Poisoned piety

When Religion Becomes Evil. By Charles Kimball. HarperSanFrancisco, 240 pp., $21.95.

The horrors of 9/11 and the past summer’s revelations of priestly child abuse and the Catholic hierarchy’s apathy, secrecy and arrogance in the face of it have led many to wonder whether religion is more curse than blessing. The deeper, horrifying reservoir of concern about religion’s influence includes the cult suicides of Jonestown, the subway attack by Aum Shinrikyo in Japan, the seemingly endless bloodfest in the Middle East, the atavistic outbreak of genocide in the Balkans, and other terrors.


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