I consider it a privilege to review any book. Even more when it is a friend’s book, though with that sometimes comes the trepidation that I may read the book too charitable or not charitable enough.
I have gotten to know Richard Abanes over the last year or so at various websites we both hang out at. He is very insightful and what I would consider being from the old school of Discernment ministries. His lineage as I call does come directly from Walter Martin and Christian Research Institute. Suffice it to say I would recommend him as one of the “good” discernment minstries out there. Richard has authored many books and at times even I would consider him a bit controversial.
To be straight forward, Richard and I do not agree on everything. Yet, unlike many who profess “discernment” I have not found him to be antagonistic toward me at all. Personally I think the disagreements are very minor and truthfully, Richard is the type of person that can agree to disagree on the minor things, yet will fight tooth and nail over the essentials.
Religions of the Stars is a very informative book. It is broken into different sections as to how Hollywood stars believe.
Oprah’s New Spirtuality : This covers the life of Oprah which was very humanizing of her, and then goes into the critique of Oprah’s New Age belief in contrast to the Christian faith.
Mormon in Movieland: This section covers and contrasts Mormonism with Christianity
The Buddha Comes to Tinseltown: This section covers how Buddhism came to Hollywood and contrasts Buddhism with Christianity
Scientolgy: Hollywood’s A-List Religion: This gives a very revealing look at Scientology and is very informative. Again, this section contrasts Scientology with Christianity
Kabbalah a la Madonna: This is also an interesting section as Abanes covers and contrasts not just Christianity but also Judaism/Kabbalahism with the new pop version that Madonna and others follow.
The Magick of Hollywood: This section covers Occultism in Hollywood and again contrasts it with Christianity
Each section is informative, humanizing and easy to read. I learned much about Scientology and the type of Kabbalahism that Madonna is into. Richard Abanes really never goes into sensationalism which would be easy to do in such a book.
Now there are two minor critiques:
I do believe there is a “Christian” panentheism. This type acknowledges that God is separate from creation, yet also sees that God is “in creation” in the sense that Romans 1:20 states:
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Now I would not fight tooth and nail to support this as Biblical doctrine, yet in the debates I have read I do see that this type of panentheism may be acceptable. The thing on this I do agree with is the way and definition Richard Abanes used panentheism as not being Biblical.
In the Magick section I disagree a bit on Harry Potter as being connected with Occultism. Now I truly understand the reasons why Richard sees these books as he does and again, would not argue and divide over our disagreement. I do agree to an extent as I would be cautious to let my kids watch the movies or read the books without discussing them with them.
Again, I will emphasize that these are very minor disagreements and I would recommend the book to anyone that needs information on these religions.
Personal message to Richard:
Richard, I was amused at one reference to a certain “evangelist”. As I have gotten to know him I see him on the level of Ken Silva. LOL! But, then even a broken clock is right twice a day so Eric could be right on some things I suppose.