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Reflections of a Catholic Altar Boy-bookcover

By: J. A. Cronin

Reflections of a Catholic Altar Boy

Pages: 316 Ratings: 4.9
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The Bible Delusion?


This book takes each of the 66 Bible texts and examines them carefully as a juror would pore over evidence in a trial. The fiction and mythology these ancient scribes penned form the basis of numerous belief systems. Do they hold up to close scrutiny? For too long, the secrets of the Bible have been mostly inaccessible due to the size of the collection of texts but also because of the tedious writing in so many instances. The Bible was designed to be difficult to read. The holy men in black never wanted it read too carefully. It has much to hide.


RAPE – INCEST – TORTURE – DECEPTION – GREED GENOCIDE – BETRAYAL – REVENGE – MURDER
…and that’s only for starters


Is there a God? Is there an afterlife?


The numerous shocks and surprises the author found will challenge what has been taught for many centuries and continues to be preached in churches still. The various belief systems that have their origin in this book will be tested.


Maybe you always wanted to read the Bible but could never find the time or the patience?
This book can make that task easy.


“The truth will set you free.”
(John 8:32)

The author was born in Cork, Ireland, educated at the Christian Brothers, Limerick, and University College Cork, where he graduated with a B.A. H.D.E. In 1971. He has spent 43 years teaching, mostly English, in public schools in New South Wales, Australia. He is happily married with four adult children and two grandchildren.

Customer Reviews
4.9
21 reviews
21 reviews
  • Ian Ridgway

    “I was totally enthralled with the methodical and logical de-bunking of (the Bible) chapter after chapter.
    Sadly, the generational indoctrination of people of ALL religions has – as you have stated – caused so much death, destruction, pain and alienation over thousands of years.
    I can now understand why my own early religious instruction glossed over the absolute hypocrisy of the Old Testament and ‘cherry-picked’ verses and chapters that propped up the shaky and improbable fairy tales that we were led to believe were true.
    No doubt like you, and hundreds of millions of other impressionable young children, I was sent to Sunday School for several years but soon discovered my teachers didn’t have the answers to the simplest of questions.
    My Sunday School teachers had no explanation for these stories, but relied on ‘faith’ being the only reason to believe – and I must not believe otherwise or I would burn in the fires of Hell for eternity.
    I also enjoyed your own humorous comments sprinkled throughout and agree with every word of your ‘Postscript’ chapter.”
    Mr. Ian Ridgway - author of the Red Cedar - Red Gold trilogy

  • Limerick Leader Ireland - Cathal Doherty

    A review by Cathal Doherty in Limerick Leader Live
    Email: cathal.doherty@limerickleader.ie 07 Oct 2022 2.30 PM
    A NEW BOOK written by an Irish man previously based in Limerick looks at the big question: is God real or man made?
    Joseph ‘Tony’ Cronin who spent time growing up in Caherconlish but now living in New South Wales, Australia decided to write the book to try and make more sense of the Catholic religion he was exposed to all his life.
    “It started off as an autobiography and then I changed away from that and got to looking at the Bible in extreme detail,” Mr Cronin said.
    The book titled Reflections of a Catholic Altar Boy was released on September 30.
    “I went looking for answers in the Bible to try and convince myself, one way or another, if a god existed,” Mr Cronin added.
    “I tried to make the book light hearted and humorous to keep it readable and I was blown away by the things I found that our Catholic teachers growing up never told us about,” he said.
    Each chapter of Mr Cronin’s book summarises the 66 texts from the King James version of the Bible and at the end reflects upon the teachings.
    “You don’t have to read the book chronologically, you can open the book at any chapter and begin reading,” Mr Cronin said.
    Mr Cronin believes that his big finding from the Old Testament is that heaven and hell and a life after death does not exist.
    “That was one of the big shocks I found, they only appear in the New Testament,” Mr Cronin said.
    “I went over each Bible text carefully like a juror would in court,” Mr Cronin continued.
    “My finding after studying each of the texts in the end is that the god that exists in the Bible is man-made. It is a creation of the writers and it becomes so obvious as you read through it that they’re making this up,” Mr Cronin deliberated.

  • Pat Lordan

    The title of this newly published book caught my attention having been an altar boy myself for a number of years in my youth. To say I was shocked by what I read is an understatement. I certainly wasn’t expecting the enormity of what the author reveals in such an understandable and believable presentation.
    I liked the author’s analogy of examining the Bible like a jury would in a trial making decisions based entirely and solely on the evidence presented. The author has done that very competently and I for one have no doubt now that what is revealed and exposed and the conclusions reached in this book are based solely on the evidence found in this so-called holy book.
    One of my first reactions having read the book was that the Pope and the Catholic hierarchy should be sent copies. I wonder if they ever thought of carrying out such an analysis of the Bible content or, if in fact they had ever read the Bible from cover to cover in the first place. I think I know the answer. Surely they would have come to the same conclusions as this writer if they had.
    Like the author, I was brought up in Ireland in a staunchly Catholic family that obeyed the Catholic teachings as dictated to us by the clergy and our school teachers. We never actually read the Bible nor were we encouraged to do so during all the years of our catholic upbringing. But that now seems understandable because if we did read it in any detail we too would have come to similar conclusions as this book does.
    I have now started encouraging my friends (mainly disengaged Catholics) to read this book and would encourage others to do so as well - to set the record straight once and for all.
    Congratulations J.A. Cronin. I am extremely grateful for your efforts and for finally putting my mind at ease. Well done.

