“This book will hopefully persuade you that the hell-fire doctrine has done more to damage the mental health and sexual consciousness of humanity than any other belief or ideology.” English musician Charles Sayer Wilson, author of Sex and the Devils’ Wager, despises what he regards as the falsehoods inherent in Christianity and Islam, and proposes techniques, involving martial arts and women’s sexuality, to combat and eliminate those religions.
Wilson has done his research, and he might well find some acceptance for his first thesis: The doctrine of eternal hell makes God out to be an uncaring torturer. He cites a multitude of scholars—Thomas à Kempis, John Calvin, and Julian of Norwich among them—and refutes their dogma point by point. However, his ideas are not new, having occurred to many sincere Christians whose explorations of this theme (with different conclusions) Wilson does not refer to in his text.
Even readers who might support the tenets of his antitheology philosophy may balk at Wilson’s views on the role of women in his war against religion. He both urges women to assume their natural role as spiritual beings and decries them as “spiritually retarded” because they haven’t yet done what he considers essential: exposing their genitalia and even practicing prostitution. The weapons in his envisioned war to defeat religion are “sex, pornography and the naked body of a woman!”
Adulating the female pudendum as a spiritual portal, Wilson celebrates what he calls “dirty talk” and freely uses pornographic “street” terminology to make his points. His observations about women have a personal, almost predatory, feel. Thus, though his writing is structurally acceptable with few grammatical or syntactical errors, the street lexicon he uses to express his thoughts about women is jarringly at odds with the more scholarly tone he employs when he explores issues of deity and hell.
The cover shows a sexual symbol within a circle (reminiscent of a Buddhist mandala) displayed in white on a black background; the back cover offers an adequate summation of the book’s central ideas. The book is organized into thirteen chapters that follow no obvious progression. The few images in the book are not illustrative of Wilson’s text; a photo of an empty stadium, for example, is accompanied by a mysterious caption that begins, “Here in the peace of the stadium no one is training…”); another image shows the cover of a magazine in which Wilson’s martial arts technique, Fytedance, has “been featured in past issues,” though not in the one displayed. There is a rudimentary index.
Wilson’s condemnation of religions that teach the doctrine of eternal punishment offers cogent, if unoriginal, debating points. However, his other major focus—the destruction of religion through the blatant display of women’s genitalia—so weakens the fabric of the total work that it consigns this book to the backwater of distasteful and unsupported opinion.
Barbara Bamberger Scott
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.