A noted author and activist brings his critical acumen and rhetorical skills to bear on the dark side of religion, from the many evils committed in the name of ""holy causes"" throughout history to the vast hypocrisies of its unworthy advocates past and present. Unlike some recent popular works by stridently outspoken atheists, this is not a blanket condemnation of all believers. Rather the author's focus is the heartless exploitation of faithful followers by those in power, as well as sectarian intolerance, the violence against heretics and nonbelievers, and the reactionary political and economic collusion that has often prevailed between the upper echelons of church and state. The author delves into a wide and fascinating range of subjects:
-The harsh narratives of the Old and New Testaments, from the appalling accounts of violence, draconian justice, and moral turpitude in the older books of the Bible to the latent anti-Semitism in the New Testament.
Creationism and intelligent design in both its laughably crude and sophisticated forms.
-The duplicities of gurus. Even such icons as Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, various US televangelists, the Dalai Lama, and Jesus himself are subjected to a revealing scrutiny.
-The hypocrisies of ""family-values"" religionists and politicos—the sexual predation and cover-up committed under the cloak of religion as well as their financial schemes and frauds.
-The totalitarian theocratic goals of Christian and Islamic extremists, and the Shangri-La myths about feudal Tibet.
The author notes the deleterious effects of past theocracies and the threat to our freedoms posed by present-day fundamentalists and theocratic reactionaries. He discusses how socially conscious and egalitarian minded liberal religionists have often been isolated and marginalized by their more conservative (and better financed) coreligionists. Finally, he documents the growing strength of secular freethinkers who are doing battle against the intolerant theocratic usurpers in public life. Historically anchored yet sharply focused on the contemporary scene, this eloquent indictment of religion’s dangers will be welcomed by committed secular laypersons and progressive religionists alike.