Books, etc. – Religion Clarity Campaign

Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church 

"Jason Berry Coming to Newport Beach November 3"

. 2011.  [Roman Catholic Church.  Book by Jason BERRY.] Posted by Joelle Casteix on October 19, 2011  
   Investigative journalist and author Jason Berry achieved prominence for his reporting on the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992), a book used in many newsrooms.  He has been widely interviewed in the national media, with many appearances on Nightline, Oprah, ABC and CNN.
   USA Today called Berry “the rare investigative reporter whose scholarship, compassion and ability to write with the poetic power of Robert Penn Warren are in perfect balance.”
   His latest book is Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, an investigation of epic financial intrigue.  The event is free and open to the public.  We hope you can join us.
   When: Thursday, November 3, 2011 7:00 pm – Wine Reception 7:30 pm – Presentation and book signing
   Where: The Lounge Studio of Style 2020 888 San Clemente Drive, Suite 100 (At Newport Center) Newport Beach, CA 92660
   Validated parking is available #
   ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: http://­­AbuseTracker/
   SEE COVER IMAGE on Amazon, <http://­­Render-Unto-Rome-Secret-Catholi­c/dp/03­8553132X>.
   CRITICAL CRITIQUE which also gives a few facts about the author's 1992 and 2004 books, <http://­www.­­commentary/ot­n.cfm?id=830>; AND SEE Jason Berry's response <http://­­commentary/ot­n.cfm?ID=833>. [2011]

• JORDAN, Neil; 2010 or 2011;    The Borgias.  

  [TELEVISION SERIES: A diabolical pope. RCC.]   
Scandals of abuse have rocked the Catholic Church and a new drama series could be a lightning rod for more controversy, reports Greg Braxton
Jeremy Irons' impressive gallery of distinctive historical characters includes his Oscar-winning portrait of chilly socialite Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune and Georgia O'Keeffe's husband, Alfred Stieglitz, in the TV movie O'Keeffe.
   Although Irons has demonstrated ease in slipping into these real-life personas, he had surprising reservations about taking on the ambitious, diabolical Rodrigo Borgia, also known as Pope Alexander VI, in Showtime's historical drama The Borgias, which premieres on pay-TV next week. He was troubled by the lack of physical resemblance: Borgia was bulky and somewhat ungainly, contrasting sharply with Irons' tall, ramrod stature.
   "I was a little bit concerned – my nose looked nothing like his and I had a problem with that," Irons recalled with a sly smile. And whereas many of Irons' portrayals in films such as The Mission and Being Julia are characterised by a subtle, steely demeanour that hides often dark and frightening emotion, Borgia's personality was overt, even outsized.
   Irons was eventually able to get over his concerns and immerse himself in Borgia's essence. "There's the fascinating complexity of the character, and when you have that, the physicality is only one element," he said.
  “It’s about a man who became pope at a time when the Catholic Church was in a pretty poor state. Now we think of the pope as a god. ”  
   The producers are counting on Irons' distinctive star power, the creative vision of Academy Award-winning writer Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview With the Vampire) and a crew of top historical production designers and costumers to lure viewers to the elaborately detailed drama set during the Italian Renaissance in 1492.
   Jordan, who is also a producer, wrote all nine episodes and directed the first two instalments, which chronicle Borgia's Underhanded rise to the papal throne and how his family, particularly his daughter, Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger), and sons Cesare (Francois Arnaud) and Juan (David Oakes) manipulate power and descend into corruption.
   The Borgias is part of a wave of programs showcasing costumed dramas of olden times. Starz, home of Spartacus, Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, has also just launched a new version of the King Arthur tale, Camelot, which premieres in Australia on Sunday on Nine and WIN.  HBO also this year unveiled Game of Thrones, an epic medieval fantasy that airs in Australia on Pay TV's Showcase.
   David Nevins, head of Showtime, said: "True, there's definitely more period drama on now than there was when The Tudors was around. But this is fairly unique in its class. The Borgias has world-class actors and a world-class director. There is a sophistication and a texture and a nuance that I don't think the others are built for."
   Sitting next to Irons during a stop in Pasadena, California, early this year to promote The Borgias, Jordan described the series as a powerful depiction of how religion and power can corrupt. "It's about how they intersect. It's also about how it's played out in the Vatican ever since the Church was founded."
   Jordan said he was impressed by how Irons was able to embody the conflicting nature of Borgia, who alternated between benevolence and ruthlessness.
  [Picture] FAMILY TIES: Jeremy Irons, as Alexander VI, with mistress Vanozza Catteneo (Joanne Whalley), left, and daughter Lucrezia Borgia (Holliday Grainger).  
   Irons said: "It's about a man who became pope at a time when the Catholic Church was in a pretty poor state. Now we think of the pope as a god. Then, he was much more secular and behaved in a way that was shocking. That contradiction is fascinating to play."
   The project was developed for more than a decade as a feature film but Jordan ultimately realised that "it would be a crime to try and cram this into a two-hour movie".
   Significantly for Showtime, The Borgias is the heir apparent to The Tudors, the landmark series revolving around King Henry VIII that ended last year after four seasons and recently aired in Australia again on ABC2.
   Like that previous series, the provocative stories are laced with sex and violence.
   Considering the continuing scandals regarding allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, The Borgias might also be a lightning rod for more controversy. But Jordan is not concerned.
   "This is all very documented," he said of the saga. "It's very hard to argue with things that really happened."  LOS ANGELES TIMES / MCT
   The Borgias airs Monday at 6.30pm on W and 8.30pm on W+2 #
   – The West Australian, <>, "A diabolical pope," Today section page 5, Friday, August 26, 2011
   [RECAPITULATION: [… a powerful depiction of how religion and power can corrupt. "It's about how they intersect. It's also about how it's played out in the Vatican ever since the Church was founded." ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Ouch! COMMENT ENDS.] [2010 or 2011]
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• PROTHERO, Stephen; 2010;   God Is Not One :   The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World – and Why Their Differences Matter  

   Stephen Prothero, the New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy, makes a fresh and provocative argument that, contrary to popular understanding, all religions are not simply different paths to the same end .. and why this matters greatly for us.  Readers of Huston Smith and Karen Armstrong will find much to ponder in God Is Not One. -– from God is not One; Stephen PROTHERO; Barnes & Noble image
   Synopsis: At the dawn of the twenty-first century, dizzying scientific and technological advancements, interconnected globalised economies, and even the so-called New Atheists have done nothing to change one thing: our world remains furiously religious.  For good and for evil, religion is the single greatest influence in the world.  We accept as self-evident that competing economic systems (capitalist or communist) or clashing political parties (Republican or Democratic) propose very different solutions to our planet's problems.  So why do we pretend that the world's religious traditions are different paths to the same God?  We blur the sharp distinctions between religions at our own peril, argues religion scholar Stephen Prothero, and it is time to replace naïve hopes of interreligious unity with deeper knowledge of religious differences.
   In Religious Literacy, Prothero demonstrated how little Americans know about their own religious traditions and why the world's religions should be taught in public schools.  Now, in God Is Not One, Prothero provides readers with this much-needed content about each of the eight great religions.  To claim that all religions are the same is to misunderstand that each attempts to solve a different human problem. For example:
  • Islam: the problem is pride / the solution is submission
  • Christianity: the problem is sin / the solution is salvation
  • Confucianism: the problem is chaos / the solution is social order
  • Hinduism: The Way of Devotion
  • Buddhism: the problem is suffering / the solution is awakening
  • Yoruba* Religion: The Way of Connection
  • Judaism: the problem is exile / the solution is to return to God
  • Daoism:** The Way of Flourishing
  • A brief coda on Atheism: The Way of Reason
    (- The four lines "The Way of …" are from )
       Prothero reveals each of these traditions on its own terms to create an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to better understand the big questions human beings have asked for millennia and the disparate paths we are taking to answer them today.  A bold polemical response to a generation of misguided scholarship, God Is Not One creates a new context for understanding religion in the twenty-first century and disproves the assumptions most of us make about the way the world's religions work. – most of the above from
       DETAILS: PROTHERO, Stephen; Imprint: HarperOne; ISBN: 978 0 06 157127 5; ISBN10: 006157127X; On Sale: Apr/20/2010; Format: Hardcover; Trimsize: 6 x 9 [~ 15 x 23 centimetres]; Pages: 400; contents, index, acknowledgements, notes. US $26.99; Ages: 18 and Up - details from Harper Collins website, plus Amazon website, plus additions.
    * Yoruba. A member of a numerous West African coastal people. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, College Edition, 1968; URDANG, L. (ed.); Random House; New York, page 1528.
    ** Daoism is a variant spelling of Taoism, a Chinese philosophical religion advocating a life of simplicity and naturalness.

    The Matrix of Mysticism 

    Unmasking the Dark Secrets of the Catholic Church

    . 2010.  [Roman Church and Orthodox Church took in outside beliefs, customs. Book by Martin HUDALE.]  
       PRNewswire, <http://­­news-releases/­unmasking-the-dark-secrets-of-the-catholic-church-9082­2524.­ht­ml>, April 14, 2010
       NEW YORK, /PRNewswire/ - Martin Hudale's daring and controversial book "The Matrix of Mysticism" exposes the dark secrets of Catholicism's occult roots that are hidden behind the facade of Christian terminology and imagery.
       "The Matrix of Mysticism" reveals rarely known information about occult/pagan philosophies that have strongly influenced the historical development of the Roman and Greek Churches' religious doctrines and practices such as priestly solicitation of women inside the confessional, sacramental magic, purgatory, indulgences, Augustine's Neoplatonic understanding of original sin and moral evil, the inquisition against witchcraft, celibate/monastic mysticism, superiority of celibacy over married life, Virgin Mary as the incarnation of the divine feminine plus much, much more. Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM, April 14, 2010 [2010]
    • HITCHENS, Christopher, 2007; God is not great: How religion poisons everything 

      GOD is NOT GREAT: How religion poisons everything.  

