One essay you should not miss is Adam Gopnik's contribution to the New Yorker, an excellent piece from a secular perspective. The New Yorker — darn their blue-state hides! — still has the best writing around, and Gopnik is always worth a read. His conclusion:
Whether one agrees with Jefferson that this man [Jesus] lived, taught, and died, or with St. Paul that he lived and died and was born again, it is hard not to prefer him to the Jesus of the new Gospel, with his stage laughter and significant winks and coded messages. Making Judas more human makes Jesus oddly less so, less a man with a divine and horrible burden than one more know-it-all with a nimbus. As metaphor or truth, we’re sticking with the old story. Give us that old-time religion—but, to borrow a phrase from St. Augustine, maybe not quite yet.