Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review: Racing Toward Armageddon by Michael Baigent

Will current generations live to see Armageddon?

Are there really sinister forces at work, encouraging its imminent arrival? If so, who exactly are they?

In his latest investigative book Michael Baigent takes us to the assembly hall of the UN, the boardrooms of major businesses and powerful lobbying groups, the cabinet meetings of world leaders, the ranches of cattle breeders, the churches of the faithful, and the narrow winding streets of modern Jerusalem, revealing to us the many diverse, public, and clandestine figures behind a perilous messianic agenda.

By unveiling truly bizarre alliances, revisiting centuries-old ghostly events still haunting the birthplaces of religion, unraveling complex threads of history to discern the difference between myth and prophecy, and providing a thorough explication of the religious texts underlying all of this madness in the context of the times in which they were written, Baigent presents a very different view of the past, present, and future than that perpetuated by many loose interpretations of scripture.

What are faith force multipliers? Which members of the U.S. military top brass have fought to employ them? Which world leader belongs to a secret messianic society called the Hojjatieh? What is the Chalcedon Foundation? And what is the correlation between its tenets, those of sharia law, and the fulfillment of end-time prophecies?

The answers to these questions and others will intrigue, mystify, and enrage you, whether you're a person of faith or a staunch secularist. But the author's goal is not simply to shock the reader—it is to help diffuse the time bomb that has been set by the hard-liners of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In the end, Baigent asks these questions to deliver an urgent message: that spiritual yearning is actually a deep and personal issue of awareness, one that can bring hope and tolerance to the world, rather than the self-superiority and control that are born of fear and conflict.

Received from the publicist for review.

First of all, I was hesitant to even post this positive review for fear of retaliation by certain groups, but hopefully if anything does happen to me law enforcement will actually do their jobs. I'm relatively certain that law enforcement in New England is still untainted by the fundamentalist beliefs. And no, I'm not kidding. I have actually had experiences with some of these fundamentalists in real life and they scare me. I mean, truly terrify me. I'm speechless as to how they go about in society.

Frankly, this book scared the hell out of me. I will never be able to look at my fellow citizens the same way again. I'm just very, very glad I live in New England and not in a different part of the country where these beliefs are more prevalent. These radical religious fundamentalists make the run of the mill Roman Catholics seem fairly innocuous! Which is pretty darn sad!

The Coors family, of beer fame, donates large amounts of money to radical Christian groups. If I were a beer drinker I would never take another sip of Coors beer. As it is, just seeing that name in the grocery store is going to give me chills for quite some time.

Some of the most thought provoking quotes from the book were:

At its heart fundamentalism is a relentless progression deeper and deeper into intolerance and ignorance, which, unless opposed, will by default achieve its aims. Judged and measured against their own pronouncements we must conclude that the fundamentalist religions of
all denominations are opposing free will and vibrancy of human life. They are paradoxically, performing the very task they attribute to the feared Antichrist! They are attempting to convert a distorted view of reality into such a skillfully packaged shape that it might be taken
as truth.

Clearly the Bible cannot be taken literally. It is a collection of myths and hero stories gathered together to serve a religious function - firstly that of Yahweh, the jealous god, then that of Jesus, the Messiah.

And if Genesis can so easily be demonstrated to be mythology rather than fact, where does this leave those fundamentalists who take every word of the Bible as immutable truth.

59% of Americans believe in the coming battle of Armageddon.

They do not believe in the sanctity of all life; they believe only in the sanctity of some lives - their own. We cannot look to the Christian fundamentalists for compassion, love, or forgiveness.

[Jewish/Christian/Islamic fundamentalists] ... all want a state in which politics are subservient to religion.

My favorite quote was this amusing, and spot on commentary on our species:

The Neanderthals died out around 20,000 years ago, although no one really knows why. Perhaps we saw them as a protein source and ate them. This extinction - a genocide - left only Homo sapiens who thereafter slowly came to dominate the world.

This one gets four stars. It was brilliantly written and thoroughly researched. The subject is, obviously, vitally important in this time and truly frightening
. I fear that as the author's audience is mostly well educated people anyway, he is rather preaching to the choir (forgive the religious reference). Perhaps the book will reach a wider audience and make them aware of the dangers these groups present, but I'm not hopeful.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


Ryan G said...

Thank you so much for the review on this one. I'm intrigued by it and will be looking for it so I can read it myself.

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