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As a bishop, the 33-day Pope John Paul I had ordered his priests to melt down their golden chalices and other implements of idol worship to build an orphanage. As a Pope, he lifted a chalice to worldwide television cameras: “This chalice contains one hundred and twenty of the world’s most pristine diamonds. Do you really think this is what Christ meant by His Church?” The little boy Albino Luciani had grown up in a tug-of-war. His mother, a devout Catholic, prayed before crucifixes made of bits of wood. She told him, the only path to heaven was on his knees mumbling vain repetitions and asking for selfish favors. His father, an atheist, burned his mother’s crucifixes in the stove. He told him, the only path to heaven was on his feet helping others. Under his father’s guidance, he grew up free of prejudices peddled by religion. He reasoned atheists have a better chance of heaven than do the faithful. He wondered how faith had come about to begin with. When his father placed him in a seminary with the commission to bring change to the Church, he traced the evolution of Christianity from the Neanderthal to the Eucharist. His investigation culminated in his doctoral thesis dissertation: “If we are ever to determine what happens to us after we are gone—we must first determine the truth of the God we are born into. Then, we must define the human soul. Precisely what is this thing we are trying to save? These things we will do now...” Here in Confessions of a Murdered Pope, the reincarnated Albino Luciani—in the voice of a precocious ten year old boy—in a wealth of entertaining chats with his bewildered father, traces the evolution of Christianity from the Neanderthals, to the Grecians, to the Egyptians, to the Hebrews, to those who wrote of Jesus. He finds that religion evolves just like any other social practice, each prophet building on the creativity of those who came before him...

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