Monday, February 16, 2015

#1290: Richard Abanes

Richard Abanes is a bestselling and award-winning writer and journalist, specializing on socio-religious issues, cults, the occult, world religions, the entertainment industry, and pop culture. He has written or co-written some twenty books on these topics, starting with Prophets of the Apocalypse: David Koresh and Other American Messiah, many of which have been bestsellers and widely read. Indeed, Abanes has managed to establish for himself quite an authority on cults and religious madmen, and he often seems reasonable (though some have noted his attacks on the Mormon church as being motivated not only by recognizing the crazy of that group).

In reality, Abanes is himself a batshit fundie, who has weighed in heavily on the “religious debates over the Harry Potter series”. In “Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick,” Abanes elaborates on the Satanic threat the books pose to American children. Interestingly, however, and as opposed to other vocal Harry Potter critics such as Bryan Small, Abanes distinguished sharply between the Harry Potter series and the fantasy works of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: “One of the easiest ways to know whether a fantasy book or film has real world magick in it is to just ask a simple question, ‘Can my child find information in a library or bookstore that will enable them to replicate what they are seeing in the film or the book?’ If you go to The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings what you see is story magic and imagination, it is not real. You can’t replicate it. But if you go to something like Harry Potter, you can find references to astrology, clairvoyance, and numerology. It takes seconds to go into a bookstore or library and get books on that and start investigating it, researching it, and doing it.” In other words, the distinction is that “Harry Potter contains elements of real magic, unlike the more fantasy-based powers employed in Lord of the Rings or Narnia.”

And that, readers, is the kind of observation that gives you an entry in the Encyclopedia of American Loons.

Diagnosis: Good grief. His writings on cults seem often lucid, but there is that matter of seeing the speck in your neighbor’s eye and so on.

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