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12 Reviews
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be Required Literature in High School
All people, religious or not, should read this book. Mr. Haught does a wonderful job of describing the horrors of what people will do to defend their gods. This is a book that will make anyone think twice about asserting that religion is only benevolent. Not that religion has no good, neither me nor Haught assert that, but we must all never allow ourselves to slide...
Published on February 5, 2000 by Eric Breitenstein

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was not impressed
First off, let me say that I am an atheist and feel that religion is the most destructive human invention ever devised. Therefore, I was looking forward to reading this book. But for me it was rather disappointing.

As I was reading the book, I felt as though I was reading a student's term paper. The author covers numerous religious groups or time periods but in...
Published on October 31, 2005 by tuesday next


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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be Required Literature in High School, February 5, 2000
This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
All people, religious or not, should read this book. Mr. Haught does a wonderful job of describing the horrors of what people will do to defend their gods. This is a book that will make anyone think twice about asserting that religion is only benevolent. Not that religion has no good, neither me nor Haught assert that, but we must all never allow ourselves to slide back to the smoke filled days of the Inquisition. The fact that this book discusses modern religious strife shows that holy hatred is not something of the past. It walks among us today, a shadow in the light of reason. We are not here to kill each other, unfortunately most people don't seem to agree. Thus our secular state: The first amendment doesn't protect us from God, it protects us from His followers. Unless you think Iran is a nice place to live, you'll believe in church-state separation after you read this.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crimes of Religion, July 29, 2000
This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
This book is a very useful and enlightening guide to the history of religion, and its accompanying violence. In this expose Haught plays no favorites in exposing the crimes and inhumanities of Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, Jews, and of course Catholics and Protestants. One of the striking things about this book is that it provides a revealing look into the nature of religious violence, and offers some valuable insights into the continuing religious violence and genocide today. Although practically everyone knows about the extermination of the Jews in WWII, few people think about why it happened. After reading this book, you will have a much better understanding about this horrible chapter in history. Afterall Germany was not an Atheistic country, it was strongly Protestant, what happened was the horrible result of centuries of built up hatred, caused ultimately by religion.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Basic Introduction to the Follies of Religion, August 19, 2000
By 
Bradley P. Rich (Salt Lake City, UT USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
This book is scary! To read the assembled horrors that organized religion has visited on mankind is terrifying. This book covers all of the major religions, not just the familiar Christian tales of witchcraft and the Inquisition. However, note: it is just an introduction and is written on a pretty basic level. It would make a great junior high school text, except you can't imagine who would teach it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was not impressed, October 31, 2005
By 
tuesday next (The Cape Cod of the Midwest) - See all my reviews
First off, let me say that I am an atheist and feel that religion is the most destructive human invention ever devised. Therefore, I was looking forward to reading this book. But for me it was rather disappointing.

As I was reading the book, I felt as though I was reading a student's term paper. The author covers numerous religious groups or time periods but in a very superficial manner. As a couple of reviewers already mentioned, the book is only 234 pages (243 with the biblio), 24 of those are full page illustrations (I know, the cover states "An Illustrated History") and the pages have unusually wide margins. In fact, the size of the margins was the first thing I noticed when I started to read the book. It's almost as though Haught didn't have enough material to fill enough pages to warrant publication. But even from what material is in the book, it is obvious that this book could have much longer and more detailed, giving it a more scholarly presentation.

Personally, I think that if an author is going to write about a controversial subject, it needs to be backed up with properly referenced facts. This book does not even come close. There is a section at the end of the book that the author calls a Bibliography but then he writes, "The following is a selected reading list, by topic." So does that mean that the books listed were used by the author as references or are some of these books just recommendations? It is rather difficult to tell because Haught uses no footnote notation. He repeatedly presents statements as fact, including historical information and figures (as in the number of deaths). He also has many direct quotes that have no reference. For example, the cover of the book highlights one corner and states, "Includes the 9-11-01 terrorist attack..." Within the text Haught includes a lengthy quote that is a translation of some of the writings found in the highjackers' notebooks in order to make the point that the 9-11 attackers were able to carry out their mission due to religious zeal - which I happen to agree with. But where did he get these quotes. I don't think he translated the notebooks themselves! Other quotes may state, "So and so said,..." but then there is no reference in the Bibliography to match up with the speaker. In addition, even if a reader was interested in following up with one of the recommended books, a significant number of them are 25 to over 100 years old. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but as some Amamzon customers may know, it's sometimes difficult to obtain a book that's over 10 or 15 years old - let alone the book titles listed as recommendations. Maybe others feel that I'm nitpicking but whenever I'm reading a book of non-fiction (especially a book that is historical, scientific or political) I look at the references to see where the author got his/her information.