      2007. Christopher HITCHENS.
       God is not Great; Christopher HITCHENS Christopher Hitchens has been hailed as 'one of the most brilliant journalists of our time' (UK Observer). Here he makes the ultimate case against organised religion.
       Combined with a detailed reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. In Hitchens' view hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.
       With chapters entitled 'Religion Kills', 'The "New" Testament Exceeds the Evil of the "Old" One', 'The Koran is Borrowed from Both Jewish and Christian Myths', and 'Is Religion Child Abuse?' Hitchens argues provocatively for a secular life based on science and reason rather than the myths of a man-made wish. (back cover)
       CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS is the author of Letters to a Young Contrarian, and the bestseller No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also writes for The Weekly Standard, The National Review and The Independent.  He was named one of the world's 'Top 100 Public Intellectuals' by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect. (back cover)
       Hinduism's killing of widows is criticised (p 208), and their idea of a limited number of years for hell's duration is discussed (p 219).
       Judaism and Islam are criticised in the pages opposing the circumcision of little boys, and the animists and some Muslims are criticised for cutting part of little girls' pudendae (see p 223).  He also excoriates the masturbation taboo (see pp 214-15 and 226 ff).
       The author quotes the damnation, by the elders of the Amsterdam Jewish synagogue on July 27, 1656, of the great thinker Baruch Spinoza, and their order that no Judaist have any contact with, or read anything written by Spinoza, giving any who did the curse which prophet Elisha laid upon the children (p 261).  (Two she-bears came and tore 42 children after the curse, according to 2 Kings 2:24, or 4 Kings 2:24 in R.C. reckoning.)  The Roman Catholic Vatican, and the Calvinist authorities in Holland, joined in the multi-national suppression of Spinoza's writings (pp 261-2).
       Bible: He sees a nightmare in the Old Testament stories, and shows that the Jewish savant Maimonides praised the crucifixion of Jesus as being a great achievement of the Jewish elders (p 111).  The author sees contradictions in the New Testament, reminds us that Mary seems not to have remembered the prophecies of the Archangel Gabriel and is surprised at Jesus' childhood talks to the temple scholars (p 116).  He gives evidence that the adulterous woman episode was not part of the original Gospel of John, chapter 8, verses 3-11 (pp 120-22).
       Orthodox Christian bishops and priests in the 20th century often blessed the genocidal army of Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic (a former Communist), which shelled the Croatian Catholic cities of Vukovar and Dubrovnik, and attacked the mainly Muslim city of Sarajevo.  His thugs dynamited several historic minarets in Banja Luka during a cease-fire as part of an effort to destroy evidence of the Ottoman Muslim occupation of Serb lands (p 21).
       Roman Catholic Church: Fascism in southern Europe around the 1930s was not condemned by the RCC.  Italy's Benito Mussolini even gave as a justification for using poison gas against Abyssinia (Ethiopia), that the Christians there had persisted in Monophysitism (a dogma about whether Jesus had a human and/or divine nature). (see p 236)
       The Vatican signed a Concordat with the Nazi German dictator, Adolph Hitler, in 1933 (see p 228).
       "The cardinal of Austria proclaimed his enthusiasm at Hitler's takeover of his country at the time of the Anschluss." (p 236)
       The Roman Catholic Vatican headquarters co-operated with the Nazis, even ordering the Catholic Centre Party to disband (p 238).  An encyclical exposing Nazi racial and political theories, and later resistance, were "too little, too late."  Pope Pius XII's infamous 1939 letter toadying to Adolf Hitler is quoted (p 239-40).
       The German Nazis did not keep the promises they made in the Concordat.  Yet, on the Vatican's orders, every year from 1939, on Hitler's birthday (April 20), the German leading bishop sent praise, and wrote that German Catholics were offering fervent prayers to heaven on their altars (see p 239).
       Nazi Germany's puppet regime in occupied Slovakia was actually led by an R.C. priest, Father Tiso (p 236).
       After the warmonger Hitler suicided in April 1945, the RC leader of the RC Irish Free State, Eamon de Valera, went to the German embassy in Dublin to offer Ireland's official condolences (p 237).
       After the atrocities of September 11, 2001, and an attack on Iraq was being discussed by the West, "the pope disgraced himself utterly by issuing a personal invitation to the wanted war criminal Tariq Aziz," who murdered children, and was a senior Catholic member of a ruling fascist-style party (Iraq's) (p 34).
       Islam: The Koran had been written on "paper, stones, palm leaves, shoulder blades, ribs, and bits of leather."  Some Muslim authors say it was gathered together during the first caliphate, that of Abu Bakr, immediately after Mohammad's death; others say it was the fourth caliph, Ali, who did this.  The majority, the Sunnis, say it was Caliph Uthman, reigned 644-656, who made the finalised decision (see pp 130-131).
       The Arabic language at the time had undotted and odd vowels, generating wildly different readings.  Written Arabic even today uses dots to distinguish consonants like "b" and "t", and in its original form had no sign or symbol for short vowels.  To take one instance of the difficulty, the Arabic words written on the outside of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, are different from any version in the Koran.  It is doubtful that the world really has a fully accurate Koran, in spite of what Muslim leaders say (see p 131).
       The Islamic belief that all is arranged by Allah in advance, in this is somewhat similar to the predestination dogma of the Christian reformer John Calvin (see p 234), i.e., Calvinism.
       Saddam Hussein misused Islam to bolster his cruel dictatorship (pp 25-26).
       After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, an Al-Qaeda leader, Jordanian ex-gaolbird named Abu Musab as-Zarqawi, launched a frenzied campaign of murder and sabotage against the long-oppressed Shiite majority!  He wrote to his leader Osama Bin Laden that one reason was the Shiites were heretics to the Muslim faith, and secondly if a religious war could be induced in Iraq, the plans of the "crusader" West could be set at naught. (pp 26-27)
       Protestantism: Calvin's Geneva was a totalitarian state, and he burned Servetus, another reformer, alive.  Some such Christians have an urge to ban books, silence dissenters, condemn outsiders, etc. (p 233)
       German Protestantism surrendered to the German Nazi regime, except for a few brave resisters (see p 238).
       Other faiths: The author also exposes Buddhism by the part which it played in wartime Japan in inducing fanaticism and enrolling suicide pilots (p 201), and the Orange People (Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh, pp 195-98).  Mrs Harris exposed Joseph Smith's supposed translations of the Book of Mormon. (pp 163-4).  The author attacks several religions for fostering anti-Judaism (which, like most people, he misnames "anti-Semitism").
       Scripture he did like: The Bible verse that Hitchens likes is Philippians 4:8 (p 12).
       DETAILS: Allen & Unwin, info@allen andunwin. com , Crows' Nest (NSW, Australia), 2007; 318pp, soft covers, 15 x 23 cm (6 x 9 in), contents, index, bibliography, endnotes. ISBN 978 1 74175 22 9, Dewey 201.5.
       [ROMAN CATHOLIC LEADER WELCOMED HITLER: Austrian Cardinal Innitzer welcomed Nazism to Austria and urged a Ja vote. - see page 476, William L. Shirer, 1960 (orig 1959), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Fawcett Crest Books, United States of America. ENDS.] [2007]

    DAWKINS, Richard; © 2006, revised and updated 2007 edition;   THE GOD DELUSION  

       The God Delusion, 2007, Richard DAWKINS Richard Dawkins is a British biologist, who has written several books nudging away from the "intelligent design" theory of how the universe and living beings came into existence.  This book is designed to wean people off religion, although he reserves a section that says various scriptures, because they are woven into the literature and history of the various cultures on earth, ought to be taught, as literature.
       The scientifically savvy philosopher Daniel Dennett pointed out that evolution contradicts one of the oldest ideas human beings have:  "The idea that it takes a big fancy smart thing to make a lesser thing.  … You'll never see a spear making a spear maker. You'll never see a horse shoe making a blacksmith.  You'll never see a pot making a potter."  Charles Darwin's discovery of a workable process - natural selection - that does that very counter-intuitive thing, is what makes his thoughts so loaded with the power to raise consciousness. (p 142)
       On page 148 the author gives a figure of speech as to how natural selection works.  Each slight change in an organism can give it an advantage, or a disadvantage.  The whole process can be likened to a combination lock on a bank vault -- but one with the difference that every time one of the correct numbers was dialled by a burglar, the door would open a little, and a dribble of money trickle out.  S/he would have the door open in a very short time. (p 148)   Elsewhere he explains that the first creature that somehow developed a part that could sense the difference between darkness and light was taking the first step on the way for its descendants to develop into the thousands of species that have eyes.  Elsewhere he explains that most eyes don't look as if they were designed by an Intelligence -- light has to pass in between cells at the back of the eye before reaching the light-sensitive cells, and the vision comes in upside-down.
       Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are criticised for the story of Abraham planning to kill one of his sons [Isaac for two religions, or Ishmael for Muslims], on the pretext that a Divinity had ordered him to sacrifice the lad. (pp 274-5)  (The author does not point out that the Hebrew scripture, common to Judaists and Christians, keeps saying that the son was his only son [Genesis 22:2, 12, 16], when it is clear from the preceding sections and the story of Abraham's burial that two sons were Ishmael and younger son Isaac.)  The Muslims have their own variants on the near-sacrifice, where Ishmael is to be sacrificed.  All three faiths fail to recoil in horror at the very idea of killing anyone as a whole-burnt sacrifice, let alone one's own child!
       Judaism and Christianity are challenged to explain how Yehovah God could order massacres of Palestinians, even killing the children in some cases.  According to Leviticus 20, the following actions merit the death penalty:  Cursing your parents, adultery, making love to your stepmother or daughter-in-law, homosexuality, marrying both a woman and her daughter, and sex with a beast (the animal too, must be executed). (p 281).
       Besides the Ten Commandments given, with differences, in the Bible books of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, Dawkins wonders whether another set of commandments (most different) are at Exodus 34. (p 279)
       Christianity's long anti-Judaist campaign: In nearly all its forms, Christianity has taken the New Testament's anti-Judaist rants to heart, and it still has not really given them up.
       Dr Martin Luther versus Reason, and versus Judaism: According to the famous German religious reformer Martin Luther [1483-1546], "Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God."  Again: "Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason."  And again: "Reason should be destroyed in all Christians." (p 221)
       Christian hatred of Jews is not just a Roman Catholic tradition.  Dr Luther was a virulent anti-Judaist. At the Diet of Worms [opened Jan 28, 1521 - Merle p 286] he said "All Jews should be driven from Germany."  He also wrote a book entitled On the Jews and their Lies, [1543, <http://­www.­­showcase/c­hronograp­hy/docume­nts/luther-jews.htm>] and describ­ed them as a brood of vipers.  Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler [whose regime started World War II and murdered several million Jews and people of other groups, and who suicided in April 1945] was probably influenced by such writings. (p 311)
       Christian scripture:  The 144,000 who are "sealed" and presumably sing a new song before God's throne in heaven, according to the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse), do not include any women, nor any other than Hebrews, if the two readings (not detailed in Dawkins' book) are taken together -- Rev 7:4-8, and 14:4. (p 292)  [The Jehovah's Witnesses sect makes out that the 144,000 will only be members of their religion.]
       Islam, too, is discussed.  He writes that absolutism is far from dead, and most dangerously in the Muslim world, as well as in the United States "incipient theocracy."  A fierce penalty in the Old Testament is for blasphemy.  Such is still in force in Muslim countries such as Pakistan, where Section 205-C of the penal code prescribes the death penalty for blasphemy.
       On 28 August 2001, Dr Younis Shaikh, a medical doctor and lecturer, was sentenced to death for blasphemy.  He had told students that the prophet Muhammad was not a Muslim before he invented the religion at the age of 40. (p 324)
       Augustine Ashiq 'Kingri' Masih, was sentenced to death in Faisalabad in 2000.  He had been a Christian who had wanted to marry a Muslim woman, which was forbidden by Pakistan law; he converted to Islam, and then was prosecuted for converting for base motives. (p 324)
       In 2006 in Afghanistan, by then supposedly "liberated" from the extremist Taliban regime, Abdul Rahman was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.  An international outcry and a plea of insanity got him free to seek asylum overseas. (p 324-5)
       In Saudi Arabia, on 3 September 1992, Sadiq Abdul Karim Malallah was publicly beheaded after being convicted lawfully of apostasy and blasphemy. (p 325)
       In Britain Sir Iqbal Sacranie, supposedly the country's leading "moderate" Muslim, was challenged by the author on television about the Muslim death penalty for apostacy, and was unable to deny or criticise it. (p 325)
       Cargo Cults: Cargo cults were publicised by David Attenborough's Quest in Paradise, which shows that they started independently in the 19th century and, more famously, in the aftermath of the Second World War.  The indigenous peoples observed that the white foreigners went through various routines but never seemed to grow or catch food, or make things they had in plenty, yet food and other goods were brought to them as cargo.  So the Pacific Island natives thought that the routines were the rituals employed by the white men to beseech the gods, and they tried to copy the structures and the routines after the white men left, expecting that the gods would send them aeroplanes and ships with cargo.
       These cargo cult religions sprang up independently in various places:  Two separate outbreaks in New Caledonia, 4 in the Solomons, 4 in Fiji, 7 in the New Hebrides, and more than 50 in New Guinea. (pp 235-6)  The cult on the Island of Tanna in the New Hebrides (now called Vanuatu) still exists, and the devotees await the second coming of a messianic figure known as John Frum. (pp 236-7)
       It has been possible to see how these cargo religions have started in what might be a similar way to the major established religions.
       Menstruation taboos and Witchcraft beliefs are exposed in pp 193-4
       He points out the dangers of multiculturalism on pages 369-70.
       COMMENDATIONS (on the covers):  'A very important book, especially in these times … a magnificent book, lucid and wise, truly magisterial – Ian McEwan.
       '… entertaining, wildly informative, splendidly written… we are elegantly cajoled, cleverly harangued into shedding ourselves of this superstitious nonsense that has bedevilled us since our first visit to Sunday school' – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times (Britain)
       'A spirited and exhilarating read … Dawkins comes roaring forth in the full vigour of his powerful arguments' – Joan Bakewell, Guardian
       'Passionate, clever, funny, uplifting and above all, desperately needed' – Daily Express
       'A wonderful book … joyous, elegant, fair, engaging, and often very funny … informed throughout by an exhilarating breadth of reference and clarity of thought' – Michael Frayn
       'Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion should be read by everyone from atheist to monk. If its merciless rationalism doesn't enrage you at some point, you probably aren't alive' – Julian Barnes
       'There is not a dull page in Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, a book that makes me want to cheer its clarity, intelligence and truth-telling' – Claire Tomalin
       DETAILS: Black Swan, Transworld Publishers (Random House Group) <>, (© 2006) revised and updated 2007, London.  ISBN 978-0-552-77331-7; Dewey (check around 201), 464 pp, soft covers, 12·5 x 19·8 x 3 cm (5 x 7 3/4 x 1 1/8 in), contents, index, appendix of religion-freeing addresses, bibliography of books cited or recommended, endnotes (excellently organised and cross-referenced).  UK £8·99.  (Source: Warwick Book Exchange, <http://­> Perth, W. Australia, Mar 14, 2009.)
       LINK: . [2007]

