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Religions of the Stars: What Hollywood Believes and How It Affects You Paperback – July 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"... fair but forceful, giving Scripture-based rebuttals to contrast how each worldview opposes the central theology of Christianity..." -- DeWayne Hamby, Charisma

From the Back Cover

A Fascinating Look at What Celebrities Believe You've probably heard that Tom Cruise is a Scientologist and Madonna follows the teachings of the Kabbalah. And you know that Oprah Winfrey is very spiritual. But what does it all mean? And more important, how does it affect you? Why is Scientology such a controversial religion? What does the Kabbalah teach? Which faiths are embraced by Richard Gere, Marie Osmond, Ashton Kutcher, and many other celebrities? How does Christianity line up with the popular religions of Hollywood? Inside this book you'll find the answers to these questions and more. You'll also discover how today's Hollywood spirituality affects the movies and television programs you see, as well as how your children might be influenced by the way these religions are portrayed in the media. Richard Abanes--former Broadway performer and television/film actor--blends his knowledge of the entertainment industry and his expertise in the area of world religions and cults in this intriguing examination of the religious beliefs embraced by various Hollywood stars.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House; Original edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764206486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764206481
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,739,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Orville B. Jenkins VINE VOICE on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
Abanes provides a serious and helpful introduction and overview of the various religions, east and west, old and modern, that Hollywood personalities belong to. He provides a good social setting for the rise of religious fervor among the Hollywood crowd, negating the common popular view that Hollywood and the entertainment are irreligious or antireligious.

Fuller covers the main religions found among the acting and entertainment community. The most dominant by far is Scientology, and Abanes allots the largest portion of his book to this phenomenon that will strike most readers as science fiction. the well-documented coverage of Scientology amounts to a low-key, reasoned exposé. Readers will learn much detail and objective information about the other faiths of the stars.

Also covered are Mormonism, Wicca and other neo-pagan religions, "Oprah's New Spirituality" mixing aspects of several religious concepts and practices with Christian associations, and Kabbala, especially the cultic variation developed by Philip Berg decried by orthodox Kabballists.

One more is covered in good stead. In his discussion of Buddhism in California, Abanes as expected provides a good historical perspective on how Buddhism migrated into California in the 1800s with Chinese workers and immigrants. He outlines the general sects now found in two broad categories.

Abanes provides clear information distinguishing the major varieties of Buddhism and explains difference in character between Asian and American attitudes and practices in modern western Buddhism.

He closes each section with a good comparison of the similarities and differences between the religion in focus and traditional or mainline Christianity, with the evangelical color he seems to favor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. Mathison on August 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Now I have always been interested in different religions even though I am a Christian. I wonder what other people believe and why? And of course some of them can be pretty far fetched in my opinion. Now why would I want to read this particular book. Well I have read before about Scientology and Kabbalah and was surprised that people actually bought into these beliefs. This is two of the religions discussed in the book by Richard Abanes.

Other religions are Wicca, Mormons, Buddhist and New Age Beliefs. Again I have read about many of these but still wanted to explore further. "Religions of the Stars" is broken down by each belief system and a major star that is a proponent of that religion. For example I always assumed that Oprah Winfrey was a Christian. Here I learn quite different. She practices New Age beliefs and they are quite different from my own. I was surprised to find that some people think that they control their own salvation. Now I agree we have choices in our personal beliefs but I don't think I have the ability to "save" myself.

I have had family and friends before that are from different ideologies. Learning more about Mormons, Wicca and Buddhism from them. Here in "Religion of the Stars" I was able to explore even more. The book was written in plain language that I could understand. Differences were pointed out in how each religion and Christianity differed. And how many mirrored the same beliefs and teachings too.

Most surprising was the religions of Scientology and Kabbalah. Amazing that people can really be reasoning and still "purchase" these religions. Yes, purchase is the right words. In order to advance in these religions you have to pay for each step up. Yeah! Odd in my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on July 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Religions of the Stars: What Hollywood Believes and How It Affects You by Richard Abanes is a good survey and introduction on 6 of the major religions that are big in Hollywood. The 6 religions looked at are 1) Oprah's New Spirituality (New Age), 2) Mormonism, 3) Hinduism, 4) Scientology, 5)Kabbalah, and 6) Wicca/witchcraft.

Abanes' book as I said was a good introduction/overview of the 6 religions compared to Christianity. It is a quick read. I do wish Abanes had spent a little more time explaining on how to witness to friends who are connected to the various faiths. This book can be a good help or can cause a parent to flip out over all the stuff happening in Hollywood. The one thing over all especially with children and teens there has to be open communication between them and talk about this stuff.

There are other books that cover this topic in a more in depth way. For a survey of the related faiths involved it is a great book. For a more in depth look I would suggest you look else where.
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Format: Paperback
The premise is pretty straight forward. Abanes takes several well known Hollywood religions (New Age, Mormonism, Scientology, the Occult - Wicca, Kabbalah, and Buddhism), and breaks them down. Each one is given a significant chapter, which tells you who in Hollywood believes in the religion, what exactly the religion is and involves, and extensive history on it. Abanes also takes a few paragraphs at the end of each section to compare each belief to Christianity.
Here are my gripes. Admittedly, as a regular viewer of E!, I was mostly interested in the Hollywood aspect of this book. However, the idea of Hollywood behind the research serves as merely a starting point. There isn't much emphasis at all on why it matters what Hollywood believes. The presence of "Hollywood" in the book has more of a feel of naming-dropping than a reason to care. The history of the subjects are at times very interesting, for example the brief bio of L. Ron Hubbard, the creator of Scientology, is too good to miss. However, sections of the text can become dry and repetitive. Moreover, the portions of the text that give advice on how to convert believers of the religions falls from the book's purpose, and in my opinion discredits what the author says he means to do. On the other hand, in comparing religions to Christianity, the author does so in a way that seems more informative to the people that would be most interested in the subject, and yet isn't offensive to the belief in question (most of the time.) He also does a great job of defining where Hollywood has glamorized to the point of distortion certain religions (Kabbalah being a huge example).
Overall, if you are a completely interested in the subject of religion social science, then you would give this book more stars than I did. If you are looking for some insight to Hollywood social science, then I think there are much better choices available.
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