A book I have wanted to read for some time
“In his brilliant new book, God and His Demons, Michael Parenti’s critical reading of the Old and New Testament throws light on the religious origins of contemporary cruelty. Parenti’s careful exploration of biblical texts reveals the violent animus that finds expression in religion-driven imperial and colonial regimes today. Parenti’s exposé of the political links between the Dalai Lama and the CIA is, in itself, worth the price of the book. His God and His Demons is a tour de force, combining serious scholarship and political passion with wry wit—all written in a language accessible to the lay reader.”
—James Petras, Bartle Professor Emeritus, Binghamton University (State University of New York at Binghamton, New York)
“Parenti is nonpareil—again. As always, he tells us so much that we haven’t known, this time about religion.”
—Lawrence R. Velvel, author of Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam and Blogs From The Liberal Standpoint: 2004-2005
“Michael Parenti is always provocative and brilliant, so his examination of theocracy is as ground breaking as his previous books on history, the media, and democracy. This book is a long-overdue examination of topics ranging from fast-track saints to money
plunderers and theocratic psychotics. It should be read by every American concerned with the preservation of our civil society.”
—Lauren Coodley, author of California: A Multicultural Documentary
“It’s not God I have a problem with; it’s his fan club.” —Anonymous
Noted author and activist Michael Parenti 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 Parenti’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.
Parenti 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.
Parenti 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.
Michael Parenti (Berkeley, CA) is the acclaimed author of more than twenty books, including, most recently, Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader; The Assassination of Julius Caesar; and The Culture Struggle. The New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, Harper’s, the Nation, and Antioch Review, are among the countless publications that have praised Parenti’s work. For further information, visit his Web site: http://www.michaelparenti.org.