Cover image for Celebration : a ceremonial and philosophic guide for humanists and humanistic Jews
Celebration : a ceremonial and philosophic guide for humanists and humanistic Jews
Wine, Sherwin T.
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Publication Information:
Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [1988]

Physical Description:
439 pages ; 24 cm
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BM197.8 .W56 1988 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Bemusedly observing many kinds of religious expression from an erudite, skeptical distance, psychology professor and attorney Edmund D. Cohen thought himself advanced beyond such illusions. But a decade ago, when he found himself among the militant "born-again" Christians, he fell under the influence of powerful factors against which his extensive academic knowledge about religions and all his intellectual arguments were no defense. The "born-again's" religious experience seemed so real and salutary to Cohen that, for several years, he was a dedicated "born-again" believer.

Eventually, Cohen broke free of the psychological stranglehold of Christian fundamentalism. In so doing, he gained the insights necessary to write this book. In his investigations into the phenomenon of Bible-belief, he realized that New Testament Christianity is history's most successful psychological manipulation. Unraveling the psychological devices around which the New Testament was built, Cohen's book illustrates in great detail how these ploys function.

Cohen sees much harm arising from the huge explosion of the Christian Right during the last two decades. He demonstrates how the indoctrination received in these churches undermines the mental health of individuals, causing widespread suffering, due to the vistims' reluctance to speak out. He also shows how this indoctrination makes bible-believers into unwitting supporters of far-right political causes they would otherwise reject.

Beginning in 1984, Cohen conducted a videotape monitoring of Pat Robertson. In 1987, he joined forces with Gerard Thomas Straub (a former producer of the 700 Club and author of Salvation for Sale) to expose Robertson's extremist tendencies.

Cohen made important behind-the-scenes contributions to stories about Robertson aired on NBC News with Tom Brokaw and West 57th Street, and to two front-page stories in the New York Times. In the course of his investigation, Cohen made numerous radio and television appearances. The final chapter in The Mind of the Bible-Believer chronicles that effort.

Author Notes

Edmund D. Cohen is the author of C.G. Jung and the Scientific Attitude. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from Case-Western Reserve University in 1968, taught in college, and was a postdoctral trainee at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. Later, he earned a J.D. from the National Law Center of the George Washington University, and was a respected general-practice attorney and hearing officer in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. He is currently a full-time author and lecturer.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In the tradition of Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Russell, et al., Cohen, JD and PhD (psychology), provides a penetrating examination of ``history's most successful psychological manipulation'' found in biblically based Christianity. While his psychological analysis is directed at the conservative evangelical Christians, his critique effectively deals with the foundation of Christianity in general. After clearly developing his psychological premises and framework (especially in terms of Freud, Jung, and Goldstein), Cohen analyzes the biblical bases for seven mind control techniques. He argues that these techniques of psychotechnology are conscious and deliberate in the Bible and characterize all serious Bible believers. In order to demonstrate his position, he presents a comprehensive study of the New Testament texts. One of his major concerns is to relate these findings to mental health. Since the author had been an ``insider,'' his autobiographical reflections throughout the book are illustrative and interesting. Cohen's volume represents one of the most systematic ``secular humanist'' critiques of biblical traditions from a psychological point of view. The book provides elaborate footnotes both of reference and commentary. The author provides an index of scriptural references and a subject index. Although quite readable, the book assumes some familiarity with psychology and biblical religion. Recommended for college and university libraries.-R.L. Massanari, Alma College

Table of Contents

Introduction an Illusion Revisitedp. 1
Chapter 1 the """"Old-Time Religion"""" and the New """"Mini-Reformation""""p. 9
Chapter 2 Psychological Premises and Concernsp. 67
Chapter 3 the Two Kinds of Mind-Gamesp. 137
Chapter 4 the Evangelical Mind-Control Systemp. 169
Chapter 5 Conclusionp. 387
Postscriptp. 407
Postscript to the Paperback Editionp. 409
Index of Scripturesp. 417
Index of Selected Names, Subjects and Titlesp. 421