23.5 Degrees: Racing Toward Armageddon by Michael Baigent - Mania.com



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  • Book: Racing Toward Armadeddon
  • Author: Michael Baigent
  • Pages: 276
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
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23.5 Degrees: Racing Toward Armageddon by Michael Baigent

The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World

By Stella Maris     August 29, 2009


At times I found the futile implications of the narrative to be so overwhelming...
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This is possibly one of the most difficult book reviews I've ever had to write, due to the overwhelming complexity and sensitivity of the subject matter. But whether you agree or not with the views expounded in Racing Toward Armageddon by Michael Baigent [Harper Collins], there is no doubt that this is a book that needed to be written, if for no other reason than to open the debate on the increasingly important issues facing the continuation of civilization as we know it.
 
Subtitled The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World, this book is a thought-provoking study of the similarities between the fundamentalist beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as humanity is being relentlessly driven to its ultimate conclusion--with all sides believing that they alone will be the victors.
 
To this end, Michael Baigent offers an intriguing analysis of how religious beliefs have spurred us on to increasingly violent or even bizarre behavior, ranging from the folly of the Christian Crusaders marauding their way through the Holy Land, slaughtering innocents under the auspices of God's Will, to the Judaic vow to rebuild the Temple of Solomon while surreptitiously breeding prophesied red heifers in a futile attempt to enable God's Chosen People to reclaim Jerusalem at the expense of the Muslim usurpers who currently occupy the Temple Mount.
 
Baigent cynically suggests that, "These Jewish rabbis have their pathologically violent brothers in both Christianity and Islam. Perhaps we should send them all to some icy wasteland or burning desert to fight amongst themselves and leave the rest of us alone. But until then we must watch them closely."
 
And, as he poignantly postulates, which is the one true God whose Word we should obey? The strict Christian patriarch, the jealous Jewish Yahweh, or the demanding Allah of Islam?
 
Woven into the increasingly disturbing apocalyptic commentary are forays into fascinating facets of the material, such as the significance of the number seven in the Book of Revelation to an observation of mankind's need to worship modern cult heroes such as Saint Elvis Presley and the elusive peoples’ goddess, Princess Diana.
 
Although, at times, I found the futile implications of the narrative to be so overwhelming that, despite Baigent’s mischievously humorous writing style, I simply had to put the book down until I could bear to continue.
 
But, most of all, this book made me think...
 
One of the most significant developments of the twenty-first century is how increasingly progressive modes of transportation are facilitating the inevitable and vibrant integration of diverse cultures. The groundwork is being laid for religious, racial, and even sexual tolerance to coexist in ways that have never before been possible in the bloody history of the planet.
 
Furthermore, the dissemination of information via the internet has made it much harder to indoctrinate the "sheeple" with propaganda than it has been in previous times. However, this is a double-edged sword, as this same technology is also enabling extremist groups to recruit and operate over greater distances.
 
Perhaps the bottom line undermining the progress of humanity is that Man is an imperfect being. Therefore, as soon as we start processing the "Word of God" through the human mindset, distortions are bound to be created and propagated.
 
I vehemently support the religious freedom for everyone to worship as they please, as long as they don't foist their belief systems upon me. And I consider my personal religious beliefs to be my own business and no one else's, although I will happily attend--and often do--other religious ceremonies out of a healthy sense of curiosity and respect. I am as comfortable with reciting Sufi poetry as I am the Lord's Prayer.
 
At the same time, Baigent warns against the dangers of a society that is so tolerant that it, in turn, cultivates the intransigence of intolerance.
 
Just how tolerant should we be of intolerance?
 
I suspect that Racing Toward Armageddon will provoke a very strong outcry of negative reactions as Baigent delves into the deepest and darkest depths of religious wrath. But perhaps that's not such a bad thing.
 
It's a crap job, but somebody's gotta do it.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 7 of 7
1 
ProfessorW 8/29/2009 1:31:50 AM

 This sounds like a very interesting book.  

However, I'm not sure that I'd agree that "the dissemination of information via the internet has made it much harder to indoctrinate the "sheeple" with propaganda than it has been in previous times".  Surely, the Internet has made it possible for any Tom, Dick or Harry to propagate inventions, myths and just plain lies on a scale which was unimaginable a hundred years ago?  And, from what one reads in the newspapers every day, there is no shortage of "sheeple" who are desperate to believe whatever pap is fed to them.  My guess is that the Internet is a heaven-sent breeding-ground for extremism, whether religious or otherwise.  One man's hysterical fantasies are another man's information...

Muenster 8/29/2009 6:05:44 AM

Oh for Pete's sake don't let Sonyman read this.

StarlightGuard 8/29/2009 6:18:48 AM

some people really, really just want the world to end

fruitcakes

wow, I didn't know that THIS was the subject of Baigent's book....now I gotta go get it when it arrives

and thank you Hermione.......I mean Stella :)

LittleNell1824 8/29/2009 6:48:14 AM

I agree with the Professor. Let's say you're a fan of a Rush Limbaugh, and he says some things that make you wonder, so you to decide to learn more about them on the internet. But, you know that Rush don't lie - he says so himself and gets very angry when callers even imply it, so you only visit sites that agree with him, like The Drudge Report, The National Review, and Breitbart. This makes you feel that you're getting background information on your opinions, but you're just getting affirmations. The same is true if you watch The Daily Show and then back up Jon's opinions by reading news from Huffpost and The New York Times.

The internet makes it easy to feel that you've fact-checked your opinions and become more knowledgeable, when you're actually just finding one of the many websites that agree with popular figures or your own opinions. I can find tons of websites with a subtle white-supremacy bias - does that mean I've stumbled on some bigger truth? No. But, it does mean that I've found a lot of new places to feed my increasing paranoia about the inherent insanity of us.

LittleNell1824 8/29/2009 6:59:10 AM

Oh, and I have to agree with Baigent. I was raised in an evangelical church and have Southern Baptist relatives. These people want Armageddon, like, yesterday. They've spent their lives avoiding things that look fun, and they want their promised rewards right now. If the world doesn't end as "predicted" then all their worldly sacrifices have been for nothing. 

huskers97 8/29/2009 11:09:46 AM

even if we didnt have this christians jews and muslims warring aginst each other there would still be conflict...it is in human nature...there would still be war...like the cockfingerer in korea...though the muslims have taken it to an extreme level... not all christians jews and muslims think this way...in fact the vast majority dont and nell i have the same relatives....if you paid attention you would relaize they dont want amageddon, they want the return of christ and rapture, but the rest of what you said is  true.... armageddon is coming tho..whether biblically or not...its is in human nature to destroy ourselves...and that is what we are up to

Squid 8/29/2009 9:49:14 PM

If it's human nature to destroy ourselves... we're not doing a good job of it.  Shouldn't we have obliterated ourselves much earlier than this?  DvlDrvr13, in the article above, he points out that he's talking about Fundamentalists, not every person who holds to those three religions... and therein lies the problem.

It's the fundys we should be worrying about.  Basically, if you adopt an "I'm right, you're wrong, and I will not accept any proof to the contrary" you have become a fundamentalist.  Your mind is closed, and it's useless to try and change your mind, because you won't accept anything that might show your opinions to be wrong.  So, to support yourself and your ego, you seek out others like yourself... and the group grows stronger.  This pattern continues, groups swelling in size, until a crisis point is reached, and the group lashes out at their perceived oppressors.

This pattern of behavior runs throughout various groups... fundys, conspiracy theorists, monster hunters, basically anyone who has closed their mind off to contradictory evidence.  Alone, a single individual is not much of a threat, but in large groups, such people are dangerous.

Squid

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