Richard Abanes is a nationally known author/journalist specializing in the area of cults, the occult, new religions, world religions, fringe religious movements, and pop culture religion. He is also a highly regarded lecturer on religious social issues, especially in how they relate to pop culture.
Since 1994, Abanes has written or co-written 15 books, including The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code, Becoming Gods: a Closer Look at 21st Century Mormonism (Harvest House); One Nation Under God: A History of the Mormon Church, End-Time Visions: The Doomsday Obsession (Four Walls Eight Windows); Cults, Religious Movements, and Your Family (Crossway); Defending the Faith: A Beginner’s Guide to Cults and New Religions, Journey Into the Light: Exploring Near Death Experiences (Baker Books); and American Militias: Rebellion, Racism, and Religion (InterVarsity Press).
In his book Harry Potter, Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings, Abanes uses the most up-to-date documentation to determine whether the Potter books are harmful or healthy. He then digs into deeper issues surrounding the books, evaluating the value of fantasy in general, comparing so-called similar works of fiction by classic Christian writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, discussing the influence of Hollywood on youth, revealing marketing techniques designed to draw kids into the latest craze, and examining claims that Harry Potter is really a Christian series.
In a second release this season, Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him, Abanes responds to serious criticisms of Warren and his Purpose Driven principles. As an apologist and insider who has attended Warren’s church since 1995, Abanes examines the methods Warren uses to help countless people find Christ and turn to God as the only source of truth. Although millions have begun to live righteous, fulfilling, productive, and meaningful lives, some well-known Christians have charged Warren with “heresy.” Others simply call him a dispenser of “poison.” Abanes addresses accusations that Warren is a New Ager and that his Saddleback Church is a “cult.”
In addition to books, Abanes has written articles that have been published in magazines and journals, including CBA Marketplace, Christian Retailing, Christianity Today,, Christian Research Journal, and Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He has also spoken at events hosted by The Simon Wiesenthal Center, Skeptic’s Society at Cal-Tech University, The Mensa Society, and at many other churches and religious gatherings.
A recognized authority on cults and religions, Abanes has been interviewed on hundreds of national radio and television programs, including MSNBC, CNN, BBC Network, Fox TV, EXTRA!, Hardcopy, The 700 Club, and Focus on the Family. He has also been quoted in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Constitution Journal, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sojourners Magazine, and Nation Magazine.
Abanes is an accomplished singer/songwriter who has performed on Broadway in the hit musicals “A Chorus Line” and “Dreamgirls.” He has danced in Nashville-based TV specials, appeared in national TV commercials, and acted a co-starring role in the movie “Rappin’.” His inspirational CDs “Hold On,” “Everlasting Love,” and “Jesus Loves You” also released to favorable reviews.