Recommended religious and spiritual books
Tentatively scheduled books
for the upcoming months
We feel that these books should be of interest to everyone:
Those who follow a conservative Christian belief system should find the books helpful when proselytizing. It is important to know what Christians from other faith traditions, religious liberals, and secularists believe and why they believe it.
Agnostics, Atheists, and other secularists should find the books helpful because they may increase their understanding of their own beliefs, and those of various organized religious traditions.
Everyone may benefit from these books because they combat with reason the high levels of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, hatred and mistrust of Atheists, religious intolerance, etc. in the North American culture and the rest of the world.
Neil J. Kressel, "The Sons of Pigs and Apes: Muslim Antisemitism and the conspiracy of Silence"
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $18.67 plus postage in paperback & $16.17 in Kindle format
Some editorial reviews:
- "A lucid, compelling, and much-needed account of how the crucial issue of antisemitism in the Muslim world is currently being minimized, downplayed, obfuscated, and in many cases completely ignored in much of the Western world. This book should be required reading for decision makers, opinion molders, and not least ‘experts’ in academia, who have been particularly complicit in this policy of silence."—Robert S. Wistrich, director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and author of A Lethal Obsession and From Ambivalence to Betrayal
- “All religions and cultures suffer from sources that preach hate against the ‘other.’ Throughout history some have, tragically, practiced what their sources preached, while some have sought to dismiss or even counteract the hateful words of their sources. In this book, Neil Kressel shows how extremists within Islam, many in leadership roles, have exploited some of their hateful sources to preach and practice a virulent form of antisemitism. Read this book and judge for yourself.”—Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion
- “While parts of this book make me uncomfortable, I must admit that it represents, rather sadly, what many of my coreligionists think.”—Khaleel Mohammed, Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies, San Diego State University
- “Kressel handles one of the hottest topics in the world carefully, calmly, and coolly. He explains the dangers of Muslim antisemitism while destroying the many excuses for it that are so often offered—and shaming those in the Muslim world or in the West who downplay these modern forms of the oldest, and one of the bloodiest, hatreds in world history.”—Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Reza Aslan, "Zealot: The life and times of Jesus of Nazareth"
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $16.20 plus postage in paperback & $16.81 in Kindle format
Amazon.com book description:
"... Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry—a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious “King of the Jews” whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion."
Timothy D. Sisk, "Between Terror and Tolerance: Religious Leaders, Conflict, and Peacemaking"
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $29.66 plus postage in paperback & $18.52 in Kindle format
Amazon.com book description:
"Civil war and conflict within countries is the most prevalent threat to peace and security in the opening decades of the twenty-first century. A pivotal factor in the escalation of tensions to open conflict is the role of elites in exacerbating tensions along identity lines by giving the ideological justification, moral reasoning, and call to violence. Between Terror and Tolerance examines the varied roles of religious leaders in societies deeply divided by ethnic, racial, or religious conflict. The chapters in this book explore cases when religious leaders have justified or catalyzed violence along identity lines, and other instances when religious elites have played a critical role in easing tensions or even laying the foundation for peace and reconciliation.
This volume features thematic chapters on the linkages between religion, nationalism, and intolerance, transnational intra-faith conflict in the Shi'a-Sunni divide, and country case studies of societal divisions or conflicts in Egypt, Israel and Palestine, Kashmir, Lebanon, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Tajikistan. The concluding chapter explores the findings and their implications for policies and programs of international non-governmental organizations that seek to encourage and enhance the capacity of religious leaders to play a constructive role in conflict resolution."
Originally written: 2008-MAR-16
Latest update and review: 2013-OCT-15
Author: B.A. Robinson