    • HARPUR, Tom; (2006);   THE PAGAN CHRIST:   Is Blind Faith Killing Christianity?  

       Tom Harpur in this book claims that the sole and crucial difference between ancient myths of 5000 years ago, and Christianity, is that the latter eventually concentrated a universal concept of the incarnation of the divine in the human, into a single person, Jesus of Nazareth. (pp 36 and 21).
       According to the "father of history," Herodotus, there was a figure known as Iu-em-hotep, or Iusu, who was one of the eight great gods who had existed almost 20,000 years ago.
       In the book The Shadow of the Third Century, Alvin Boyd Kuhn argues that from early Christian times there was a trail of a deliberate skulduggery. (p 50)
       The religion that started under the name of Christianity in the first century was quite different by the fourth century.
       Christianity had begun as a cult with almost wholly pagan origins, but by the fourth century it was loading paganism with contempt. (p 51)
       Books that had been highly regarded at the start were violently repudiated within less than two centuries, and the early doctrines of reincarnation and universal salvation were later condemned.
       Many of the early original thinkers were later condemned as "heretics."
       The mystical / allegorical method of interpreting the sacred Scripture, used at the beginning by Paul and such eminent scholars as Clement of Alexandria and Origen, were replaced by a wholly literal / historical approach. (p 51)
       Like Massey and Kuhn, Harpur says he discovered in his research that there was a documented horror story of book burning, forgery, and deliberate fraud in the second, third and fourth centuries. (p 54)
       Charles B. Waite, in his History of the Christian Religion to the year 200, tells how Eusebius, whose Ecclesiastical History is the principal source for the history of Christianity from the apostolic age until his own day, was a most conspicuous liar. (p 54)
       Few mainline Church members today are aware of how critical Sir Edward Gibbons is of early Christian frauds, deceptions, and forgeries, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
       Gibbon wrote that there had been two admitted spurious passages regarding Jesus Christ inserted while copying the texts of the Jewish historian Josephus.  The Christian writers falsified the numbers of martyrs. (p 55)
       The birthday of Jesus Christ was first celebrated by the early Church in the springtime.  But in 345 Pope Julius decreed that it would thenceforth be held on December 25, three days after the "death" of the winder solstice – and the same day as the births of Mithras, Dionysus, the Sol Invictus (unconquered sun) and some other gods were celebrated.
       Constantine the Great, who legitimised Christianity early in the fourth century, was still worshipping the sun god Helios many years later, as coins and other evidence reveal.  In the fifth century Pope Leo the Great had to tell Church members to stop worshipping the sun. (p 82)
       The Egyptian god Horus was honoured as the good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, and the fisher, just like Jesus was later honoured.
       Horus was crucified between two thieves [check if this is true], was buried in a tomb, and was resurrected. (p 84)
       [DETAILS: Publisher: Allen & Unwin.]
       [SIMILAR TITLES: In addition to THE PAGAN CHRIST: Is Blind Faith Killing Christianity? May 2, 2006, <http://­­Pagan-Christ-Blind-K­illing-Christianity/­dp/0802777414>, Tom Harpur has also written THE PAGAN CHRIST: Recovering the lost light, Mar 1, 2005, <http://­­books/books_thepaga­nchrist.asp>
       [ALLEGED REFUTATION: <http://­­harpur01.html>
    [Information received Sep 2009] [2006]

      HOLY BIBLE; © 1995, and © 2003;    God's Word ® Translation  

      [Missionary Society]
       REVIEW:  This translation earns Religion Clarity Campaign's praise for translating the 10th Commandment, instead of using such subterfuges as "servants," to include a ban on excessively desiring "slaves." (Exodus 20:17 and Deuteronomy 5:21)
       But at Genesis 2:17, it makes the threat for eating the forbidden fruit vague, instead of translating that they will die in the day they eat it.  This was a promise that the god did not keep.
       It puts the "seed" of the post-Fall punishment of Eve into the singular number as "descendant," thus making it mean one person, not leaving is as "seed," which could mean the whole human race (Genesis 3:15).  This rendering supports the idea of a Messiah coming to oppose and harm Satan, but it is possibly not what the Hebrew meant.
       At Luke 24:6 the translation is "He has been brought back to life."  This suggests that the translators realise some of the scripture writers wrote that the god raised Jesus, not Jesus raised himself.
       This translation's intention is to lead people to follow Jesus Christ (page vii).  The writers state it was the first bible translation to be translated from the original languages by full-time Bible scholars and full-time English editorial reviewers (page v), not just part-timers.
       "The features that distinguishe GOD'S WORD ® from other Bible translations are designed to aid readers.  The most obvious of these is the open single-column format" (p vi).  (But, The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) © 1985 was in that format back at least as long ago as 1990, and the Contemporary English Version (CEV) © 1991 and 1995 also was !)
       It is written in plain modernised English, and avoids some theological words such as covenant, grace, justify, repent, and righteousness, though it often gives footnotes explaining their substitute words (p vii).  "Grace" seems to be made "good will," and "covenant" becomes "promise."
       When the original language used "man" in the sense of a human being including women and children, the translators use "person" or similar.  However, they have avoided using "they" when pronouns such as "he" etc. are more natural (see p vii).
       The translators used "the LORD" to represent Yahweh (= Yehovah), which they say is "the name of God in the Old Testament" (page vi).  (However, Religious Clarity Campaign has listed six names in "Spurious changes to the Bible" # Names of the Old Testament God, and in a footnote of "Difficult parts of Hebrew and Greek Scriptures").
       In this translation, poetry is set out like poetry, and for lists and suchlike variations in spacing etc. are used to make the meaning obvious (p vi).
       Half-brackets are at the foot of words that the translation team supplied because the context contains meaning that is not explicitly stated in the original language (p viii).
       The translators ought to be praised for deliberately leaving out some of the "embellishments" that generations of copyists and others have worked into the manuscripts.  Pages 900 and 901 give good examples of how super-piety added to the Word.

       DETAILS: GOD'S WORD ®, Copyright 1995 by God's Word to the Nations (a mission society), PO Box 400, Orange Park, Florida, 32067-0400, <http://­>.  Publisher: Green Key Books © 2003, 2514 Aloha Place, Holiday, Florida 34691, United States of America.  Baker Books.
       This website might use the contraction GWT if using multiple quotations later. - jcm 03 Sep 2011.  Category: Religion / Scripture - Judaism / Scripture - Christian; Dewey shelf number 220; 1140 + xii pages, soft covers, 13·7 x 21·8 x 3·8 centimetres (5 1/2 x 8 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches), contents and alphabetical list of bible books, list of applications for living, concordance, Marked down to AUD $5 at Koorong Books, W. Australia, <http://­> in June 2011.
    [To this webpage 02 Sep 2011. Orig. ? 1995; 2003]

    • COLLINS, Paul, 2005, God's New Man.  Australia flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn.  AUSTRALIA: POPE Benedict XVI could emerge as a surprise supporter of married priests, Catholic commentator and former priest Paul Collins said yesterday. 
       On the eve of the publication of his new book, God's New Man, Dr Collins, who is married, said due to the decline in numbers of men entering the priesthood - a worldwide phenomenon - the day could come when there were not enough of them to celebrate the Eucharist. […] 
       "If anyone will grasp the nettle, it will be Benedict XVI.  I think there is cause for cautious optimism he might do something.  What is more important - celibate clergy or the question of the continuation of the ministry of the church, especially its sacramental nature?" 
       Under the late John Paul II, "yes men" had been favoured for appointment, and because of the decline in vocations the calibre of the talent pool from which to select bishops had suffered. – The Weekend Australian, "Pope called to act on married priests," by Jill Rowbotham, September 3-4, 2005
       [COMMENT: Married clergy is NOT on the mind of Pope Benedict XVI, as appears from his 2007 document.  It would take something like a miracle for clergy selected for being shy of women to actually believe they should revert to apostolic practices.  To start studying this subject, click: "Celibacy crept in from the outside." - Religion Clarity Campaign, March 16, 2007.   COMMENT ENDS.]

