Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
on 18 March 2001
Ludovic Kennedy writes a very personal account of his experiences with Christianity, charting it's birth, rise throughout history, and irrelevance towards modern society.
Although this is interesting to all of us who are sceptical when it comes to religion, Kennedy's account is a little too personal and we can feel that this book is an act of revenge for all of those boring church services he was forced to sit through as a spotty teenager.
Ultimately, Kennedy does not answer the weightier questions which we might have hoped that he would (ie, is there such thing as a God.) Instead he focuses on how historical tales have been twisted by the authors of the New Testament in order to convince millions into believing that Jesus Christ was a miracle wielding, all knowing, do gooder. Instead, we are told, Jesus was a normal every day human being. The only thing which has set him apart from the rest of us was his willingly to preach humility, recognition of sin, and good works to anyone who would listen. This, however, does not make him any different from St Francis, Cuthbert, or even Thomas Becket - all of who were also normal people who preached penitence and forgiving. I guess that Jesus is revered and given such princely status because he managed to get there first.
Unfortunately, then, "All in the Mind" eventually reverts to good old fashioned Christianity bashing, and slowly looses is credibility and argument along the way. It's not difficult to argue that Christianity has been largely responsible for war, slavery, genocide, and racism, and Kennedy does not say anything which has not been put to us before. What he does succeed in doing is putting all of this information into one easily accessible source.
Kennedy's main motivation for this book is to question the relevance of religion in today's society. He does not question the existence of God, preferring instead to leave this to the philosophers, but does ask how such a well informed and intelligent society can still believe in miracles, resurrections, and the afterlife. This book is a good read, and has given me some good ammunition to use when I am next stopped in the street by a group of well meaning church goers. Definitely worth keeping next to the door in case the Jehovah's Witnesses call.