Religion is Dying by James A. Haught is a Poorly Formatted Mess

First and foremost, this had to be one of the worst formatted books I have ever had the displeasure to read on Kindle. What kind of idiot decides to make every chapter into a shortened font size with exclusively Bold text? This was an eyesore to read. If, like me, you’re still curious and wish to trudge through this irritating mess of a book, I can say with some confidence that it isn’t worth your time or attention. What particularly annoyed me about this book was how this author, James A. Haught, trivialized so much of world history. I can’t speak for the history of Mexico that he shares and blames on Catholic aggression, but the killing of Indira Gandhi had certainly more to do with the political conflict involving the military attack on the Golden Temple than her two Sikh guards seeing certain types of birds fly in the air.

He trivializes ancient history too. His aspersions upon Aztec religious rituals are both misleading and sometimes use outright false information regarding the esteemed deity and mythological figure, Quetzalcoatl (pronounced as “Ket-zal Koh-Watt”). There is a figure by the name of One Reed Prince Quetzalcoatl, a Priest-Prince named after the esteemed Feathered Serpent, whose mythological history explains that he instituted reforms against human sacrifices and supported self-harm instead of killing people in ritual sacrifice, especially for the God whose name that he took after. He is associated with the Toltec empire which came before the Aztecs and which the Aztecs saw themselves as the intellectual and cultural successors of similar to how the Western world sees itself as the intellectual and cultural successor of the Roman empire. His esteemed Highness, One Reed Prince Quetzalcoatl of the Toltec civilization and empire, is said to have practiced self-harm on himself to dissuade his contemporaries from committing human sacrifices; however, the legends state the Toltec Gods became angry and he was cast out of society for his attempts to reform the civilization of the Toltecs away from human sacrifice. The Aztec figure of Quetzalcoatl, heavily borrowed from Toltec civilization, while not banning human sacrifice outright with respect to the other Aztec Gods, still primarily sacrificed herons and butterflies for Lord Quetzalcoatl. In short, this is a very unjust and misleading insult to lodge at His Esteemed Highness, Prince Quetzalcoatl; the Priest-Prince whose myth became unified with the God of Nobility, Intellectual pursuits, and higher class above mere commoners. This disrespects his esteemed Highness’s cultural myth and legacy which survived past the end of the Toltec civilization and presumably became part of Aztec history. To insinuate that Lord Quetzalcoatl blithely supported human sacrifices to himself is disingenuous and ignores the legacy of reforms against human sacrifices by those who had full faith in Lord Quetzalcoatl. This is much more than can be said of the god of child rape, genocide, and racism that is worshipped in Christianity; the narcissistic, lunatic figure of Jesus Christ who deserved to be put to death by the Romans for his crimes against humanity.

The overwhelming majority of the book is comprised of old articles this 80-something year-old man had written for pro-atheist magazines in the US. Unfortunately, as mentioned with my annoyance regarding his oversimplifications and misleading claims about history, none of his opinion articles are sourced and he provides very little in the way of citations. The citations that are provided are sparse, they seem weak from what I recall when I checked a couple of them, and his more outlandish claims aren’t cited at all. The impression I got was that he didn’t put much work on forming credible citations for his claims from what I did check. Perhaps I should have checked more, but the awful formatting with bold text was highly discouraging as it made for a chore to read. Whether due to his age, his tone-deaf nature, or perhaps in an honest mistake; a chapter where he goes on making wild claims about the third-world and religious extremism (with very weak or no sources for specific claims) has assertions that seem at best to be racially charged and at worst can be interpreted to be explicitly racist. Now, I want to be clear, I don’t believe this man is a racist, but rather that he had made sloppily written claims due to his elderly age and the antiquated social norms that he probably grew-up with. On a final note, as I don’t want to completely lambast everything about the book, I did enjoy and felt I learned a lot from the elaboration of what his life was like in the 1950s in Appalachia where he grew-up compared to what it is like in more contemporary times throughout the US. When he talked about what he had ample knowledge of instead of spurious generalizations about historical claims that he clearly didn’t research, then this book would have shined had he done the proper formatting for the Kindle edition.

Overall, this book gets a 1 out of 10 from me. 1 / 10.

2 thoughts on “Religion is Dying by James A. Haught is a Poorly Formatted Mess

    • You can’t for this book, due to how it was formatted. You can only change the font when it follows Amazon’s guidelines of 12 Times New Roman.

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