    • WALSH, Michael, 2005, The Conclave. This book is mentioned in The Weekend Australian, "Why help from on high can make life hell," by Peter Wilson, April 16-17, 2005.
       EXTRACTS from "Pivotal Papacy" article: Michael Walsh, a British expert on the papacy and author of The Conclave. Even the role of pope, or bishop of Rome, did not exist as we know it during St Peter's lifetime, … Rome did not even have an overall bishop until about the middle of the second century, …
       … the title of pope or universal bishop was first awarded in 607, attending mass did not become mandatory until the 11th century and the celibacy of priests was decreed by Gregory VII only in 1079. [???] – "Pivotal Papacy," The Weekend Australian, by Peter Wilson, April 23-24, 2005. [ 2005]
    • BRESLIN, Jimmy, 2004, The Church that Christ Forgot (or is it The Church That Forgot Christ?). LOS ANGELES: Now, the columnist for New York's Newsday newspaper, with a unique in-your-face writing style, says enough with all that "saint/sinner" stuff. In The Church that Christ Forgot, his 14th book, 75-year-old Breslin says he has finally learned that he is in the wrong business and now it is time for him to do nothing less than save the scandal-plagued Roman Catholic Church, of which he claims to be a devout and loyal member. He jokes that it is time to change jobs, to make a career move. No more books with titles like Can't Anybody Here Play This Game and The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, Breslin has a Church to save. – condensed from Taipei Times, <http://­­News/feat/arc­hives/­2004/08/14/­2003198762>, Reuters, Page 16, Saturday, Aug 14, 2004
       See also: The New York Times, 'The Church That Forgot Christ': Bishop Breslin, books/review/ 08NEWMAN.html , By MICHAEL NEWMAN, August 15, 2004. NEW YORK: It must be a tiring job, being Jimmy Breslin. Chasing priests accused of sexual abuse through the courts, harassing an insurance company to pay for a poor man's grave, introducing his friend Eugene Kennedy to his friend Jacqueline Onassis: it's all in a day's work. For the last few years, in the column he still writes for Newsday, that work has often consisted of exposing the "pedophiles and pimps" of the Roman Catholic Church. […] He will start his own church and install himself as bishop. His friend Danny Collins will help out. His sermons will be about the need for better posture and low-income housing, and he will lecture the pope about his misguided views on abortion and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
       [COMMENT: Better if he lectured the pope about the past forgeries on which doctrines have been built and whole countries claimed, and the misguided anti-scriptural view that celibacy is better than marriage for clergy. COMMENT ENDS.] [2004]
    • GREELEY, Andrew M., 2004, The Catholic Revolution: New Wine, Old Wineskins and the Second Vatican Council. UNITED STATES. See Daily Southtown, "After 50 years, controversial priest would do it all again," , By Michelle Mullins, April 30, 2004 [2004]
    • The National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood 2003, <­welcome.htm>. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The founder has published a book. Dedicated to the Renewal of the Catholic Priesthood (sighted Oct 15 03) [ 2003]

      SPONG, John Shelby; 2002.    A New Christianity for a New World:    Why Traditional Faith Is Dying & How a New Faith Is Being Born.  

       John Shelby Spong, a retired Christian bishop, has not believed in most of the traditional teachings of Christianity for quite some years.  He writes that he has a close identification with British Church of England (Anglican communion) Bishop John A. T. Robinson, whose 1963 book Honest to God raised a storm of negativity unprecedented in religious circles until the Muslims put a death price on the head of Salman Rushdie (pages x-xi). A New Christianity for a New World, John Shelby SPONG
       He was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese (Anglican, i.e., Church of England, communion) of New Jersey for twenty-four years until his retirement in 2001. (I-Newswire, http://www. i-newswire. com/local- conference- addresses- religious/21473 , February 9, 2010)
       Bishop Spong does not believe there is a supernatural being whom we call God or who can answer prayer (page 3). 
       Spong states he is a Christian (p 3), but he does not believe Jesus had a virgin birth, could perform miracles, or founded a Church. (pp 4-5).  He does not believe that humans are born into sin ("Original Sin") (p 5), and rejects the idea of a fatherly God sending a son to die for other people's sins.  He does not believe Jesus was born in Bethlehem (p 4), or that after death he rose into the heavens (p 5).
       Holy Communion: "The cannibalistic ritual of eating the flesh of the deceased deity is filled with ancient psychological nuances that are disturbing to modern sensitivities." (p 11)
       Many pewfilling Christians might say: Why on earth is Bishop Spong still a bishop?  If these Christians read his deconstruction of the Bible from page 84 to 122 they might ask themselves: Why in heaven's name am I treating the Bible as if it were divine writ?
       Epistles before the Gospels: Scholars believe that the Epistles, most of which are supposedly written by Paul, were written before any of the Gospels (p 87).  Paul is, therefore, one of the first witnesses to the Jesus story.  Deliberately attempting to read Paul, but NOT through the eyes and stories of the later-written gospels, gives fascinating insights.  In Paul there is no miraculous birth; Jesus was "born of a woman, born under the law" (Galatians 4:4) (p 87).  There are no Jesus miracle stories in Paul's writings.
       Paul writes that after his death, Jesus appeared to Cephas (i.e., Peter), and then manifested himself "to the Twelve" (p 89) [1 Corinthians 15:5].  Evidently Paul had not heard the story that one of the Twelve, Judas, had supposedly "handed him over" or betrayed Jesus to the authorities.
       The next New Testament book written is said to be the Gospel of Mark.  There is no miraculous-birth story in Mark, and Mary the mother of Jesus with his brothers and sisters, believing he is mentally disturbed, come to take Jesus away (p 91).  [Mary in Mark is quite unlike the Mary of general Christian faith who experienced miraculous events before, during, and after the birth of her son Jesus, and was told he would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).]
       After God reportedly raised Jesus from the dead, the gospels differ.  In Mark, the women at the tomb, after talking to a supernatural messenger, recoil in fear and flee, saying nothing to anyone (Mark 16:8).  In Luke the women also did not see the risen Lord (Luke 24:4-11).  But in Matthew the women actually see the risen Christ in the garden (Matthew 28:9ff), [and they are told "tell my brothers to go to Galilee: there they will see me."]  The women do as they are told, which is to go quickly and tell the disciples (p 101).  Mark also puts Galilee in as part of the story (Mark 16:7, 14:28) (p 101). 
       [Bishop Spong does not seem to discuss John's gospel's story of the raising of Jesus.  In this, Mary Magdalene first found the stone rolled away (no soldiers guarding it in this version), and later sees the risen Jesus, and talks to him (John 20:15)].  But no mention of Jesus going before the disciples into Galilee – on the contrary, "on the evening of that first day of the week" the disciples were together behind doors locked for fear of the Judeans (Jews), when Jesus appeared to them (John 20:19).  As Judeans were feared, it is likely that the disciples were still in Judea, and an informed guess is that the disciples were hiding in Jerusalem.  They were in the house a week later (John 20:26), so it seems they were NOT travelling to Galilee to meet the raised Jesus!  In addition, checking Luke's gospel, in the Emmaus story two disciples returned quickly to Jerusalem and found the Eleven and others (Luke 24:33), and those present were joined by Jesus, who told them to stay in the city until they had been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49).  The "city" was Jerusalem.  A Galilee trip seems to be missing!]
       These contradictory accounts cannot be history.
       Condemned for denying centrality of the Earth: Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake on the orders of Roman Catholic leaders on February 17, 1600.  He had been found guilty of no longer believing (as seemingly shown in the Hebrew scripture book Joshua, 10:12-13) that the earth was the centre of the universe, around which the sun rotated, (pp 221-2).  Bruno based this belief on the discoveries of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.
       Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) himself avoided execution by recanting.  It was not until 1991, decades after space travel from the 1950s onwards seems to have proved that these astronomers were right, that the Roman Catholic Church finally admitted publicly that it had been wrong to condemn Galileo (p 9).  Was Bruno mentioned?
       [However, an article in the RC press around November-December 2009 said that Bruno was not condemned for his astronomy, but for Satanism and other sins.  As if such an imaginary sin as Satanism could excuse judicial murder by burning a living person to death!  In the year 2000 Pope John Paul II had admitted that the RC Church had done some wrong things, but one wonders if there was an apology for the burnt Giordano Bruno.]
       Spong does not want Christianity to go down that path again (p 221). 
       What appears to be a slip in writing appears on page 49, where somehow Hinduism is alleged to have evolved from the budding universal monotheism.  Hinduism has thousands of gods, and in spite of valiant semantic efforts by some Hindus and some Westerners, does NOT have a Trinity.
       It would appear to me that Bishop Spong is in a Church, but he is not of that Church or any Christian Church.  Unfortunately for religion, his arguments exposing various sets of belief in a God or gods are unassailable.  He ought to withdraw from his Church. - Q. C. Fortis, Nov 7, 2009, revised Dec 10, '09, Jan 11, 2010, Mar 9, 2010, Oct 26, 2010. #

       DETAILS: HarperCollinsPublishers Australia, , (© 2001) 2002, Sydney and Auckland.  ISBN 0 7322 7460 5; Dewey shelf number 230, 276 + xxv pages, soft covers, 15·5 x 23·5 x 2·5 cm (6 x 9¼ x 1 in), contents, index, bibliography, endnotes.  Cover photograph: Melba Levick.  Printed and bound in Australia. AUD $29.95.
    [orig. 2001; 2002]

