Daniele Bolelli is a writer, college professor, and martial artist. He teaches the history of religion at many top universities in Southern California including Santa Monica College and Cal State Long Beach. In this wide-ranging tome, he takes a long and hard look at the failings, blind-spots, and violence against their perceived enemies of the world's religions over a 3000-year period. Now when many people are tapping into the incredible array of spiritual resources available to everyone in order to create their own religion, Bolelli wants to make sure that these seekers don't waste their time and energy on the dogmatism, closed-mindedness, misogyny, and fear of freedom that characterizes many of the belief systems.
Here are some of the toxins of organized religion which are to be avoided: exclusivity, an emphasis on life after death, a hatred of the body and sexuality, the authoritarianism of the patriarchy, an exaggeration of the sinfulness and self-disgust of human beings, a legalistic morality that is aggressive and judgmental, and the demonization and persecution of independent thinkers and other free spirits.
Bolelli yearns for what he calls "a paradox-flavored consciousness," a union of opposites, and a sense of humor in the face of the mysteries of the human adventure. His positive advice for those creating their own religion is from Bruce Lee:
"1. Research your own experience.
2. Absorb what is useful.
3. Reject what is useless.
4. Add what is specifically your own."