cover image God and His Demons

God and His Demons

Michael Parenti, . . Prometheus, $25 (281pp) ISBN 978-1-61614-177-6

Anyone looking for a catalogue of religion’s darkest moments will find it in this angry volume by the Berkeley-based cultural critic and activist. A New Atheist in the mold of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins, Parenti spares no adjectives in describing the evils of religion, be it creationism or televangelists. He claims he does not want to destroy other people’s beliefs and that his book is not addressed to religious progressives, whom he finds tolerable. But he writes about religion, whether Christianity or Islam, with unconcealed scorn and derision. Parenti makes no clear argument, nor does his polemic offer an introduction or conclusion. Instead it might be understood as a call to arms against what he calls “religionists” the world over. He complains that “progressive dissidents usually are denied access to mass media audiences,” a charge that might confound his publisher and the industry that has made leading New Atheists household names. His condescending tirade is directed not so much at religion as at human beings whom—one gets the impression—he can barely suffer. (Mar.)