      JAMES, Alexander; © 2001;   The Myth of Christianity 

       The Myth of Christianity; Alexander JAMES On the western side of Australia, Alexander James has gathered telling facts about Christianity through the centuries.
       The most astounding fact about Jesus Christ is that he is not mentioned anywhere in Jewish or Roman history (page 2).  What does that matter, one could say, if he fills most of the New Testament?  Well it does matter if you triumphantly emerge in Judea as the Lord, the Messiah, the King, the Son of God, and not one of the twenty or more Jewish or Roman historians writing at the time mentions one word about your presence or your miracles.
       Dedicated Christians should rightfully say that it would be impossible for Jesus not to be highlighted by these Roman and Jewish historians as they penned rheems (oops, reams) of text ecstatically announcing the glorious birth, the miracles and other wondrous events. But the reality is that not one word was written by historians of the day, and it was though he had never existed. We are therefore left pondering why most of the people living in Judea and Galilee at the time were unaware of his presence, and why they did not know of a Jesus Christ in far away Rome. But there is a very good reason for this, and will be addressed later.
       Biblical analysts are a lot more relaxed these days as they go about the business of separating reality from myth and truth from fable within the complex structure of the Christian Holy Bible. For as one analyst puts it, if you read the gospels from the four biographers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, vertically and consecutively, from start to finish, one after another, you get the impression of unity, harmony and agreement in their writings. However, if you read them horizontally in comparison to one another, it is disagreement and disharmony, and this reflects the different interpretations in the gospels of the four biographers.
       Luke only recorded the vital elements of the inn, the shepherds, the manger and the angels. And only Matthew recorded Herod the Great, the Magi and the slaughter of the innocents.
       Analysts have had some difficulty in correctly understanding the syntax and linguistic rules applied to the scriptures. Some of the gospels in the New Testament were excluded from the biblical collection, some suffered a slight change of meaning during anglicisation and others were simply rejected and totally excluded from the text, and many are plain copies of other works.
       As well, by careful study, it has been estimated that the entire scope of the four biographers in the gospels, covers only 50 days (cumulatively) in the life of Jesus, and Mark appears to have Jesus complete all his accomplishments in just one year. Giving the unavoidable conclusion that Jesus made his appearance in Judea as the Messiah over a relatively short period of time. Why would this be so?
       Having four gospels in the Bible, when the story is essentially the same and repeated with variations and interpretations by each of the biographers, could be one problem. It is the different interpretations of the same event by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that has somewhat undermined the veracity of the Bible. This has led to a structured analysis by interested scholars, of each of the events in the four canonical gospels with other sources available.
       The Quelle analysis system and the Gospel of Thomas are just two sources where comparisons have been made with interesting results. But why do we need four gospels of the same occurrences? Why couldn't Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have simply co-authored a principal gospel? … a primary gospel could have been established, edited and refined by each, as they made their contributions. (from pages 2 and 3)
       For centuries, to question the correctness of the bible and the main Christian Churches' interpretation of it would lead to torture and death.  In addition, many Christian Churches tortured thousands (the author claims that some historians say nine million) of innocent women, claiming that they were witches. (p 4)
       Pope John Paul has apologised for the monstrous acts of his Church (the Roman Catholic one) during those years.  But if the truth of God and Jesus Christ was beautiful, glorious, undeniable and unquestionable, why did Church authorities kill doubters ? (see p 4)
       In fact, the debate still rages, Mr James writes, as to whether the Hebrew scriptures' characters Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Sampson (sic) were only Jewish mythical characters. (p 7)  This follows research by German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen in the 19th century and Nosh and Alt in the 20th. (p 7)
       There are hundreds if not thousands of religions in the world (p 8).  Devout Muslims almost fanatically believe that the Qu'ran (Koran) is the true book of divine thought and divine law.  Although Muhammad supposedly passed by Moses, Abraham and Jesus as he went up to heaven, the religions seem incompatible, and wars have raged over the centuries. (p 9)
       The book advances the theory that early Christianity was really formed by an investor, Barnabas, and a director, Paul, but gives no quotes to support this.  There is coverage of the Christians' persecution of independent thinkers and of Judaists (Jews).
       A good proof-reader and an editor would have improved the book, which has much valuable information including the contradictions in the supposed error-free scriptures and teachings.

       DETAILS: Publisher: Premier Publishers, PO Box 7021, Cloisters Square, WA, 6850, Australia , © 2001, Perth (W. Australia).  ISBN unknown; 246 pages, soft covers, 15 x 21 x 1·3 centimetres (~ 6 x 8 1/4 x 1/2 inch), contents, index, bibliography, photographs.  AUD $10·95 secondhand at Warwick Book Exchange <http://­> in 2011.
    [To this webpage 19 Jun 2011; published 2001]

    • LOGAN, John, with LYLE (Father), Tall Order, 2001, Access Press, PO Box 446, Bassendean, WA, 6054, Australia, $33 including GST plus postage (2001 price). 
       PERTH: The fascinating biography of a man who was ordained an Anglican Priest, married and had three children, then converted to the Catholic Church, to become one of the few married priests in its Latin Rite. His parishes as an Anglican were in the Bahamas, in South Africa, and Mount Barker in Western Australia. After becoming an RC, he served in the Western Australian areas of Scarborough, Armadale, Toodyay, Northam and Mosman Park. He discusses with humour and understanding the problems he, his wife, and children, encountered. He expresses some thoughtful and surprising views on celibacy for the clergy, the future of the Church, and problems facing today's youth. Soft cover, 144 pages, ISBN 0 86445 151 2, $33 (inc. GST). [2001]

    HOGUE, John; (hardback 1998) 2000;    THE LAST POPE:    The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome:    The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium  

       The Last Pope; John HOGUE; 2000 Wickedness in high places in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries is the main lesson learnt from this book, not the whys and wherefores of supposed prophecies.
       Whether the prophecies of St Malachy and Dr Michel Nostradamus and others came true, or were fraudulently written up after many of the events took place, was of little importance to me.
       To read of the forgeries composed and used to gain and hold power would deflate many Christians' faith.
       The forgeries discussed include the Donation of Constantine, dated as if it was granted in A.D. 315, which was shown by Pope Stephen III to Pepin, King of the Franks, to get his help in 752, and used repeatedly for centuries.  It was used for more than a thousand years, its glaring errors being exposed by Lorenzo Valla in 1440, but withheld from scholars until a "leak" in 1517 (pages 26-27).
       This supposed grant of earthly kingship to the Popes stated that Constantine the Great had been cured from leprosy by Pope Sylvester.  The pope actually ruling at the time was Pope Miltiades, the book claims (page 26).
       This forgery was used by Englishman Pope Adrian IV (surname Breakspear) to grant the English King Henry II the right to subjugate Ireland (p. 49).  We know how harmful that was to the Irish, and it gave the English some very harmful ideas, too.
       Pope Innocent III condemned English King John for approving Magna Charta, a foundation of liberty, in 1215 (p. 62).
       At the Fourth Lateran Council Innocent III approved orders for Jews to wear yellow hats and other forms of distinctive clothing (p. 62).
       Pope after Pope is recorded as setting up grievous laws persecuting Judaists (Jews), and people who had different views of Christianity.
       For centuries the brothels of Rome had to pay licence fees to the Pope.  For example, Sixtus IV (1471-1484) received 30,000 ducats a year in these fees (p. 131) .
       In addition, once the non-biblical rules forbidding priests to marry had been forced onto them, a papal tax was imposed on the priests who had live-in mistresses.
       A different kind of toleration was shown by Gregory XIII (1572-1585), who taught that aborting a foetus less than 40 days old was not a crime (p. 165).  Modern Roman Catholics are taught that any abortion is a serious (that is, a "mortal") sin.  This is another example of the changes of doctrine in the R.C.C.
       Papal lotteries had been popular in Rome, but were banned by the strict Pope Benedict XIII (p. 204), who also left the finances to an embezzler, Cardinal Coscia. 
       The next Pope, Clement XII (1730-40), re-started the lotteries (p. 205), and saw that Coscia was prosecuted and imprisoned.
       The book does not forget the sale of indulgences and forgiveness for money, nor the persecution of astronomer Galileo.
       The author seems to believe that St Peter was the first pope (p. 356), which is challenged by several authors.  Peter went to Antioch, and reportedly wrote from Babylon.  The book incorrectly writes of the "ordaining" (see p. 267) of those chosen to be pope.
       And was the reference to "peacock thrones" on page 19 a mistake ?
       There is an argument for contraception, to save a world bursting at the seams through irresponsible parenthood (pp. 308-310).  He opposes Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) (pp 306-08, 312).
       And the book title?  Yes, some of the prophecies state that the last of the Popes will take the throne around 2010-2012, and the worst may come by the 2020s (p. 352). - John Massam, March 28, 2012. #

       DETAILS: Publisher of paperback edition in Australia: Element Books. Distributor in Australia: Penguin Australia Ltd., Ringwood (Victoria); (© 1998 and 2000).  ISBN 1 86204 732 4; Category: Prophecy, Religion; Size: 15·5 x 23·3 x 3·3 centimetres (6 x 9 1/8 x 1 1/4 inches), 404 + xviii pages, soft covers, contents, index, epilogue, select bibliography.  UK £12·99, USA $19.95 (misprinted with a £ sign), Canada $27.99, bought secondhand AUD $14.95.
    [(bt. Jan 2012; reviewed Mar 28, 2012) (orig. hardback 1998) 2000]

    • CROSBY, Michael H., The Dysfunctional Church; Addiction and codependency in the family of Catholicism,
    1991, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. (bought Jan 22 2004)
       UNITED STATES: In this book the Rev. Michael Crosby argues that the Roman Catholic Church is dysfunctional because it is addicted to power and control plus the unmarried clergy method of working. Using modern writers' theories as a framework, he then uses parts of St Matthew's Gospel as a corrective.

