God vs Gods: Religion for the New Millennium and Beyond
by H Joseph

The book is an anti-clerical tome that could have been something special and alas falls very short of the mark. First of all lets get logistics out of the way. The book is in A4 sized format while each page only has about 250 words on it, if that. It is a huge tome of 300 odd pages that is a pain to read. Secondly the editing of the work lacks a certain attention to detail which is a shame but all so common place with self-published work.

Now that is out of the way lets focus on the theme of the book. Now, before I begin this review I have to add that I have some sympathy for the general view of the book that organised religion and clerical class generally do more harm than good. Much like the bureaucracy of the state they seem to merely perpetuate themselves and their well being while forgetting whom they are supposed to help.

This could have been said quite properly in 150 pages or maybe 200. Instead we are presented with a never ending set of biblical quotes and anecdotal examples. There is actually quite a good chapter with a rather good explanation of why much of Old Testament teachings and traditions are in fact not unique to Judaism and existed in other civilisations before theirs and even concurrently.

There are even rather interesting examinations of why even in ancient times the clerical classes weren’t exactly looking after their flock the way they should have been. There are good examples of cases where biblical clerics actively undermined the secular rulers of the day for their own betterment and power.

Most of the ranting, including a superfluous chapter on the Pope during WWII informing us that he and the Church did not act out of self-preservation (well duh), comes across as if a blog post on the subject. The book lacks a certain cohesiveness that is really necessary.

Then there is the other gapping hole in this book. If one is talking about clerical abuse of followers and merely working for their own gains how can one possibly leave out Islam? Considering the pain and suffering Muslim clerics in the world are causing with their rants and speeches how on earth can you leave that religion out of this sort of the book?

Instead of being a book that makes a valid argument against the clerical class of all types it merely comes across as a rant against organised Judaism and Christianity. There is a short aside about Bahaism in the conclusion which should have occured earlier in the book and been expanded on at the expense of some of the more turgid parts of the book.

This could have been, and still could be with a less lengthy pretentious title and some heavy editing, quite a thought provoking and interesting book. Instead it is a ponderous tome that is a task to read, even for one such as me who is interested in such matters.

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