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The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom
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The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  36 reviews
An Incendiary Wake-Up Call to the World

What if the Old Testament is a work of fiction, Jesus never existed, and Muhammad was a mobster?

What if the Bible and the Qur'an are works of political propaganda created by Taliban-like fundamentalists to justify the sort of religious violence we are witnessing in the world today?

What if there is a big idea that could free us from
Paperback, 276 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Harmony (first published 2005)
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Linda  Branham Greenwell
The first half of the book is a dissecting of the world religions - what the authors call the Literalist viewpoint. If you are fundamentalist you would not like the book. However, I am not fundamentalist and the authors expressed many of the views that I already have. Will the book change anyone - probably not. But if you already believe this way - it will "reawaken" you :)
In this current world we are living in the Literalists - fundamentalists - of all religions are becoming more outspoken and
Miles Fowler
The twinned purpose of this book is an attack on organized, Fundamentalist (or in the word preferred by the authors, 1CLiteralist 1D) religion combined with the promotion of an alternative, the 1CPerennial Philosphy, 1D which is an idea associated especially with Gottfried Leibniz and, later, Aldous Huxley, holding that certain philosophical and mystical insights into mind and reality are eternal and universal--by implication because they are rooted in human nature as much as in the true ...more
Timothy Boyd
A well written and interesting view of religion and religious history. Good read. Recommended
Nov 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This slim volume kept me entranced, it is one of those books I didn't want to put down. The authors present a very clear case for the hijacking of Gnostic Christianity by the power-hungry Roman church. Read this and you will learn how the modern "Christian" churches are based on 1500 years of lies, distortions, and mistranslations. The also veer into a discussion of Islam, how Muhammad's original message of submission to God gradually changed into a mission of domination, hatred, and opression.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is well referenced (there are plenty of citations but I didn't look into them). It made some valid points but after a while the consistency of derision, lack of sympathy and steadfast sticking to one narrative made this hard to believe was completely right.
Ryan Sloan
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I'm not a religious person, but I do think we can learn something from just about every religious tradition and philosophy. There were parts of this book I liked a lot, and there were some parts I didn't like so much.
1. The historical look at some of the major religions was interesting (though see point 1 under dislikes)
2. I think the "imagine you were hearing this story for the first time" approach to some of the fantastical religious tales was an effective rhetorical device, but if it
Shavawn Berry
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual-books
This is an amazing indictment of the literalist perspective on religion. Its scathing view of those who believe that the bible is a history book is palpable. Instead, Gandy and Freke encourage the Gnostic view of rejecting separateness and embracing oneness. The second half of the book on gnosis (awakening) is some of the most encouraging, heartening, lovely guidance I've read in a long while. This book offers spiritual solace to anyone who has been wandering the wasteland of modern life, ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a strange book -- like two books in one. It was a bit too sarcastic for me in the first half, though some good points were made. The second half was on the mystical side but had a little too much "big love" sprinkled in it, but I still enjoyed it. The second half is not something that would sit well with most academics--a definite audience for the first half. It's worth the time. I recommend it. An open mind is a must!
Cari Clayton
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I grew up in a christian family, going to church. As a teenager I couldn't bring myself to go any more. I've tried different denominations, nothing felt right or good. This book touched me like nothing I've ever read.
Blair Runde
Feb 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Stopped reading the last half of the book. The first half I loved.
Morgan Bradham
"Imagine what would happen if we actually began to wake up and live by the Gnostic teachings of oneness and love. If we started to truly love our neighbors, and even our enemies, because we recognize that they are actually expressions of our own deeper self. If we saw through to the reality that there are no Jews, Christians, or Muslims. There is no 'us versus them'. There is only us. This is the Gnostic vision that has inspired us to write this book." (page 8)

Wow! And what a book it is! Most of
Nov 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
So many good books on gnosticism exist. This book is not one of them. Additionally, the authors seem to think anarchy means chaos.....ah, no. In fact, they seem confused about a few diff. words, so I just don't trust them to interpret anything. Finally, they come off as assholes. The writing is flat & tedious, & the tone is assholish. It was neither informative nor enjoyable. That about covers it. If seeking out gnostic-related reading material, my recommendation is to avoid this one. ...more
Bimo Pratama
Mar 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
This is the worst conspiracy book i’ve ever read..
My cat is smarter than the author of this book
Nicole M
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is split into two sections: The Bath Water and The Baby.

