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Michael Baigent

The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World

HarperOne Imprint, 2009.

Page Count: 304
Price: $26.99
ISBN: 978-0-06-136318-4
ISBN10: 0061363189

Available from the publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers

About the Author:

Michael BaigentMichael Baigent was born in New Zealand in 1948. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Canterbury University, Christchurch, and holds a master's degree in mysticism and religious experience from the University of Kent in England. Since 1976 he has lived in England with his wife and children.

Baigent is a Freemason and a Grand Officer of the United Grand Lodge of England. He has also been an editor of Freemasonry Today since 1991. As an author and speculative historian, he has been published in 35 languages; he is the author of From the Omens of Babylon, Ancient Traces, and the New York Times bestseller The Jesus Papers; he is the coauthor of the international bestsellers Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Messianic Legacy (with Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh); and the coauthor of The Temples and the Lodge, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, Secret Germany, The Elixir and the Stone, and The Inquisition (with Richard Leigh).


“Eschatology! Who needs it?” This latest book from Michael Baigent is undoubtedly a page-turner. It takes us on a breathtaking chase through three millennia and with murder and mayhem at every twist and turn it reveals a conspiracy to end the world as we know it; unputdownable!

Yet, it may be counted strange that the editor of one of the world’s largest mainstream masonic official journals should be taking a critical view of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, their supreme beings and their volumes of sacred law. However, it must be emphasised that the critique is aimed at the fundamentalists within each and a planned endgame which, with a rigour exceeding even that of a Harvard symbologist, Baigent seeks to decipher.

Racing Toward Armageddon
usefully reminds us that for a collection of texts to be recognised as a volume of sacred law it has to be accepted by faith and faith alone that these writings are not the product of human creativity. Rather, they are as breathed through human conduits by a superior intelligence located beyond space and time. However, Baigent indicates their less than miraculous entry into the world and hints at the incoherence of a concept of “literally true” applying to millennia-old texts. He warns that underpinning the world’s three largest revealed religions there are, within these volumes of sacred law, passages seemingly forecasting interventions from beyond space and time, which are promising the end of the terrestrial status quo and will, after the final decisive confrontation of good and evil, usher in an everlasting theocracy.

It would be all well and good if we could just sit back and wait for this to happen but unfortunately certain conditions must be established on earth in preparation for this intervention. Baigent is rightly worried that within each of the three revealed religions there are fundamentalists who, by infiltration into national governance, are seeking to bring about these circumstances, perhaps something on the lines of Lenin ”giving history a push”. These circumstances seem to be centred on dominating the real estate upon which Jerusalem’s religious buildings are located and where the extremes of each religion are making territorial claims to the exclusion and annihilation of the other. Given that freemasons celebrate that this place is where “His name will be established for ever and peace given to the whole earth”, the question has to be asked, what if any is their role in all of this and are freemasons knowingly or unwittingly caught up in this global conspiracy? The view could be taken that this is a challenge to world freemasonry.

Fortunately, most freemasons are not fundamentalist and regard the narratives of the volumes of sacred laws as being allegory from which moral lessons can be learned. This should keep their feet on the ground but leaves open the challenge of what might usefully be understood by the term “sacred” when applied to a volume of law. Yes, perhaps after reading Racing Toward Armageddon freemasons could realise the danger of identifying with the trappings of religious conformity, will come out of the cloisters, celebrate enlightened tolerance and the rational cause of humanity. And thereby, leave concepts of beyond space and time where they belong which is within organised religion and for which freemasonry is an alternative.

In April 2004 Michael Baigent was with some freemasons cruising on Lake Nasser; during the course of enlightened discussion a strange person retorted, “Eschatology! Who needs it”? Michael exploded with laughter and will likely smile at it again. It was in London’s Central Court, in March 2007, that he had his own Armageddon – hardly a triumph of good over evil - but mercifully he survived albeit somewhat weakened. One must read the book to learn of his ambitious esoteric alternative to the three revealed regions and monotheism. It can only be hoped that rational humanism will overcome the insanity of the apocalyptical; that humanity’s material needs, around the world, will be met with justice and thereby eliminate the historical cause of man’s inhumanity to man which has often been conducted in the name of religion, its supreme beings and its volumes of sacred law.  After reading Racing Toward Armageddon who better than freemasons, the heirs of Enlightenment, to lead on the realisation of this hope for a world of justice for human beings and respect for other life and material existence.

Gerald Reilly
PS Review of Freemasonry

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