Contributing Editor of the American Rationalist
William Harwood, Ph. D., M.Litt. (Cambridge), is the author of Mythology's Last Gods; The Beloved Disciple and The House of Hippo; A Vision of Murder and Hypnaughty Boy; The Mycenaean Chronicle; and Uncle Yeshu, Messiah; co-author of Hypnotism Then and Now; and editor/translator of The Judaeo-Christian Bible Fully Translated, volumes 1 and 7. He is a member of the editorial board of Free Inquiry, and a contributing editor of American Rationalist. He has written over one hundred articles for F.I., A.R., The Humanist, Humanist in Canada, and a dozen other periodicals in seven countries.
On completing a Ph. D. in Religious Studies, he applied for several advertised lectureships in universities in Canada and elsewhere, in the naïve belief that the author of a book disproving religion had any more hope of being hired by religion professors whose economic security depended on their maintaining the pretence that religion cannot be disproven, than Ralph Nader would have had of becoming publicity director of Volkswagen after writing Unsafe at Any Speed.After giving up the uneven struggle, he settled for teaching high school, before the reality became inescapable that North American schools are babysitting institutions in which any teacher who attempted to teach anything would be purged before he could raise the question, „How come nobody else is doing that?"
Dr Harwood was born in Australia, among people who lived in constant terror that some day, somewhere, someone might actually do something. He stayed there just long enough to recognize that there is something terribly wrong with a country that rejects moderate, pragmatic, middle-of-the-road politics, and instead alternates between governments of the far right and the far left. Later, as a research student at Cambridge University, he discovered that England has a similar deficiency.
Before settling in Canada, Dr Harwood toured Australia, New Guinea, Fiji, Bermuda and the USA as advertising manager for three hypnotic stage shows, including one that became a household name in Canada. Between shows, he obtained graduate degrees from universities in Canada, England and the USA, and spent eight years as a teacher. He joined Mensa for intelligent conversation, and left when he failed to find any. His most satisfying bread-and-butter job was general factotum at a now defunct private gambling establishment in Calgary. He is currently a resident of what is politely called Canada's Bible Belt, but is more accurately described as the redneck anus of the universe, where a theofascist majority believe that a referendum can give them the right to deprive minorities of basic human rights, strip women of sovereignty over their own bodies, and restore such barbarisms as capital punishment and probably heretic burning.
He started life as a Protestant (Methodist father, Anglican mother), and turned Catholic when he discovered that Protestantism is repudiated by its own Bible. He remained Catholic until he took his first ancient history course at the University of Calgary, and learned that fifty other virgin-born savior gods had risen from the dead on the third day centuries and even millennia before Jesus. (His desperate search for rebuttal evidence initially led him to discover that all claims of a god revealing its existence have been traced to the same authors who also assured their readers that the earth is flat, and eventually gave him the material to write Mythology's Last Gods.)
But recognizing the falseness of religion at an intellectual level was not immediately sufficient. More than three years later, on a Sunday morning at Cambridge, England, he ate breakfast, got dressed, and opened the front door to go to mass, when it suddenly hit him: „If I participate in this 5000-year-old Egyptian god-eating ritual even once more, I will throw up." At that point he was cured — totally, permanently, irreversibly.
He has a low tolerance for self-inflicted brain death. The acquaintance whose reaction to his book disproving religion was a fatuous demand that he "pray," is now someone he used to know. The same is true of the person who lured him to what he was assured would be a purely secular memorial, but which turned out be fanatic triple-god worship, conducted by a megalomaniac tinpot Hitler priest, that even a Unitarian would have recognized as an abominable and detestable crime against sanity. He is, as Isaac Asimov used to say, in his late youth and is between marriages (isn't everybody?).
Dr Harwood's first book, Mythology's Last Gods, based on his doctoral dissertation, was published in 1992, and his first four novels and bible translation in 2001. His most recent book is The Disinformation Cycle, which does to the paranormal what Mythology's Last Gods did to religion.
He considers North America the most near-perfect society on earth and, despite the coup d'etat that made a puppet of the Religious Right President even though the American people rejected him by almost a million votes, and despite the election of a hate cult led by a would-be Khomeini as Canada's Official Opposition, he would not wish to live anywhere else.
Published in the 2002 January/February issue of the American Rationalist ©.
(Last change: 03-06-2003)