A Concise Dictionary of Cults & Religions

William Watson

A large book which lists about 2000 individual religious groups, UFO organizations, New Age organizations, individuals, deities, spirit guides, activities, techniques, important texts etc., with a brief description of each. This is followed by an extensive bibliography and list of Christian ministries which deal with what the author perceives as "cults" (a pretty exhaustive group).

The text is written from a strong evangelical Christian perspective, a fact which belies the work's title. While the entries appear factual in content and attempt to exhibit a precise knowledge of each entity, a large number of them reflect a partisan religious bias and make sensationalistic claims which are undocumented (e.g., references to various non-Evangelical religious groups engaging in pornography, rape, incest, polygamy, kidnapping, electric shock rituals, etc.). Regrettably,  misinformation and religious intolerance abound and this work adds to that in a strong way. The author has clearly relied heavily on other evangelical and/or fundamentalist Christian writings for his sources rather than using original documents (or, it seems, factual knowledge) from the many groups he names. 

There are many, many opinions, some quite inaccurate, in this presumed reference work, not the least of which is the author's repetition of the old saw that a man "cannot be an intelligent Christian and an intelligent Mason" simultaneously. What kind of entry is THAT for a book purporting to be a dictionary? We understood that dictionaries provided definitions not opinion but that's certainly not so in this case! Are dictionaries 'definitions' or opinions?

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