I found the first section to be an informative (if sometimes harsh) look at the kernels of truth that developed into many of our modern religious texts.

The second half of the book provides the author's perspective on gnostic wisdom. While thought provoking and philisophical, it seemed a bit hypocritic to write about a religion or philosophy after breaking down the myths behind most modern religions. At times I felt the authors
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
A compact spiritual guide in favor of gnosticism/mysticism/hereticism/whatever-you-want-to-call-it and against literalism, which in my opinion is a brilliant word to describe all of religious stupidity, not just what is traditionally understood by fundamentalism. It is divided into two parts, firstly debunking literalist religion and secondly presenting the wisdom of gnostic spirituality. It also features some nice exercises to help waking up.

One thing I liked in particurlar was that
Jon Y.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
An excellent primer on the true history of Palestine and the religions that grew from that region that morphs halfway through into a gnostic self-help book (a commendable self-help book that many people could benefit from reading, but a self-help book nonetheless). Fascinating for the amount of time it concentrates on tossing out "The Bathwater", but "The Baby" bored me to tears with sentiments that should be obvious to anyone who has every dotted their tongue with some LSD-25 and a copy of "Be ...more
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual
Currently reading, it's the last in Freke & Randy's books on Gnostic Christianity BEFORE they wrote the Gospel of the Second Coming.

I find it so thought provoking my book has all these notes in the margins. It answers a lot of questions I've had about the Bible, and has helped me understand the Bible better as an allegory instead of a literal account of history. After I'm done, I'll have to re-read the Gospel to catch all the nuances and references.
Rob Haas
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
It has a very interesting slant on Western religion which I still bring up from time to time when discussing religion.

Highly recommended for anyone struggling with spirituality.

Anyone interested in this should probably know a little bit about the old and new testaments as well as the Koran before reading it to get the most out of what the book is trying to get across. Its a little difficult and dry at times but overall it was a winner once you get through the tougher parts.

Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book shows Jesus of Nazareth in a whole new light. It explains early gnostic wisdom taught by Jesus that has been lost over the ages. For me, this book puts more of a human face on Jesus and it makes a lot of sense. It talks about how the Catholic church has twisted Jesus's words to suit their own agenda, as most christain religions tend to do.
Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it
T. Freke had me thinking & wondering again over another one of his books. Strong stuff, could be offensive to the sensitive Christian. Although I do not agree with all things he covers (is he THAT sure that the man named Jesus (Yeshua) never existed?) i do so appreciate his passion for gnosticism.
Dec 09, 2006 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Not for those who get their panties in a twist over religion...starts out very strong and historically interesting...becomes quite a bit overly cerebral and touchy-feely by the end, but overall message is a good one.
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Don't throw out the Baby with the Bathwater! The authors differentiate between the political manipulations of classic spiritual texts and the "Baby", or the Gnostic truths. Written for a layperson, it is a great introduction or expansion on Gnostic thought. Very enjoyable.
Martin  Rivas
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have not finished but I'll give this a 5 star because I agree with it and the language is so easy to understand. If I could just get Osam Ben Ladin and George Bush to read this we could all start over.
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The first few chapters point out the absurdities, doctrinal and hsitorical, of the major monotheistic faiths and their texts before the authors turn to the teachings of gnostic wisdom. These are discussed in contemporary terms, with inspiration and enthusiasm.
Jake Maguire
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lost this book before finishing it. I was liking it a lot.
Sarah Pangloss
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Being a huge fan of Freke - and absolutely loving his other books - I found this book somewhat of a letdown. The content is excellent, but the writing and organziation is not up to par.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it

The first part is quite a rant. The second part is worth the read. See the 5-star review.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
amazing insight on most religions
John Mathis
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I like this Jesus a hell of a lot more than the one I grew up with!
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Not a book for those who believe literally or not willing to stretch a little with an open mind.
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Timothy Freke has an honors degree in philosophy and is the author of more than twenty books on world spirituality. He lectures and runs experiential seminars throughout the world exploring gnosis. For information, see Both Freke and Gandy live in England and are the authors of five previous books, including The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Lost Goddess.