A reader’s brief review of Seth Andrews's book Sacred Cows
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16-08-2015, 02:18 PM (This post was last modified: 16-08-2015 02:36 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
A reader’s brief review of Seth Andrews's book Sacred Cows
A reader’s brief review of Seth Andrews's book Sacred Cows

You can order the book here:


After purchasing and reading Seth Andrews’s recent book Sacred Cows, I have decided to write a brief review of it chapter by chapter. I will write my personal musings, and I will provide a brief excerpt from each chapter that I found humorous or interesting. These small excerpts will be in the ‘spoiler” format so that anyone reading this review will not have their experience ruined when and if they read his book. So let us begin.

Chapter 1: Once Bitten

This chapter provides a humorous inside look at the Pentecostals that are known as “snake handlers.” My(GWG) mother is a Pentecostal minister, so I am familiar with this particular brand of delusion. The ironic part is these “snake handlers” base their belief that God will protect them from the venom of snakes due to Scripture of Mark 16:18, “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” As you all are well aware, Mark 16:8 of Mark is where it ends in the oldest copies. Mark 16:9 – 20 is an interpolation. So here we have a group of Christians who base their belief in this Scripture to dance around while holding venomous snakes, too bad there is only 125 churches that practice this, as more belief in this could accelerate the declining rate of Christianity in this country, one snake bite at a time.

Chapter 1 excerpt…in a section discussing the laughable life of Pastor Jamie Coots, a famous snake handling preacher. “On the night of Saturday, February 15, 2014, Jamie Coots’luck finally ran out, as a rattlesnake bite to his right hand proved fatal. His family refused medical treatment when paramedics arrived…”

Chapter 2: Air Supply

This chapter provides a look at cargo cults. I had heard of these before but had never read much about them. This was an interesting chapter, and I found myself shaking my head with every page. These are religious cults that sprang up, usually post WWII, and some continue to exist to this day. It never ceases to amaze me the epic level of gullibility that human beings can apparently acquire.

Chapter 2 excerpt… “Merriam-Webster defines cargo cult as: any of the various Melanesian religious groups characterized by the belief that material wealth can be obtained through ritual worship. (Material wealth can be obtained through ritual worship? I guess this makes Joe Alstyne’s church a cargo cult, no?)”

Chapter 3: Blowing Smoke

This chapter provides a look at the Roman Catholics Papal conclave and their methods for identifying a new pope. I actually learned a little bit about the insides of this mega religion when I read this chapter. It discusses the process for selection, how they have achieved such a massive financial means, the Pope Mobile, and the bizarre death rituals for popes once they die.

Chapter 3 excerpt… In a section discussing the death of a pope, “… The media will focus its rating starved lens on the Papal Conclave chimney, and another costume ball will commence. A gaudy religious institution will again declare that it has a hotline to the mind of God, and he will announce his perfect will with big money, secret meetings and a billow of smoke”

Chapter 4: Sacred Cows

This chapter provides a look at how the Hindus have come to worship cows. The extremely complex, and overly complicated number of mythical gods and goddesses that make up the religion of Hinduism. It touches on the culture of this phenomenon and points out many humorous aspects of this worldview perspective.

Chapter 4 excerpt… “There are bovine shrines, like the Bull Temple in Bangalore, which honors the demigod, Nandi, servant of Shiva. The ownership of cows is usually considered a sign of affluence or wealth”

Chapter 5: Are you naked under those clothes?

This chapter provides a look at the ridiculousness of the church of Latter Day Saints, also commonly known as the Mormons. It touches on how overwhelmingly rich this religion is, an overview of the religion, discusses the systemic racism developed from the Book of Mormon and, of course, the ‘magic underwear’.

Chapter 5 excerpt… Mormon Temple Garments are worn by Mormon adults who have taken part in a ritual called the Endowment Ceremony, a secret (and seriously creepy) ritual where participants are symbolically washed and anointed, are consecrated to the LDS Church, and are provided symbolic names, passwords, and hand gestures required by the Angels who are guarding heaven.”