I'm giving the book three stars because I feel that this is an important topic and I'm glad that author wrote about it. As he states in the book (p. 235), "As far as can be ascertained, no previous book has surveyed the phenomenon of religious homicide ["homicide" - I like that] in its entirety." I just wish the book was more thorough and that it backed up its information with better references.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to religious violence, November 6, 2003
By 
William H. DuBay (Hong Kong and Coupeville, WA, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
The secular humanists have long pointed out the disconnect between religion and morality. This is a quick introduction to the violent side of religion.
It is important these days to be familiar with the fact that Christianity, known as a religion of few gods and great violence, leads all the religions in the numbers of deaths it has caused. For almost 20 centuries, murder and torture was an official instrument of policy of the Catholic Church. Atrocities committed on behalf of religion were a main cause of the Protestant Reformation and the furious wars that followed resulting in the deaths of millions in Europe.
It is difficult to understand the strong attitudes of our founding fathers about the need to control religion and keep it separate from state power without being familiar with the history reviewed in this book.
If I have any fault with this book is that it ignores the violence perpetrated by Christians before the Crusades and even before Constantine. From the beginning, Christian leaders used violence as an instrument of policy. Early bishops often sent mobs of monks and thugs out to murder their rivals. St. Augustine sanctioned the use of force to bring pagans into the Church. He preached to landowners, telling them to hunt down the servants on their land and kill them if they did not submit to baptism. Historians have documented the effects of these practices, which culminated in the 6th-century order by Justinian that made pagan religion a capital offense. No one knows how many were put to death. For several centuries, the church was bent on destroying every vestige of pagan temples, books, libraries, schools, sanctuaries, and philosophy. As a result the teachings of the great scholars such as Plato and Aristotle were lost to the West until the 15th century.
The book also ignores the religious violence perpetrated upon the inhabitants of lands conquered by Europeans. In the 17th century, conquistadors such as Coronado in North America was still killing Native Americans who did not submit immediately to baptism.
This is a book that every student of religion should be familiar with.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Crimes men have committed in the name of god, December 20, 1999
By 
David N. Reiss (Haymarket, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
This book is not long. But it explains several crimes that have been committed by men in the name of their god. It should be required reading for any person who believes in a god. Killing those who do not agree with you is wrong, but occurs even in the nice little world we have at the turn of the 21st century.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! - I knew injustice was dealt out by religion - But wow!, February 4, 2003
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This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
This is an eye opening book. I knew religion has a horrible, murderous past that Hannibal Lector could only dream of. This book is a real eye opener and a truly sad tale of how much humanity has been and still is being brutalized in the name of god. It is embarrassing how much human ignorance is a tool twisted and used by the church to commit crimes against humanity. The amazing thing is Hitler can't even come close to the horrors of the church and its body count. He was but a drop in the bucket. This book also encompasses the horrors of many religions including ones I had only vaguely heard of, nor can I pronounce them correctly. I would say that every person considering a leap of faith should read this book first before throwing your soul into the hat so to speak.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but..., April 22, 2005
By 
TLR (California USA) - See all my reviews
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...I was a little disappointed to receive a rather slim book (234 pages), when Amazon described it as being 661 pages. I was expecting a more scholarly work, but this is a good introduction to the subject. Someone needs to write a more in-depth book on this important topic.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books I ever read, September 30, 2001
By 
Ted Huntington (Irvine, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
I think this book is one of the best books I have ever read. If only humans like James Haught were rewarded with millions of dollars to tell these stories on video and share these stories of humans killing other humans with religion as the excuse with millions of other humans. Here on earth, religious humans have stopped most science, touch and sex with consent and care nothing for stopping violence. Most of these stories of humans killing other humans are being kept secret, why have I never heard of "host stabbing" until reading this book? Catholic humans killed Jewish humans claiming a Jewish Human stabbed the paper "wafer" Catholic humans eat. Amazing, a human killed because of an alledged attack on a piece of paper. These stories, and a basic telling of the past of life of earth ("world history") should be told in high schools, and shown in videos on the internet, tv and movies. I will probably have to make my own movie of the stories in science and the summary of the past of life of earth, before humans that make milyin dollar movies do. I will make these before I set off to the most close star system Alpha Centauri, planet Jupiter, the moon of earth or simply earth orbit.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The crimes of religion, January 24, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Hardcover)
Very well written. Direct and to the point. Shows how religious beliefs are used as acts of violence against others of different faiths. Great read for the beginner or novice.
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