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Sunday, July 25, 2010

God’s Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man’s Eternal Search for the Divine

If you read SusPack you know that I am fascinated by religion. I have so many questions and there are so many issues which we are asked to accept on "faith." And I just can't grasp the concept of a vengeful "God" - it makes absolutely no sense that someone all powerful and all knowing would intentionally inflict pain. You also know that I have serious issues with many organized religious institutions, particularly the Catholic Church (A highly theatrical Holy Hoax) - because of excesses I see in those institutions, the corruption, the wasteful spending and the sexual perversions.

I believe most religions are cults that prey on human's fear of the unknown. I am an atheist. I don't believe in god in any traditional sense at all. The "god" of the bible and Koran, etc. are pure myth in my opinion. I believe in mankind. I believe in science. I know that none of us have the answers to the unknown. I am awestruck by "mother nature" and the wonders of the universe - how it was all created, who knows? It doesn't really matter. I believe being good makes a better humanity. I believe treating people with kindness and caring for others in need is the way to live life.

So I was intrigued by a book review today at the Daily Beast - God’s Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man’s Eternal Search for the Divine by Michael Largo.

Michael Largo, noted author of half a dozen books on death, has made it his mission to document and collect stories of religious fanatics, freaks, believers of all sorts.   Largo speaks of saints and sinners, of aliens and apostles. He regales the reader with tales of religion gone awry.

He tells the story of John Frum, a navy vet who washed ashore on an island in the South Pacific. The natives, who had little contact with the outside world, immediately hailed Frum as the messiah. Frum taught them that Uncle Sam and Santa Claus were revered gods and got them to believe that passing candy bars to each other was religious ritual. Frum died by falling (some say he was pushed) into an active volcano. His followers believe he’ll be resurrected in the year 2015.

Then there's the Patron Saint of Ice Skaters. The flying nuns (yes, there were many). There's heretic hunter Conrad of Marburg. There's Paschal T. Randolph, a nineteenth-century barber-turned-sex magician who allegedly coined the term "soul mate."

And then there’s the charismatic Pentecostal preacher known as Sister Aimee. In the early 1900s, her tent revivals often had standing-room-only crowds of thirty thousand. She built America’s first megachurch with a sanctuary could seat more than five thousand and reportedly had packed services three times a day, seven days a week. As if that wasn’t enough, she also created her own denomination, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

She is perhaps most widely known for allegedly being abducted near Venice Beach in the spring of 1926. Most people assumed she had drowned, others thought she was kidnapped, and some believed she had orchestrated the perfect disappearing act. About a month after she disappeared, Sister Aimee miraculously emerged from a Mexican desert claiming she had been kidnapped and brutally tortured. But not many people believed her. Indeed, a male colleague who was reportedly romantically involved with Sister Aimee coincidentally also vanished around the same time, and the two were seen at a number of hotels during her disappearance.

It’s stories like these—hundreds of them—that fill the pages of Largo’s encyclopedic new work. To compile it, he kept an almost monastic writing regime, often researching for 18 hours at a stretch, and working on just four hours of sleep a night. God’s Lunatics sources more than 300 books, which Largo is still clearing out of his lakefront house. “I was getting kind of crazy at the end of the book.” “With all the different gods, it got hard to sleep. The blessing is I have insomnia.”

But Largo sees his new book on religion as a natural extension of his previous work. “Death and religion are good bedfellows,” he says.

A self-described “recovering Catholic,” (he vividly remembers the corporeal punishment he received from the nuns growing up), he doesn’t argue for or against God in his book. Instead, he opts for religious tolerance. “I try to present this as a consumer’s guide to religion,” he says.

God’s Lunatics is written in handy encyclopedic form. The first entry is “Abracadabra,” which at one time was an ancient code used by Egyptian priests, and ends with “Zoroastrianism.” In between, paired with rare photos from the Library of Congress, are hundreds of what he refers to as short stories on the banal and the bizarre. Everything from how to tastefully slit the neck of a kosher chicken to biblical masturbators. A section on divine hair reveals why Amish men don’t have mustaches and Orthodox Jews grow side locks. There’s even information on how to start your own cult. “A surefire way to get followers to your cult is to talk about the apocalypse,” he explains nonchalantly.

Sounds intriguing!!  Death, the apocalypse and biblical masturbators - what more could you ask?

For some of my other posts on religion:

SUSPACK: Shocking - Priest Stole $1.3 Million - Also Gay.

There is something seriously messed up with the Catholic Church and with male Priests. When will somebody try and resolve all of the issues with Priests and the Catholic Church is the bigger question.) Kevin Gray, a priest at Sacred ...
SUSPACK: Rome's scrambling to undo damage from changes to church ...

Father Charles Curran, a professor at the Catholic University of America, was removed from his post and barred from teaching theology as a result of questioning church teachings on contraception, divorce, and homosexuality. ...
Discrimination on Admissions "is at odds with our values as a ...

Father James Rafferty, and the school principal, Cynthia Duggan, Rafferty told (the parent) that her relationship "was in discord with the teachings of the Catholic Church." Now an article at raises many of ...


  1. That painting is funny you posted of God. I noticed the huge penis. I guess that would be many people's fantasy of how God would be hung. Funny shit.

    Isn't it true that catholic nuns believe they are saving themselves for a massive sex orgy with God in Heaven? I mean he couldn't love each one monogamously. I'm just saying....


  2. Ever notice how religion and sex are so tied. How many virgins do you get in the here-after if you commit Islamic jihad???

  3. Read the Christian Delusion for an excellent analysis of faith and religion.

  4. Is that different from The God Delusion ? Who is the author?

    Betsy- Miami

  5. You will burn in hell.

    Kristen Kelly