Friday, December 27, 2013

When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball

Here is some unfinished business from 2013. I read six books about religion in March and spent a week on When Religion Becomes Evil before giving up after 100 pages. As I wrote before, this isn't a bad book. I mean, I think the author is knowledgeable and thorough, and his arguments are reasonable. But it just isn't an engrossing read. I had a hard time reading more than a couple pages before looking away in search of a distraction. This month, reading the last 113 pages wasn't any easier.

Kimball offers five warning signs that a religion has become corrupted along with examples and discussion. The discussion sometimes drags or ventures into rather tangential areas. While evil within sects of major religions is certainly important, I expected examples of cults as well. And once again, I must complain that there is no index, although extensive footnotes and a selected bibliography are provided.

I showed this to an atheist friend who is eager to read it, but I suspect he will be disappointed. This book is not anti-religion; Kimball is a Baptist minister. I'd give it three stars because the content is useful, but it couldn't hold my attention.

Note: I read the edition on the left from 2003. The "revised and updated" edition on the right came out in 2008.


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