       [On p 43 he mentions the Jewish war of liberation of 66 to 70 AD which finally was overcome, but he does not seem to know of the next Jewish war of independence of about 135 AD, nor of the authoritative age-old rabbinical colleges in Babylon, which actually continued for about another 1000 years.] [1991]

    • VAN STRAATEN, Werenfried, 1989 (orig 1969-70), Where God Weeps, Ignatius Press, San Francisco (revised American edition). ISBN 0-89870-234-8; 252 pp, 13.5 x 20.5 cm (5 1/4 x 8 in), softcover, no index. (Originally in German: Wo Gott weint, 1969.) Where God Weeps, VAN STRAATEN, 22.4kB
       Father Werenfried van Straaten is a Dutch member of the Catholic Norbertine order, whose name means "warrior of peace."  He has been called by his many admirers and recipients of generosity "the bacon priest."  He has worked in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and behind the Iron Curtain through the movement "Aid to the Church in Need."
       In this book he chronicles government corruption and lawless rebels destroying Christian communities, as well as Communistic repression of religious people, and the deception of some Christians by the peaceful co-existence propaganda of those times.  Aid to the Church in Need has agents in several countries (see Aid to the Church in Need Mirror).
    [© 1988]

    JONES, E. Michael; © 1988;   Medjugorje: The Untold Story  

       Has Mary, the mother of Jesus, been appearing to six Yugoslav young people ever since 1981? (see page 101)  Do you believe that everyone in Heaven will be wearing clothes of grey, pink, and yellow?   Well, that is what one of the "seers," Vicka, said in a filmed interview (page 7). Medjugorje: The Untold Story. E. Michael JONES
       Do you think that every good Christian should fast two days every week on bread and water? (p 14)  And pray for four hours every day? (pp 13-14)  This book, by American journalist E. Michael Jones, is full of surprises about the supposed apparitions of Mary since 1981 at Medjugorje, Croatia-Herzegovina, which was part of Yugoslavia until it dissolved.
       Hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics, and a few others, visit this area every year, in spite of the strangeness of the supposed statements of Mary, whom the youngsters call "Gospa."  By the time Mr Jones went investigating around 1988, so much fabrication, fanaticism, and disobedience to Roman Catholic Church leaders had occurred that the Bishop Pavao Zanic banned the devotion, but he is being defied by Franciscans and foreign clergy, etc. 
       Some of the important actors include the U.S. R.C. teacher Mr Denis Nolan (p 49), R.C. charismatic-movement Franciscan priests Frs Jozo Zovko and Tomislav Vlasic (p 60), Fr Ivica Vego, and a Lutheran enthusiast Wayne Weible (p 34).
       One of the "seers" did not know what the Annunciation was (pp 9-11), and another mixed up the apostle Judas with Thomas, and a priest altered the written report later (p 113).
       Rosary beads were being turned into gold, a tour leader said, showing one (p 30), and a medal had been miraculously attached at the beginning of "the eighth decade," a pilgrim said (pp 30-31).  But, there are only five decades in a rosary beads.  The "miracle of the sun" (p 30) was being repeated in a U.S. classroom (pp 71-72).
       The "appearances" which started in the open air, were going to end in the village church on 3rd July, 1981 (p 115), but they have been going on ever since, the R.C. world is told.  According to then-teacher Denis Nolan, "Our Blessed Mother's real birthday was on August 5 and not September 8 as fixed by the Church." (p 64)
       Healings are alleged, but are disproved (pp 31-33).  Manda (Sister Rufina, a Franciscan nun) appealed for support for her and a priest's son, Toni (Tony) (born January 25, 1977; see page 87).  This birth was some years before that priest, Fr Tomislav Vlasic (pp 83-88), arrived at Medjugorje.  Another nun got pregnant, allegedly to Franciscan Father Ivica Vego (p 28), who had been manipulating the "messages" (p 95).  And one of the "seers," Marija Pavolic, recanted one of her statements on July 11, 1988 (pp 139-40).
       Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later to become Pope Benedict XVI), prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, had been indecisive (pp 77-80).  Archbishop Frane Franic of Split tried to override the bishop supposedly in charge of the area (p 78).   Catholic editors can get a free trip to Medjugorje if they sign up 15 pilgrims (p 5).  But, is it only a joke that got out of hand, i.e., a teenage prank that became a world-wide religious phenomenon? (pp 119-122)
       None of the contradictions, the two pregnancies, the disobedient visiting priests administering the sacraments, the expulsions from the Franciscan Order, the condemnation of the Mostar Bishop Pavao Zanic, and two inquiries by the Yugoslav hierarchy, has stopped the tourist-pilgrims coming.  Neither have the publication of this book and other exposés of this big hoax.
       (Review written July 24-27, 2010, expanded August 5-6, 2010.)

       DETAILS: Fidelity Press, (© 1988) 1989 updated second printing, 206 Marquette Avenue, South Bend, Indiana 46617, United States of America; Printed in the U.S.A. by the Saint Martin de Porres Dominican Community.  ISBN 0-929891-00-7; Dewey shelf number 232.917, 146 + xxii pages, paperback, 10·5 x 18 x 1·2 centimetres (4 1/8 x 7 1/8 x 1/2 inch), contents, index, foreword by Fr Robert J. Fox (Director, Fatima Family Apostolate, Alexandria, South Dakota), preface, sources cited as they are referred to, index. US $6.95 (AUD $4.95 second-hand from Warwick Book Exchange <http://­>, Perth, Western Australia ~ 2010).
       [AUTHOR was Mr E. Michael Jones, editor of Fidelity Magazine, South Bend, Indiana, USA. ENDS.]
       [ON INTERNET: this book on Amazon Books.
       "The Marian Catholic Apostasy," by David Hughes, AND
       "The Truth About Medjugorje," by Msgr. Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar.  Bishop Pavao Zanic presided over the Diocese of Mostar, from 1971-1993.  He exercised full ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje, which is located in the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  He published the article in 1990.  Read these articles at: . ENDS.]
       [STILL WAVERING: The Vatican, in spite of various articles and books such as this, plus the opposition of the RC Mostar diocesan bishop, and negative reports from the other bishops, seems to be STILL hoping against hope in 2010.  Read "Medjugorje seers to reveal 'secrets' to Vatican: report," The Record, p 16, Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at: religion/ religchron4. htm#medjugorje_ seers_to .  How sad!  ENDS.]
    [© 1988]

    COLLINS, Paul, © 1997, Papal Power

         Australia flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn.  Papal Power, Paul COLLINS The papacy of the Roman Catholic Church is one of the world's oldest continuous institutions. Paul Collins, Australian historian and inveterate Vatican watcher, has looked beyond the details of this astonishing parade of over 200 Bishops of Rome to uncover the dynamics of papal power.
       He argues that if it was service that characterised papal leadership in the first millennium, power is what has characterised it in the second. He traces the developments in theory and reality that have lead to a modern papacy that exercises virtually sole and total rule over the world's largest religious community.
       Collins's provocative new study proposes a new model in the Catholic Church (he evidently contends, a la the Vatican, that it is entering its third millennium) – one that would allow all Catholics to participate in the work and decision-making of the Church. (back cover)
       He quotes the Bible, Matthew 20:25-28, which includes: "… whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant … your slave … not to be served but to serve …"
       "The power of the pope, as presently constituted, is simply and totally unacceptable to the Orthodox, Anglican, or Protestant Churches.  But their views cannot be ignored by Rome." (page ix)
       He evidently believes the Romish dogmas that Paul and Peter went to Rome, and were quoted as co-leaders of the Church there (pp 135-8).  (On the contrary, Peter possibly went eastwards to Babylon, as mentioned near the end of the suspect epistle 1 Peter at 5:13.  There were great Judaism colleges there, which existed for another ten centuries.)
       Collins quotes the fact that Constantinople was, according to one council, the "New Rome" whose dignity was placed as being second only to Rome.
       Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) thought he was spiritual monarch of Europe and king of the world (pp 11-12).  Boniface VIII (1294-1303) in the papal bull Unam sanctam of 1302 taught that papal power was divine in origin and superior to any other power in the world (pp 11-12). 
       Boniface IX (1389-1404) sold church positions, and sold indulgences (p 209).
       Collins discusses the Council of Pisa in 1409, which dismissed two rival popes (Gregory XII and Benedict XIII) and elected a THIRD pope, Alexander V (p 210).  Later John XXIII (not the modern one), a worldly adventurer and libertine, took office, but had to flee from Rome and requested the protection of a civil ruler.  The German King or Emperor Sigismund pressured him to call a general council – it was at Constance, and at least one of the deposed popes issued a declaration that he had called it, in an attempt to "legitimise" it (p 211).
       "… the doctrinal status of the decrees of the Council of Constance (1414-1418) are far more legitimate than papalist apologists of Vatican I suggested. … there is a legitimate form of conciliarism." (p 204)
       "Haec sancta [declared] … This holy synod … general council … has power immediately from Christ … everyone … is bound to obey it …" (p 211)
       The history of the papacy shows that it has not always been right, and some teachings have been abandoned or changed.  Examples are the bull Unam sanctam of Innocent III, Mirari vos of Gregory XVI, and the Syllabus of Errors by Pius IX (p 128).  Another example is the suppression of the Jesuits by Clement XIV (1769-74) under duress by the Catholic monarchs (p 33).  Pius VII restored the Jesuit order in 1814 (p 38).
       Gregory XVI (1831-46) opposed freedom of conscience, freedom of the Press, and the right of oppressed Polish Catholics to rebel against their oppressive rulers (p 21).  The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s in its Declaration on Religious Freedom directly contradicted Mirari vos (p 22).   "He even refused to allow railways in the Papal States !" (p 41)
       Paul Collins is one of Australia's most controversial and respected commentators on the Catholic Church. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School and the Australian National University, he is a historian, and was a priest, and broadcaster. Dr. Collins is also former Specialist Editor of Religion for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His other publications include Mixed Blessings, No Set Agenda, and God's Earth. He is currently completing a popular history of the popes (back cover).
       [PUBLICATION DETAILS: Softcover, 240 pp, 13·5 x 21 cm (5 3/8 x 8 1/4 in), index, notes, bibliography. ISBN 1 86371 678 5, Dewey 262.136; HarperCollinsReligious, Blackburn (Vic., Australia), AUS$22.95. ENDS.]

    • WANSBROUGH, Henry (ed); 1990;    THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE  

