Do Satanists really sacrifice babies, skin cats and vandalize graves? Are the Amish allowed to drive cars and use computers? Do Quakers wear plain dress, eat oats and address each other as “Thee”?
There are many stereotypes about minority religious groups in America and my latest book confirms some of these but also disproves many others. God Bless America explores a range of religious beliefs and practices that are still found in the United States today and looks at many that are on the increase.
Despite “God’s” appearance in the title this isn’t just a book for atheists; it’s also for humanists, skeptics and those who are just curious about culture. Many themes will be of interest to skeptics, including the Law of Attraction, faith healing, Voodoo folk medicine, Amish alternative medicine, and claims of satanic ritual abuse.
This book answers many burning questions about these people and their ideologies and customs. Is Scientology really a “church”? Can a Quaker also be a Buddhist or even an atheist? How did speaking in tongues really begin? What happens during an Amish date and how is polygamy practiced in fundamentalist Mormon communities?
How did these religions start and what do their followers believe today? This book reveals what it’s like to be born into these groups, why people join them, why others leave, and why some former members are seen as “escapees”. Aided by the insider insight of former members of these various religions I tried to pry open the door to these mostly closed societies.
I’ve spent many years “taking one for the skeptical team”. I’ve seen numerous practitioners of alternative medicine and more psychics than most believers. I took this same approach for the book and get up-close and personal with these people and their beliefs and practices. I attend exorcisms, an Amish Mennonite service, a Quaker meeting, a voodoo ritual, a Charismatic healing, and a Scientology “church” service.
The book aims to offer a sympathetic portrayal of these people but is also critical of any dangerous practices, including incest, child brides, gay exorcism, and animal sacrifice. It is a roller coaster ride that is often funny, occasionally disturbing, but always thought-provoking. I even received a four-star review on Amazon from a Charismatic Christian, although he hopes I’ll find God one day…
God Bless America is available now though Amazon, the Skeptics Society, the Richard Dawkins Foundation, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and in select stores.