Chapter 6: Death becomes you

This chapter provides a look at the Church of Euthanasia. I found this chapter fascinating, as it covers the website and theology of this religion. I had never heard of this religion previously and thought it was an interesting dance down the road of delusion.

Chapter 6 excerpt… “Enter the church of euthanasia, an online political organization that encourages humankind to pursue voluntary population reduction. Its slogan: ‘Save the Planet, Kill Yourself.’

Chapter 7: Die in the sky

This chapter provides a look covers a plethora of unique funeral rituals from around the globe including the Tibetan ritual of sky burial. How our body is allowed to degenerate back to source material can be achieved many ways. I personally prefer cremation, but the ways one can dispose of the body are numerous nowadays.

Chapter 7 excerpt… “As Tibet’s terrain is much too rocky and dense for traditional gravesites, and with wood for coffins in fuel for cremation in short supply, sky burial offers the dead as food to sustain living creatures. The prepared body is simply placed upon a high rock, and the carnivores come a’runnin”

Chapter 8: The fortune tellers

This chapter provides a look at psychics, fortune-telling, famous psychics, foot reading, Uromancy, astrology, and the various techniques they use to fool the public. So far, this is the most informative chapter of the book for me. Seth’s breakdown of the various methods used to fool audiences and the public out of their hard earned cash was very enlightening. I wish I could type up this entire chapter word for word, and post it on every news site in the world. For me personally, this chapter alone made purchasing the book worthwhile.

Chapter 8 excerpt… “What’s happening here is called the Forer Effect (also known as the Barnum Effect). Name for psychologist Bertram R. Forer, it refers to the tendency of people to rate this kind of information as highly accurate for them personally even though it could easily apply to a wide range of people”

Chapter 9: The penis parade

This chapter provides a look at the up session of some religions with the penis. From Japan to you with love. It talks about an ancient tradition that has existed since the 1600s in Kawasaki Japan called the “Kanamara Matsuri” which translates to “Festival of the Steel Penis”… It must be read to be believed.

Chapter 9 excerpt… “An innkeeper’s daughter was about to get married. However, an evil demon heard about the nuptials and, because the woman had previously refused the demons advances and instead married a human male, he decided to ruin the party by finding the bride-to-be in crawling into her vagina…”

Chapter 10: Santa’s little helper

This chapter provides a look at the heavily commercialized story of Santa Claus. It also looks at the Christmas tradition and other countries for a compare and contrast.

Chapter 10 excerpt… “The legend of the Krampus spans thousands of years and, like Santa, also has roots in ancient pagan symbolism in Germanic folklore. He’s a nasty creature, tall and imposing, often covered in dark hair and flicking the air with a large, pointed tongue…”

Chapter 11: Rise up and walk

This chapter provides a look at various faith healers, new age healing practices, and all of the woo-magic it brings with it. I enjoyed this chapter as well, and while I have not delved into new age healing, I found the information intriguing, as well as humorous.

Chapter 11 excerpt… “Astral travel, also known as astral projection, this out of body experience allows you to leave your physical form and travel into higher realms.… These journeys through space and time are occasionally initiated through the use of hallucinogenics…”

Chapter 12: Free long necks for the ladies

This chapter provides a look at body modification, piercings, tattoos, and other more extreme ways in which cultures around the world have endeavored to alter their body.

Chapter 12 excerpt… “The Kayans are a hugely superstitious people, their religion dating back to the bronze age and incorporating icons like dragons and angels. Have you ever joked about someone seeking divination through the examination of chicken bones? The Kayans actually do this.”

Chapter 13: Circus of the stars

This chapter provides a look at celebrities and their newsworthy escapades into bizarre religions, like Tom Cruise and Scientology. This chapter gets into the crazy world of Scientology, and it’s insanely ridiculous religious tenets. I know a fair amount about Scientology and work to educate the public at every opportunity. Good chapter.

