating behind the scenes to take over everything, as though The Protocols were telling the truth.  It turns out that Harry's intention is to eventually use his command of thousands of conspiracy websites, along with actual acts of terrorism, apparently, to make it clear at the right moment that the Jews are to be blamed for everything, so that what he believes is a universal desire to scapegoat the Jews can be directed toward Israel in an act of ultimate sacrifice that Harry can use as the sacramental lynchpin of his new, post-Apocalyptic religion. 

But Harry's idea is no crazier than a lot of what you see on the Net.


Wolf Berlin's hope is to replace all this bloody-minded religion with a kinder and gentler religion, one more accepting of life as it is given and more welcoming to the many forms it comes in.   Partly because he has been married to a Professor of Women's Studies for many years, he has come to know that there is an attempt these days to revive the ancient worship of "the Goddess," the Great Mother who under many names was perhaps, at least according to feminist findings, universally worshipped in most ancient societies, before male gods began to intrude and corrupt her sacraments.

Wolf's wife, Jez, has replaced her given name Judith with Jezebel because, soon after her orthodox father hurled that name at her one night in a fight with her mother on the eve of divorce, she found that the Jezebel of history was one of feminism's first martyrs and thus fit to be memorialized by a modern woman's taking her name.  She decided that Jezebel had been unfairly maligned by the Bible and murdered by pious, misogynistic Jews for nothing more than insisting on being allowed to continue her worship of Astarte, one of the forms of the Great Mother.   

Because many feminists believe the abandonment of the Great Mother by the patriarchal religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has brought great harm to the world, in its overemphasis on masculine aggressiveness and authority, there is a serious effort to at least redress the gender imbalance in our religions by allowing women to be priests, God to be thought of as containing both genders, and other changes in religious practice to occur that will bring gender peace to our world.  While Wolf has reservations about some of this, he arranges for his "Religion of the Future" to be considerably less patriarchal in its attitudes and practices and to honor the life-affirming principles the Great Mother stood for.   [See any of the novels of Tom Robbins for development of these ideas, but especially Skinny Legs and All.]

There is much interest these days in this "movement to reimagine God," particularly that which attempts to see the divine as female as well as male, but the media seems to be way behind in this.

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Wolf Berlin is dubbed "St. Wolf the Divided" because he can't make up his mind about how to proceed in "saving the world" from the religious strife he sees coming.   Most of his life, as a teacher of Comparative Religion, he has more or less run a religious cafeteria, letting people take from religions what they have a need and taste for, but as a secularist implying that they should avoid the cafeteria altogether.   This "tolerant" approach works most of the time with most people, but what Wolf foresees is the advent of the day when the fanatical few, thinking they have the weapons to impose a single religion on the world, attempt to do so, with world-shattering "Holy War" as the consequence.   With that possibility looking increasingly likely to him, he tries to convince himself that he needs to establish a new religion that will sweep the world and persuade the fanatically-inclined to bow to it.   

The dilemma of choice facing Wolf is the same we all face, whether we know it or not.   The present impasse among religions and between religion and secularism will not hold forever.  Sooner or later some one will break through with a religious force that will sweep all before it, and our present "tolerance" of religious diversity will be swept away with it.   Then it will be war to the death.   Wolf thinks that the "religious force" breaking through had better be his new "Religion of the Future," for its path is likely to be the least bloody and destructive and the most fruitful for the planet.   Yet when he comes to write his new Bible, he can't bring himself to be the thundering prophet he needs to be and finds himself falling back into his old "cafeteria" ways.   Stymied, he leaves his new Bible in fragments and disappears.   The novel implies in its ending that it may be up to the reader to finish what Wolf began, if one is so inclined.