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Racing Toward Armageddon: The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World Hardcover – September 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As in his previous books (Holy Blood, Holy Grail; The Jesus Papers), Baigent tries to uncover the dark forceshiding in the shadows of religion and ferret out fundamentalists whose dogmatism often turns to violence. Focusing on the end times, he warns that powerful fundamentalist sects in Christianity, Judaism and Islam are working to bring about the battle of Armageddon, when the forces of darkness will be destroyed by the Messiah, who will then bring about a new reign. All three groups want Jerusalem, where each lays claim to a physical spot, the Dome of the Rock, as a sacred place in its history; all three want a state in which politics are subservient to religion. Baigent makes the same mistake that the fundamentalists make when reading the book of Revelation. It is not a book of prophecy and manual for frightening sinners back into the fold; it is apocalyptic literature that uses symbols as secret codes for the state of affairs in the lives of first- and second-century Christians, offering them hope for escaping from their plights. Regrettably, Baigent's well-intentioned exposé turns out to be little more than a screed against fundamentalism that is based on a misreading of his central text. (Sept.)
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From the Back Cover

Will current generations live to see Armageddon?

Are there really sinister forces at work, encouraging its imminent arrival? If so, who exactly are they?

In his latest investigative book Michael Baigent takes us to the assembly hall of the UN, the boardrooms of major businesses and powerful lobbying groups, the cabinet meetings of world leaders, the ranches of cattle breeders, the churches of the faithful, and the narrow winding streets of modern Jerusalem, revealing to us the many diverse, public, and clandestine figures behind a perilous messianic agenda.

By unveiling truly bizarre alliances, revisiting centuries-old ghostly events still haunting the birthplaces of religion, unraveling complex threads of history to discern the difference between myth and prophecy, and providing a thorough explication of the religious texts underlying all of this madness in the context of the times in which they were written, Baigent presents a very different view of the past, present, and future than that perpetuated by many loose interpretations of scripture.

What are faith force multipliers? Which members of the U.S. military top brass have fought to employ them? Which world leader belongs to a secret messianic society called the Hojjatieh? What is the Chalcedon Foundation? And what is the correlation between its tenets, those of sharia law, and the fulfillment of end-time prophecies?

The answers to these questions and others will intrigue, mystify, and enrage you, whether you're a person of faith or a staunch secularist. But the author's goal is not simply to shock the reader—it is to help diffuse the time bomb that has been set by the hard-liners of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In the end, Baigent asks these questions to deliver an urgent message: that spiritual yearning is actually a deep and personal issue of awareness, one that can bring hope and tolerance to the world, rather than the self-superiority and control that are born of fear and conflict.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; English Language edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061363189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061363184
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,057,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Derek Grimmell on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Baigent has written neither a history book nor a religion book. Rather, he has sounded a warning cry about the manner in which extremists of three faiths have very specific plans to attempt the destruction of the world. Baigent's information is relatively easy to corroborate, but he has "connected the dots" in an attempt to warn everyone else that these people genuinely believe in their lunacy and genuinely intend to carry it out.

The three groups of extremists begin with the Jewish extremists who are determined to expand the state of Israel to its Biblical dimensions, which some (basing their thinking on the book of Joshua) regard as extending into modern-day Iraq. They are also determined to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and as a first step they want to demolish the Dome of the Rock, which is merely the third holiest shrine in all of Islam. Baigent records how a rabbi present in 1967, when the Israelis reclaimed Jerusalem, insisted that Moshe Dayan take the opportunity to blow up the Dome of the Rock then and there, and how Dayan courageously refused. But the extremists are determined to destroy it. The only problem: They can't attack the Dome without risking a sinful intrusion on sacred ground, and they lack the means of cleansing themselves of this sin.

Enter the red heifer. A pure red heifer with no more than one black hair is required for the ritual to purify those who would assault the Dome. An evangelical Christian cattle rancher in the American South has been working with Jewish ultra-orthodox rabbis to breed such a red heifer. They have almost succeeded on two occasions. The Christian extremist is helping because Christian extremists believe that the Temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem in order for the Apocalypse to come and Jesus to return.
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42 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Paul Hosse on September 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The one thing these religious extremists have in common is the belief that they and they alone are the keepers of the "True Faith" and it is their God given duty to bring about their version of the end times (of course, the rest of us are generously given the option of converting or facing God's wrath by their blood soaked hands). All this brings me to a highly engaging and eye opening book by Michael Baigent entitled, "Racing Toward Armageddon: The Three Great Religions And The Plot To End The World" (you may remember Mr. Baigent as the co-author of the hugely popular "Holy Blood Holy Grail" and "The Messianic Legacy"). Mr. Baigent gives us an excellent historical overview the three main religions and their claim on Jerusalem. He then leads us through their Byzantine world to induce the coming of the Messiah, but which Messiah? Is it the Messiah Ben David or the Twelfth Iman? Or is it the Second Coming of Jesus? Finally, Mr. Baigent details the objectives of each and finally, what we can do.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By william delaney on February 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Some may find Michael Baigent's treatise, Racing Toward Armageddon a bit alarmist, however it may also be a warning that must be heeded. The religious zealots who believe in biblical fairytales seem to be gaining momentum around the world. Having previously read Matthew Alper's book, The God Part of the Brain, I couldn't help but wonder if these religious extremists simply aren't wired differently than some of us. But,that doesn't make them any less dangerous. And this is where Baigent's premise shines. He names the three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as all marching merrily along toward Armageddon and doing all they can to hasten its arrival. It's up to us, who have not been brainwashed with religious myths to prevent any of these three from making Armageddon a reality.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schwinghammer VINE VOICE on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If the name Michael Baigent sounds familiar, it's because he wrote HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL in collaboration with Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh. Dan Brown's blockbuster novel, THE DAVINCI CODE was based on that work. Baigent and Leigh unsuccessfully sued.

RACING TOWARD ARMAGEDDON maintains that some of the more radical members of the three Abrahamic religions are doing their best to make Armageddon happen sooner rather than later.

Baigent starts with an anecdote about the Red Heifer. In Old Testament times, anyone who touched a dead person (just about everybody) was considered unclean. He had to be cleansed with the ashes of a perfect red heifer (no white or black hairs) in order to be allowed into the temple. Christian fundamentalists predict that when the third temple is built, Jesus will return. Some Jewish rabbis want to blow up the Islamic mosques presently occupying the temple mount. But they can't walk across the mount unless they are cleansed. Problem: there are no perfect red heifers. Not that Christian fundamentalists aren't trying. An Alabama breeder is currently trying to breed the perfect red heifer.

After the red heifer story, Baigent turns to an analysis of Revelation. He maintains that author John of Patmos was talking about Rome, that it was symbolic, that even John says it was symbolic, that John expected Christ's return in his lifetime, and that many church fathers were reluctant to include Revelation in the New Testament and didn't until well into the fifth century.
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