  • Dan Danaher - Clare Champion Newspaper, Ireland

    This book is a personal journey of discovery, an attempt to come to terms with all the lies that the clergy have taught for centuries,” he says. “They are still pedalling the same old lies and exaggerations today. They stand to lose too much by acknowledging the truth. The powerful religious lobby world-wide keeps its influence and wealth by perpetuating these lies. It’s time for clarification, it’s time to challenge the existing orthodoxy and time for some facts about what exactly the Bible contains. The only credible way to do that is to examine every text carefully, all 66 of them and reveal the findings.
    “I have done this for my own enlightenment and for my family and friends. I want to share with them what I found so they can make more informed choices about what they believe in. I contend that very few people in religious callings have read the Bible carefully, if at all. Anyone who does so will see the unsustainability of what is in it. All the evidence is there for everyone to see it. I am now a happy, informed and well-adjusted atheist as a result of examining the Bible carefully,” he said.
    “If we are to understand what motivates radical, Islamic terrorists and hope to stamp out evil in the world, then we must put our own house in order first. The belief that the Angel Gabriel dictated the Koran to Mohammed dissolves when you accept that angels are non-existent mythical creatures. Neither did an angel impregnate the Virgin Mary nor do any of the deeds they are given credit for in Biblical texts. This book was not written to offend but rather to encourage intelligent thought and discussion. It may contribute to the debate about religion generally and the origin of things, whether there is some creative force in the universe or not. But it does challenge the authenticity of the God being presented in the Bible,” he explains.

  • Paul

    A perfect read for people interested in religious issues but who cannot find the time to read the multitude of books in the bible and surmount their archaic language - the author has done the deep dive for you! What makes this book especially appealing is that Cronin has done this deep dive with a light touch. Plenty of humour is mixed in with the analysis so the book is entertaining, along with being informative. The book will be illuminating for those who approach the bible from a fundamentalist view. Presented in an easily digestible format, the book should be required reading for anybody who treats the book as the literal word of God. Thought-provoking and scholarly on one level, this is also a fun read with the author inserting colourful memories of his Irish upbringing to enliven what might be dry reading in the hands of another writer. Definitely recommended reading it!

  • K Thomas

    This is a great read. For anyone who wouldn’t have the time to read through so much literature on religion, this is a book where the author has done all that for you and left you as the reader to come to your own conclusions.

    Very well done and humorous too!

  • Roger MacGibbon

    I found J Cronin’s “Reflections of a Catholic Altar Boy” a methodical, detailed, and from my point of view objective analysis of what the bible, in reality, tells us. He has structured his investigation in such a way that makes it easily accessible for the general public to understand and appreciate what he has done, an avenue for those not well-versed in biblical teachings to explore. The approach of summarising each book of the Old and New Testaments in detail, but then providing a concise bold text overview of the more relevant/interesting elements is clever, and his conversational style, combined with amusing, ironic, and wry observations adds an enjoyable element to the discussion.
    His account of personal experiences, and what it means for him going forward, provides authenticity and emotional gravitas to the text with which I empathize. The idea of seeing himself as a juror and putting the bible “on trial” is inspired and helps the reader feels that there is no agenda here and that this book is a genuine attempt to really understand the text upon which so many have based their spiritual beliefs. Alas, for many of those believers, this book may prove a pivotal turning point, or at least provoke some in-depth reflections of their own.
    A thought-provoking, stimulating, and at times entertaining read. Highly recommended!

  • Gary

    I should state at the outset that I believe there is no greater cure for Catholicism than a Catholic education. While I have encountered some decent and honorable members of the clergy, they have been far overshadowed by the disappointing, the unpleasant, and the completely shameful.
    J. Tony Cronin’s book Reflections of a Catholic Altar Boy is focused as much on answering the author’s questions as it is on the readers. His book-by-book analysis of the Bible allows one to agree or disagree with his conclusions because the tone is instructive and about enlightenment, rather than dogmatic. One gets the feeling that the author rejoices in you having an opinion, irrespective of whether it is the same as his. He simply wants you to be thinking.
    The author points out that ideas such as Heaven and Satan appear as rather late additions to the Bible. Not to mention the dramatic personality change in God from the Old to the New Testament. The book highlights the difficulty in relating the teachings of Jesus to the harsh brutality of God in the Old Testament – there are certainly contradictions. It is a wonderful irony that the author has clearly spent considerable time studying and researching the Bible, the result of which is a confirmation of his atheism.
    This book is a must-read for anyone who went through the Catholic education systems throughout the world, but many others will find it raises questions and issues worthy of contemplation. A job well done, Mr. Cronin. Highly recommended!

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