I just posted this review of God Made Man by Barbara G. Walker on Amazon Reviews. I'll see her next Thursday and I'm anxious to hear what she thinks. I hope the Amazon editors don't think I came on too strong.

If I would have read this book 50 years ago it would have changed my life. Now that I'm retired, as I think back, only two books have had a life-changing effect on me: Lord of the Flies by William Golding and The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Now I have a third.

Here's why. When I went to Catholic high school I sat quietly and listened meekly to all the magical nonsense that was foisted on me on a daily basis. Believe what you want, was my attitude, just don't try to sell me any of this supernatural boogety-boo. Symbolic cannibalistic rituals were all right with me—just as long as I can sit in the back of the auditorium my comforting, teenage daydreams.

If I would have read Barbara's book back then, I would never have put up with it. “Hey, Brother, is it true the Church tortured and killed millions of people over five hundred years? After the Council of Nicea, Europe was awash in blood and learning was ground to a standstill. The Dark Ages were imminent. Books were burned, libraries destroyed and the peasantry kept illiterate. All I got from your religion classes was the Apostle's creed.”

How come you never mentioned the genocide caused by your religion? After the bloodbath had subsided in the 1800s, a century later Cardinal Angelo Sodano would apologize and call this insane, sadistic mayhem, “a sad episode in church history.” Is he crazy?

How can church officials live with themselves? How come there's no priests listed on the National Sex Offenders list? What's going on?

In short, I didn't become a militant atheist until 40 years later. I was always an atheist but I was close-mouthed about religion and tolerant of it. This very year there will be hundreds of people, mostly women and children, tortured and killed in Africa because of witchcraft, just as Barbara describes it. She even gives the line from the Gospels, Christ's own words, that centuries later the Inquisitioners would use to rationalize burning heretics at the stake by the millions. One town in Germany, states Ms. Walker with accurate annotation, burned as many as 1000 pathetic victims in one year. Outrageous—that's nearly three per day! Watching public immolation must have been a national pass-time, like going to the movies or the Friday-night fights.

Good job, Barbara, it's the scholarship and research that makes Man Made God so powerful. I hope your book goes down in history as one of the most important humanist statements of the modern age. All I can say to any Holy Ghost/heaven-hell/Eve-came-from-Adam's-rib/Noah's Ark believers is: read it and deal with it.

Richard Goscicki, author of Mirror Reversal, Peppertree Press, 2007

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Comment by Mac Rex on September 13, 2010 at 7:23pm
Hay Rich, your review of "Man Made God" is at - http://www.amazon.com/Man-Made-God-Collection-Essays/product-review...
And my question to you about wheather this was the same Barbara G. Walker that wrote "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets", probably because A/N didn't seem to want to up-load my picture of that book on my lap. "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" is the one book, out of a couple thousand, that I've been able to keep since I bought it in the mid 80s! I'll be buying "Man made God" right away!
Comment by Rich Goss on September 13, 2010 at 6:10pm
I just got out of the hospital so give me some time on this.

To tell the truth I thought Zeitgeist on Youtube was spot on. All that winter solstice stuff made sense to me. You can't tell me the Easter bunny came from Christian roots, even the derivation of the word "Easter" is take from the pagan godess Eostre.

Also, let's stick to the contents of the book itself, instead of any guilt by association. I did escort Barbara to a New Age lecture and songfest last year, which I thought was far out. But I didn't think too much about it.

And what about the Dark Ages? Did Christianity have anything to do with it?