       New Jerusalem Bible, regular; Henry WANSBROUGH ed. Since the initial publication of The Jerusalem Bible in 1966, the field of biblical scholarship has burgeoned.  New insights into the peoples, lands, and beliefs of the ancient world come to light almost daily.  The New Jerusalem Bible takes all these changes into consideration in a complete revision and updating of this famous Bible.
       Now translated directly from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, this new version is a monumental achievement of the very latest in scholarship, reflecting the research, study, and translation of the past two decades.
       The New Jerusalem Bible, unlike many Bibles available today, gives the reader the complete text of the ancient Canon of the Scriptures, as it was fixed in the fourth century A.D. [but not by those who disagreed with leaders of Western Christianity]  Moreover, all the texts, including the deuterocanonical books and passages (those passages not included in the Hebrew Bible but found in the Septuagint Bible of the Jewish Diaspora and canonized as Scripture by the Fathers of the Church), are presented in their original "Catholic" order – not relegated to an Apocryphal appendix.  [Judaist scholars, Christian Reformers during centuries including Protest­ants, and later the Orthodox Churches, rejected most and in some cases all of the Apocrypha.]
       Beyond the United States, The New Jerusalem Bible is the official English-language text used in Catholic liturgies throughout the world.  But it is more than the Bible of choice for Catholics, as well as for many of the Orthodox and Anglican churches.  Because of its exquisite scholarship – inspired by the Dominicans of the renowned Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem – and its exceedingly high literary quality (J. R. R. Tolkien was one of the original translators), The New Jerusalem Bible has taken its place as the Bible of choice for all, Christian and non-Christian, believer and sceptic, who wish to own a Bible, independent of sectarian or confessional considerations.
       In its revised form, The New Jerusalem Bible has been scrupulously updated to account for the linguistic, archaeological, and theological advances since the celebrated publication of the first edition.  With its new sensitivity to inclusive language, The New Jerusalem Bible has truly become the Bible for English-speaking readers.
    Praise for The New Jerusalem Bible
       "The finest study Bible available today." – Robert G. Boling, McCormick Theological Seminary
       "Truly magnificent." – Journal of Biblical Literature
       "The English study Bible – the best on the market!" – Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., Catholic University of America
       "Catholics are not alone in cherishing this great translation of the Bible." – The Christian Century
       "The new translation is stronger than before, closer to the Hebrew and Greek … A most welcome publishing event." – Donald Senior, C. P., Catholic Theological Union
       "The best of modern scholarship joined with a deep reverence and devotion for the Bible as the Word of God." – Christianity Today
       "One of the most important modern English versions." – Victor Paul Furnish, Southern Methodist University
       "The best of the modern translations." – The Living Church
  • Complete and unabridged biblical text
  • In-depth section introductions
  • One-column format, 2,136 pages
  • Verse numbers in margins, with bullets in text
  • Full and complete footnotes
  • Cross-references in margins
  • Table of measures and money
  • Eight pages of maps with gazetteer
  • Chronological and genealogical tables
  • Calendar
  • Indexes, including biblical themes, personal names, and major footnotes (back of dust jacket)
  • Both metric and imperial equivalents for weights and measures.
       DETAILS: Publisher: Doubleday, © 1985, 1990; Darton, Longman & Todd,Ltd, and Doubleday, New York.  ISBN 0-385-14264-1 (Regular Edition); Category: Religion, Christian, Scripture; Dewey shelf number 220.520 72; 2136 pages, hard covers with dust jacket, 16 x 24 x 5 centimetres (6 1/4 x 9 1/2 x 2 inches), contents, footnotes, alphabetical table of major footnotes, introductions to various sections of the bible, chronology, Hasmonaean and Herodian genealogy, calendar, measures and money, index of persons, list of original collaborators, 7 maps, index to maps.
       Foreword by General Editor Henry Wanbsbrough, of Ampleforth Abbey, York, dated November 1984.  Nihil Obstat: John Deehan, M.A., S.T.B., L.S.S., Censor.  Imprimatur: + Cardinal George Basil Hume, O.S.B., Archbishop of Westminster, June 18, 1985. 
       Much of this Bible is from the French-language La Bible de Jérusalem, published by Les Editions du Cerf, Paris (revised edition 1973), but the notes and translations have where necessary been updated in the light of more modern knowledge.  Phototypeset by Input Typesetting Ltd, London; Printed in the United States of America.  U.S. $50.00, CANADA $62.00; about 2010-11 AUD $65.00 at Koorong, West. Aust.
       [FOOTNOTE: The Roman Catholic translators claim on the front of the dust jacket that it is "The complete text of the ancient canon of the scriptures with up-to-date introductions and notes."  Doubters would be well-advised to check the history of an Esdras book, part of the RC canon, and rejected by the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent, more than 1500 years after Christ. [© 1985; 1990]

    • GARRETT, Les; 1982; Which Bible can we Trust? Which Bible Can we Trust? Les GARRETT, 20.8kb
       Which Bible can we Trust? 1982, Les Garrett (compiler), Christian Centre Press, Gosnells (Western Australia), pp 148-151, March 1982.
       PERTH (W. Australia): Modern Bible revisers rely mainly on a handful out of more than 1000 manuscripts, which differ; there are 10 different correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus.
       In enumerating and describing the five ancient Codices now in existence, Dean Burgon remarks that four of these, and especially the Vatican and Sinaitic Mss. "have, within the last twenty years, established a tyrannical ascendancy over the imagination of the critics which can only be fitly spoken of as blind superstition."
       Those ancient Codices have indeed been blindly followed, notwithstanding that they differ "not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the whole body of extant Mss. besides, but even from one another. This last circumstance, obviously fatal to their corporate pretensions, is unaccountably overlooked. As said of the two false witnesses that came to testify against Christ, so it may be said of these witnesses who are brought forward at this late day to testify against the Received Text, "But neither so did their witness agree together."
    DETAILS:- 332 pp, 15 x 21cm (5 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches), soft covers, no index.
       Compiler: Pastor Les Garrett, Christian Family Centre, Perth, Western Australia; Publisher: Christian Centre Press, PO Box 77, Gosnells, W.A., 6110; Foreword: David Otis Fuller, DD, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA; Introduction: Pastor Frank Hultgren, Shiloh Faith Centre, Perth, W.A. Publication date March 1982.
       FOUR PAGES are reproduced in Religion Chronology, and even more in Spurious. ENDS.]

    • British reformed Churches; (first © 1961) 2nd edition © 1970;    The New Testament Revised, The New English Bible 

       The New Testament Revised;  British reformed Churches After initiatory action by the Rev. G.S.Hendry, backed by the Church of Scotland in 1946 in response to the Presbytery of Stirling and Dunblane, the work of translating to publish The New English Bible was started.
       The language of the Authorized Version of 1611 (King James's Bible) was already archaic when it was printed, according to the preface of the New English Bible, and had become more archaic. (see page v)
       When translating the New Testament, instead of following the Received Text, the NEB scholars relied on a smaller number of more ancient manuscripts, and on the latest improved understanding of the common Greek in those manuscripts. (see page xi)
       Of the large number of manuscripts thus set aside, some had mistakes, and some had been "improved."
       The result of trying to go back to the original writings is that some fairly radical changes have been made.  For example, the Lord's Prayer in Luke 11:2-4 has been cut back.  The fuller version, recited by most Christians, is at Matthew 6:9-13.  However, "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Amen," has been bravely omitted from the main text, only being shown as a footnote (p 11). 
       Slaves: The NEB has gone part of the way to give the true translation of the Greek words meaning "slave/s," which the traditional translations render as "servant/s" and other words.  True translations were done of Ephesians 6:5-7, Colossians 3:22 and 4:1.
       However, the translators did not use the correct word "slave" when translating Matthew 10:24 and 1 Peter 2:18.  Many people are loath to believe that the Christian scriptures say "Slaves, obey your masters." (Ephesians 6:5-7, and see others.)
       DETAILS: Publishers: Penguin (Harmondsworth, England, and Ringwood, Australia), Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press.  Planned and directed by representatives of the following in the British Isles: Baptists, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Congregationalists, Council of Churches for Wales, Society of Friends (Quakers), Methodists, Presbyterian Church of England, The United Council of Christian Churches and relgious communions in Ireland, British and Foreign Bible Society, and the National Bible Society of Scotland.
    [Obtained, free, on 29 Oct 2011; To this website 31 Oct 2011; 1st edition 1961; 2nd edition 1970]

    • HISLOP, Alexander (Rev.); (orig. 1853), 1858 edition (possibly reprinted in 1990s-2000s);
      The Two Babylons:   The Papal Worship   proved to be The Worship of Nimrod and his wife. 