Chapter 13 excerpt… “… After which there’thetans’ (alien souls) remained to inhabit the bodies of future earthlings, causing humans today great spiritual harm and unhappiness that can be remedied through special techniques involving an electropsychometer (E-meter) in a process called auditing”

Chapter 14: Sabbath mode

This chapter provides a look at how believers of the Jewish faith workaround the inconvenient Sabbath rule. This chapter made me laugh as I read how they have designed ways to work around the no labor issue.

Chapter 14 excerpt… “Major appliance makers like Electrolux, Maytag, Kenmore, Whirlpool, GE and others now provide a handy-dandy feature called ‘Sabbath Mode.’… Can delay the activation of heat/flame many hours after the actual turning of the stove dial .”

Chapter 15: Can you put me up for the night?

This chapter provides a look at the process of crucifixion and the crazy regressions in the Philippines where they literally, physically, and figuratively have themselves crucified for Christ. Wow, talk about taking your religion a little too far.

Chapter 15 excerpt… “Ruben Enaje of the San Pedro Cutud Village told the Associated Press that his 2014 crucifixion was his 28th.”

Chapter 16: Wag the dog

This chapter provides a look at religious-based abuse of animals and the craziness of religious beliefs and Bulgaria, Spain, India, etc.

Chapter 16 excerpt… “…Still being practiced in rural Bulgaria. It’s called ‘Trichane’ which translates into ‘dog-spinning’ and is just as bad as it sounds”

Chapter 17: The order, the doctrine and the dude

This chapter provides a look at Jediism… That’s right folks, the Temple of the Jedi Order truly exists. I kid you not. I had heard of this long ago, but never looked into it. Jedi ministers are recognized clergy and are licensed in all 50 states. They conduct various religious ceremonies, attend training, and achieve certification from the Jedi Council. It also looks at the Church of the Latter Day Dude. Things that make you just do a triple facepalm.

Chapter 17 excerpt… “I vowed to uphold the principles of dudeism; to just take it easy, to be dude (easy-going) to everyone I meet, and to keep my mind limber.”

Chapter 18: Running with the devil

This chapter provides a look at hell, Satanism, the Church of Satan, its history and beliefs. I have never bothered to look into the religion of Satanism and found this chapter interesting.

Chapter 18 excerpt… “If Jesus was the hand of God, Satan was a middle finger”

Chapter 19: This is the end (beautiful friend)

This chapter provides a look at the apocalyptic focused doomsday types who go from one end of days prophecy to another. It covers a list of idiots going from Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and D. James Kennedy. He looks at the Y2K bug alarmists. I enjoyed the breakdown of Harold Camping, the infamous pastor who spent a lifetime prophesying failed end times announcements, yet continued to be well-funded by his supporters and admirers.

Chapter 19 excerpt… “After all, even Jesus Christ’s prediction about his own return with an epic fail, as he told his disciples in Matthew 16 that some of them would witness the Son of Man coming in his kingdom before they died”

My conclusion:

This book has spent its time in my “private library” next to the Maxim, Men’s Health, Money, and Flex magazines where I have enjoyed reading it. It is not on any level a deep and insightful research book for those amongst us wanting to sharpen our tools in the never-ending war against religious dogma, and cultural misinformation… Nor is that its apparent intent. Just like the title of the book suggests, it is a lighthearted look at belief and tradition around the world. I couldn’t put it any better. Even though I have been assertive in my anti-theism efforts online and offline for many years, I still found some nuggets of information that I did not previously know. There was some funny bits, some informative bits, and some intriguing bits. Overall I enjoyed this book, and I recommend it for your coffee table as well.

Andrews, Seth. Sacred Cows: A lighthearted look at belief and tradition around the world. (2015)Denver. Outskirts Press inc. Print.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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