[In May 2007] I began reading this weighty, demanding 400-page tome (17 May - 3 June):
Cohen, Edmund D. The Mind of the Bible-Believer. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1986.It will take some effort to fully digest it. There are several comments on the web, and a couple of mini-reviews from the Christian opposition as well as from liberal Christian semi-sympathizers, but there is only one real full review from the atheist camp (accompanied by the lyrics of a Zappa song), summarizing the Christian techniques of mind control:
"The Mind of "the Bible-Believer": a critique of the book by Edmund D. Cohen (Positive Atheism)From other people’s criticisms, it seems that these are the main areas in which to evaluate the book:
(1) the schema of mind control techniquesCohen’s sympathizers are most sympathetic to (1), and most critical of Cohen’s take on (3) and (4).
(2) the psychological theories adopted by Cohen
(3) Cohen’s account of the history of Christianity, in general and in the USA
(4) Cohen’s thesis that the founders of Christianity fully intended to engage in mind control.
My position going into this: I myself am not in a position to judge (3). But I am on the lookout for the incorporation of sociological factors. Psychology in isolation from sociology cannot do the job. Perhaps Cohen’s account of the conditions of the Roman Empire in which Christianity was generated will prove insightful. Perhaps Cohen will have a good explanation, as he purports to, as to why Christianity was so successful in penetrating all different types of cultures.
I still have not evaluated the book after reading it. There’s a heavy-duty Freudian and Jungian preparation, before an immersion into a couple hundred pages on the New Testament’s mind-control techniques. I will return with a more detailed critique.