     The Mark of the Beast Revealed, 666 
    This amazing book states that it proves the Papal worship to be actually the worship of Nimrod and his wife, complete in every detail.
       The Two Babylons, Rev. Alexander HISLOP It is freely admitted that the book's main purpose, as the title clearly shows, was to attack Roman Catholic doctrines.   It would be a pity if this caused many RCs to either decline to read this book review, or to read it with a jaundiced eye.
       To avoid that problem, this book review has been rewritten, to divide it into sections where the reader may find:
  • General attacks on beliefs that most Christian sects teach.
  • Attacks on doctrines and practices mainly of the Orthodox Christian and the Roman Catholic Churches, and some elements of the Church of England / Anglican / Episcopalian communion.
  • Attacks on doctrines that seem to be mainly Roman Catholic.
       MOST CHRISTIAN GROUPS: Pagan origins: The author seems to have claimed a pagan origin for what seem to be important distinguishing dogmas of most kinds of Christianity.
       The cross and the sign of the cross: Hislop writes that the -shaped cross was adopted from paganism (pp 197-205), and replaced Constantine's supposed vision of the Greek letter Chi (X-shaped) or of the word Christ spelt in Greek (Hislop quotes ancient authors Lactantius and Ambrose regarding this) (pp 202-3).  Pagan sources of the cross shape are suggested: The T -shaped Tau of the god Tammuz (pp 197-8), the + -shaped decorations on depictions of the god Bacchus (p 199), and the ancient Egyptian ankh (that Hislop calls the Egyptian Tau on pages 200 and 281), which is a loop above a T.
       Trinity in Unity (pp 12-19), according to Hislop, is found in so many non-Christian religions that he argues it was part of the revelation to the world at the dawn of history.  He attacks depictions of the Trinity such as a three-headed or two-headed god (p 17).
       "Mother Mary" believed to be part of the Godhead: In A.D. 325 at the Nicene Council, the Melchite sect from Egypt wanted the three persons in the Trinity to be defined as "the Father, the Virgin Mary, and Messiah their Son." (p 82, citing an old book quoted in the Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, July 1852, p. 244.)  (Webmaster's comment: This heresy could explain why the Muslim Koran at 5:116 < http:// dept/MSA/quran/005. qmt.html#005.116 > hints that Christians believe this.)
       ORTHODOX, ROMAN CATHOLIC, and some ANGLICAN ADHERENTS: Celibacy, which means enforcement of a promise not to marry or have sex, are features of the monks and nuns of the Orthodox, Catholics and some Anglicans, of the bishops of the Orthodox and RC Churches, and in the case of the RC Church, also of the general clergy (whom they call priests, also called "fathers"), plus monks and friars ("brothers"), and nuns ("sisters," with leaders called "mother").
       Celibacy: He explains the unscriptural nature of forbidding Church workers to marry (pp 8, 229).  He states that celibacy for religious reasons was enforced in religions as diverse as the Viking faiths of Scandinavia, ancient Babylon, the Athenian virgins, pagan Rome's Vestal virgins, and the Incas of Peru.  His theory is that the celibacy practice spread from Babylon.  "Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that hath made all the earth drunken." (Jeremiah 51:7) (pp 223-4).  In the Roman Empire, Jovinian was excommunicated, persecuted and exiled for opposing celibacy and Roman Church fasts, according to Gibbon (footnote, p 254).  (Buddhism, which existed long before Christianity, also mandates celibacy for monks and nuns.)
       Mother of Jesus: Needless to say, he claims a pagan origin for undue exaggerated honour to, or worship of, Mary (pp 82, 89), which seems to have been copied from older religions who worshipped the "queen of heaven" and/or the "goddess-mother with child" (p 82).
       ROMAN CATHOLIC, mainly: Teachings and practices that are mainly RC follow:
       Jesus's mother promoted; He changed to She: The Roman Church maintains that it was not so much the seed of the woman, as the woman herself, acting through a descendant, Mary the mother of Jesus, that was to bruise the head of the Book of Genesis serpent.  In defiance of all grammar, the RCC renders the Divine denunciation against the serpent thus: "She shall bruise thy head, thou shalt bruise her heel."  The same sort of belief was held by the ancient Babylonians, and symbolically represented in their temples (p 75). 
       (Webmaster's comment: The refusal of the Roman Catholic Church leaders in 2003 to even apologise for these errors, and to withdraw all statues, pictures, etc., erroneously showing Mary treading on a serpent, may be obtained by clicking "Vulgate 'She' instead of 'He' for hundreds of years" at <http://­­/~john­m/relig­ion/hes­he.htm>).
       Sovereign Pontiff of Rome was originally an offshoot of the Babylonian system, which had been expelled from Babylon by the Medo-Persian kings and settled at Pergamos (p 240).  The last of the Pergamos kings, Attalus III, left the kingdom to Rome by will, 133 B.C.  In Rome years later, Julius Caesar was elected as Pontifex Maximus, and as civil ruler of the Roman state, combined being head of the religion and the state (p 241).
       After Christianity was permitted, in Rome even under supposedly Christian emperors they retained the title, but delegated the more directly idolatrous functions of the office to non-Christians.  Emperor Gratian, however, refused to be arrayed in the idolatrous pontifical attire, or act as Pontifex.  In fact, the Empire suppressed the office of Pontifex Maximus, and all paganism's dignitaries were cast down from their seats of influence and of power (p 242).  But the very Emperor who had abolished the pagan title Pontifex, a few years later bestowed it on the Bishop of Rome (p 247)!  (COMMENT: Readers are invited to ask Catholic dignitaries why on earth does the Bishop of Rome use this pagan title. ENDS.)
       Whipping oneself as penance: In the matter of scourging themselves … the adherents of the Papacy have … borrowed the lash of Osiris.  … the Flagellants … publicly scourge themselves on the festivals of the Roman Church, … In the early ages of Christianity such flagellations were regarded as purely and entirely Pagan.  Athenagoras, one of the early Christian Apologists, holds up the Pagans to ridicule for thinking that sin could be atoned for, or God propitiated, by any such means.  But (when this book was being researched and written) on Good Friday, at Rome and Madrid … multitudes flock together to witness the performances of the saintly whippers, who lash themselves till the blood gushes in streams from every part of their body (p 154).  (COMMENT: Television and other news media in the 20th and 21st centuries show us pictures from the Philippines, too, of flagellations, and even of crucifixions.  Shi'ite Muslims, too, whip themselves in a ceremony bewailing the murder of Ali. ENDS.)
       List of Practices and Dogmas: Hislop gives evidence for a pagan and/or mystery religion origin for: Confession (pp 9-11), haloes depicted around saints' heads (p 87), the adoption of a pagan feast (opposed by Tertullian) for Christ's birthday (pp 91-93), the Lenten fast (pp 104-5), the Easter date and Easter eggs (pp 107-13), the alleged Assumption of Mary into Heaven (pp 125-6), the Immaculate Mary (p 126), the Roman Catholic Limbo (for souls of unbaptised infants etc.) (pp 129-30) (the Limbo doctrine seems to have been almost abandoned some time before December 8, 2005), Purgatory (the RC place for souls of dead people to be purified for a time), prayers for the dead who were said to be in the non-existent Purgatory, and money received for such prayers (pp 167-9), the rosary (pp 187-8), bishops' mitres (split headgear of Western bishops, copied from Dagon the fish-god) (pp 214-6), bishops' crosiers (ceremonial staffs, copied from Roman augurs) (pp 216-8), and the tonsure etc. (of the hair) of monks and priests (pp 220-1). 
       The book quotes more that 260 original sources of facts, and is illustrated with 61 woodcuts from Nineveh, Babylon, Egypt, Pompeii, and other ancient places.
       First published as a pamphlet in Edinburgh in 1853, The Two Babylons was greatly expanded in 1858, and since that time has appeared in many editions in Great Britain and the United States.
       The front cover has a rendition of Ishtar Gate that stood at the entrance of Babylon, which means "gate of god".  Ishtar was the Babylonian goddess of love and war.  The gate was ornamented with glazed-bricks bulls and dragons. (adapted from back cover)  (Webmaster's comment: The city of Babylon continued until its final sacking in A.D. 1084.)
       TRAVELLERS' REPORTS: This book from the 1850s is also illuminated in places by reports the author received from travellers who had seen some of the other still-existing paganistic ceremonies and customs being practised, some of them in Christian lands, and otherwise.
       666 ERROR: Unfortunately, the back cover misquotes Revelation / Apocalypse 13:18 in two places, saying to "write" the number of the beast instead of to "count" it, and gives the number as "six hundred three scores and ten", whereas the last word ought to be "six," which makes it "666."
       This book review has not traversed the main theme of the book, regarding "Nimrod and his wife" as the long title stated.  Those interested in that subject ought to buy the book. – JCM, Aug-Sep 2010.
         DETAILS: A & B Publishers Group, A.D. 1858 edition, Brooklyn (NY), ISBN 1-881316-36-X; 330 pp, soft covers, 14 x 21·5 cm (5½ x 8½ in), contents, index, bibliography, footnotes, many pictures, appendix, US $14.95, CAN $19.95.
       [CROSS or POLE? For more discussion as to how the Greek letter Chi (Χ) in Constantine's supposed vision was turned into "the cross," , click: <http://­­/john­m/relig­ion/spu­rious.h­tm#crux> on this website.
       KNEELING, FOLDING HANDS: (One wonders what the Rev. Alexander Hislop would have thought if he had come across evidence that KNEELING during public divine worship on the most holy days was actually FORBIDDEN by an early council of the combined Churches, before the split into Orthodox and Roman!  And that many Christians in early centuries said their prayers in the congregation with their hands outstretched, not "joined" together as sacred art and custom have been showing for centuries!  It's all very sad!) [orig. 1853, expanded 1858]

       DEFINITION: "ISBN" means International Standard Book Number.
    Chick Publications . "Here He comes !" is the title of a mini-booklet of comic style given to a man standing in a Western Australian street in December 2008.  © 2003.
       Here He Comes! Chick Publications Sporting a cover picture of two cartoon-like devil-imps, with horns, one seeming to shout "Noooo!", the message in the comic-style pages is that the "Great Tribulation" and "the Rapture" are about to befall the earth.  The mini-booklet uses texts from the Book of Revelation (The Apocalypse) as well as other Bible books.  Quote: "… if you reject Jesus and miss the Rapture, you will probably take the mark of the Beast to survive and be cast into the lake of fire."
       The booklet reviewed is one of a series that Chick Publications has been distributing for years and years.
       This sort of "End Times" publication gives Christianity a bad name, and teaching people to rely on a kind of magic person to come from the skies to solve the world's ills, takes away the incentive to work for reform, and to oppose evildoers.
       DETAILS: Chick Publications, © 2003 by Jack T. Chick, LL.C., Printed in USA, ISBN 0-7589-0501-7; 28 pp, all paper, 12.7 x 7.2 x 2mm (5 x 2 3/4 x 1/16 in), comic-book style. Free.
       Chick Publications, PO Box 3500, Ontario, California 91761-1019, United States of America. Tel. (909) 987 0771, . Send US $12.95 (includes shipping) for a sample assortment and price list.
       [MEDITATIONS: Luke 9:27; Hebrews 1:2.  And click "Prophecies of a quick return by Jesus … A.D.24" ENDS.]
       [POSITIVE SIDE: However, on the positive side, the Chick Publications website exposes Freemasonry in articles such as "The Witchcraft Side of Masonry," http://­­bc/1997/­witchcraftmasonry.­asp?wpc=witchcraftmasonry.­asp&­wpp=a , By William Schnoebelen, Issue Date: March/April 1997. ENDS.] [Mini-booklet distributed December 2008, © 2003]
       means "less than or equal to," and on this website might signify before or during that year or month, or, before or on that date.
       means "greater than or equal to," i.e., "at least," and on this website is given cognate meanings, such as "on or after".
       < means "less than," and on this website might also signify before a date.
       > means "greater than," and on this website might also signify after a date.
       < and >, or ( and ).  At times, Internet addresses (URLs) or e-mail addresses in some situations might be marked off with "<" and ">" or with "(" and ")".
       means approximately equal to, but many times on this website "~" has been used, both with an extra meaning of around that period = circa.
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    • The The Borgias. Television series. Neil JORDAN, writer; Jeremy IRONS title-role. Pope Alexander VI, 1492, his mistress, daughter, and sons. 2010 or 2011
    • The God delusion. Plenty of reasons to doubt scriptures and the whole idea of adoring a person or persons who never speaks back face to face. Richard DAWKINS. 2007
    GOD is NOT GREAT: How religion poisons everything; Christopher HITCHENS. 2007
    God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World – and Why Their Differences Matter. Stephen PROTHERO. 2010
    God's New Man.  AUSTRALIA; Adulation of the beleaguered Archbishop Pell. Paul COLLINS. 2005
    Here He comes !  UNITED STATES: Mini-booklet warning that the End Times might be near. Chick Publications. © 2003
    Holy Bible; God's Word Translation. 1995 and 2003
    The last pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome: The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium.  Misdeeds of various popes from A.D. 1143 to around 1998, foretelling the end of Popes by the 2020s. 1998 and 2000
    Medjugorje: The Untold Story. YUGOSLAVIA (CROATIA): Editor E. Michael JONES exposes the big hoax of the alleged appearances of Jesus's mother Mary to six young people. 1988
    • The Myth of Christianity.  Alexander JAMES unravels the stories of the start and continuation of the faith supposedly founded by Jesus of Nazareth. 2001
    • A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying & How a New Faith Is Being Born.  Bishop John Shelby SPONG. 2001-02
    • The New Jerusalem Bible, regular edition.  Updated in the light of fresh discoveries. 1990
    • The New Testament Revised, The New English Bible. BRITAIN. 1970
    • The Pagan Christ; Is Blind Faith Killing Christianity? By Tom HARPUR, former Canadian Anglican clergyman and theology lecturer. [2006]
    Papal Power. By Paul COLLINS, former Roman Catholic clergyman.  He argues that all Catholics ought to be involved in making Church decisions.  1997.
    Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, by Jason BERRY.  2011.
    • The Two Babylons; The Papal Worship proved to be The Worship of Nimrod and his wife. BRITAIN. Rev. Alexander HISLOP.  Exposes much general Christian doctrine, not just RC, as derived from paganism.  Reprint, originally 1858
    Where God Weeps.  Werenfried VAN STRAATEN. Persecution etc. of Christians in various countries. 1989
    • The Which Bible can we trust?   Les GARRETT. 1982

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