Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Snap: "The Gospel According to Acharya S"

From the December 2009 E-Block.
Author Dorothy Murdock, past composer of such classical texts in conspiracy-mongering as The Christ Conspiracy, herself describes her book The Gospel According to Acharya S as a series of "philosophical musings and rants" [1]. The balance I'd estimate to be about 90-10 in favor of rants. The essays within, she tells us, go back to the 1990s, and are now updated and expanded for publishing. 

Is there anything of substance here? Not really. Murdock fairly well takes for granted her findings in other works; there is little if anything in the way of argumentation, new or otherwise, and the work could have been shortened to a tenth of its present size by the elimination of repetitive cliches' (e.g., "non-religionists and freethinkers remain under assault from religious fanatics and maniacs who would terrorize and enslave us given the chance" and perhaps 2-3 other stock themes are repeated approximately 200 times each within the text, and that is not meant to be a hyperbolic exaggeration). 

Perhaps the only unique thing we do learn is that Murdock has what can only be described as an exceptionally primitive understanding of what is taught by Christianity. To be fair, one might find beliefs like these taught somewhere -- such as a Sunday School class for small children. But among the things Murdock apparently believes to be Christian doctrine and belief, or else problems with Christian belief, are:
  • God is a "giant man who once incarnated as his own son" [9]
  • We are all born in sin and "must spend our entire lives making up for it, principally by slobbering at the feet of the one who created us in the first place" [21]
  • "Omnipresence" means that "God is contained" in "every book, each person, every animal and rock" (in other words, omnipresence means pantheism) [32]
  • God ought to be able to just "snap his fingers" and stop us being sinners [55]
  • The devil is either an evil being with a pitchfork and horns, or else simply doesn't exist at all [79]
  • If we are given orders we must follow, or be punished, we do not have "free will" [150]
Murdock is quite right to see these, at least, as "perceptions filtered through the limited human mind." The irony is that there are her own perceptions and nothing else. To be fair, however, she is also on about other religions as well -- Islam, Judiasm, Hinduism, and more get the tar and feather treatment, though Christianity remains the foe in chief.

And what does Murdock offer in place? Nothing unusual -- just a sort of personalized pantheism in which we are all destined to be "buddahs and christs who command godly energy," [44] though I daresay Murdock has yet to master that energy in the direction anything useful, such as providing sound scholarship.

Perhaps more revealing about Murdock, however, is what she offers in a couple of essays where she is not actually criticizing Christianity directly, but reveals her membership in the school of aluminum haberdashery on other fronts. For example, we are told that creators of microchip technology are just possibly purposely using that technology on purpose to fulfill the "Mark of the Beast" in Revelation; that book is thus a "blueprint" for "secret societies and brotherhoods that make it their business to follow the Bible and its 'predictions'." [93-4] Of more amusement is a chart Murdock produces to prove that the IRS and CIA qualify as "cults". The technique used is much the same as that used to prove that figures like Horus, Osiris, and others are "copycat" savior figures: for example, collapsing down of descriptions into lowest common denominators or else applying "spin" to the description. Hence, the IRS and CIA are cults because they are "a group of persons showing [faddish] devotion," use "special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience" and "powerful group pressures," and are engaged in "raising funds for own benefit." [119-20] If you ever thought it mere coincidence that Murdock formerly published with a firm that also did books on Atlantis, this should remove all doubt that it was not.

The Gospel According to Acharya S is clearly a more personal tome than Murdock's past efforts. However, in the process, she has unwittingly revealed more about herself than she probably should have.

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