We can have some fun discussing (debating) this stuff. For starters, why isn't there any mention of Christ by contemporary historians other than Flavius Josephus? Do you believe that Christ actually existed?
Comment by Matt VDB on September 13, 2010 at 5:30pm
Hi Richard,

Acharya S is a pseudonym of D.M. Murdock. She's a New-Age writer and has a loathesome self-congratulatory blog located at truthbeknown.com, which basically consists of a bunch of fawning acolytes buzzing around Acharya telling her how wonderful she is, and Acharya politely agreeing. She's ridiculed in the historical community (to the extent that they even know about her at all) for several reasons, mainly for her horrific research and lousy scholarship, as well as her peddling of long discredited myths (like the 'pagan roots' of Christianity). She's also the primary source for the New-Age garbage called Zeitgeist which has perpetuated those myths into the public consciousness once again.
That Barbara Walker is associating herself with a character like this is damning enough, but that she gets to edit the book and write the introduction is enough reason to never even pick it up.

But sure, I'm very interested in knowing what she thinks about the Council of Nicea (which is usually one of the keypoints in any pseudohistory on this subject). And do post her footnotes, but be warned: books like this have not been peer-reviewed, and Acharya's books (as well as those of other similar authors) are notorious for citing lots of sources, but which don't in effect agree with them.
Comment by Rich Goss on September 13, 2010 at 5:18pm
Matt, that's cool. I welcome comments pro and con, so let's get to the bottom of this. Give me some time to ask Barbara and do a some research as you ask.

I'm holding the book in my hands as I write this, and don't see any mention of Acharya S. What's her last name? The editor is D.M. Murdock.

I'll check out the section on the Council of Nicea and post it on these pages shortly, ok? Along with the footnotes and bibliography.

Fair enough?
Comment by Matt VDB on September 13, 2010 at 5:08pm
Ow fuck, the book was edited and co-authored by Acharya S. That means one thing: run for the hills.

Guys, please bring out your inner skeptic for a moment. If this research is so impeccable and the scholarship so "powerful", why isn't it peer-reviewed? Why is Walker not taken seriously in the academic world, and why is Acharya ridiculed by everyone with a clue of the relevant material? Could it be because they continually distort facts and because their scholarship is so crappy?

I can see that you've bought into several myths already ("Learning was ground to a standstill after Nicea." - Errrrrm, no. Not even close. "Peasantry kept illiterate?" - Errrm, no. Not more than in any other age. "Libraries burned." - Errrm no.)
Please, please, please read real history. You can make a case for 'militant' atheism without buying into this nonsense.
Comment by Rich Goss on September 13, 2010 at 4:23pm
Earthling, what's mind-bobbling about the book is that Barbara explains where all this nonsense comes from. The water to wine trick was already performed by Dionysus in Greek myth. Even the Easter bunny and eggs have a derivation in pagan mythology.

It's all such bullshit that it'll get you mad like I am. Wait 'til you read about the Inquisition. And transubstantiation. It's crazy and the church is still getting away with it.
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on September 13, 2010 at 11:52am
Coo, what a kind invitation.
If only I could, (can't really), but it's the great thought that counts.

Yes, tell Barbara how much I admire her academic research and writings.
Comment by Rich Goss on September 13, 2010 at 11:03am
Terry, thanks. Barbara said she was "thrilled" by the review, so I'm sure she'll love your post. Three people already said they'd either buy the book or add it to their reading list.

I'll forward your comment to her right now and suggest she join N/A forthwith. You're always welcome to come to Florida (to meet her) if you could make it. I can pick you up at Tampa International and make hotel arrangements and to see the sights. Come when there's a blizzard in England to really enjoy Florida sunshine.

Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on September 13, 2010 at 10:35am
I can well believe your enthusiasm.
I must go and get this book for myself
Barbara Walker has been my favourite author since, in 1990, I bought and read her first-rate learned academic work The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (Harper and Row 1983). A few years later I was asked on a radio interview what book was I reading, and that book was my answer because I am always going back to read it; and I said the same thing again in a press interview.
I'd love to meet Barbara as you are doing this week (you lucky man).
Her erudition is of the highest quality.
Her works do more than drive people to atheism because they emphasise the enormous harm that patriarchy---especially religious patriarchy---has unjustly done to women.


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