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Religious Tolerance logo

New/updated essays in recent months.
Why this web site is different.
Planned future essays.
Why so many essays on sexual topics?

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The following topics are discussed in this section:

2018-January's book selection

book cover"The End of White Christian America," by Robert P. Jones

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.

Available for U.S. $14.99 in Kindle format, or $18.16 plus postage in hardcover formats.

A New York Times Book Review:

"Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), challenges us to grasp the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA)—the cultural and political edifice built primarily by white Protestant Christians—set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white Christian nation.

Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues—the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system—can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them. ..."

Average rating by 63 Amazon customers' reviews: 4.1 out of 5 stars.

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The web site had 3 newly created, re-written, or updated essays so far during 2018-JAN, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below

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2017-December's book selection:

book cover "Testimony: The Transformative Power of Unitarian Universalism," edited by Meg Riley

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$7.92 in Kindle format, or $14.00 plus postage in hardcover.

Amazon.com book review:

  • Amazon.com book review:
    "A dynamic collection of personal stories from people whose lives have been dramatically changed by Unitarian Universalism. Some have returned from the brink of despair, others have found renewed purpose and discovered the saving power of community. Together these vignettes paint a portrait of the real, felt impact of Unitarian Universalism. Readers can find a new appreciation for the ways Unitarian Universalism makes a tangible difference in the lives of real people who are struggling.

  • Full disclosure:

Bruce Robinson, the founder and main author of this web site, wrote one of the 43 personal stories in this book. It is called "A Perfect Match." I recommend that you buy a big box of tissues with this book. Many of the other 42 stories in the book are quite moving.

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The web site had 19 newly created, re-written, or updated essays so far during 2017-DEC, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below

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2017-November's book selection:

book cover"Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People," by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.

Available for U.S. $
17.80 plus postage in Paperback, $13.99 in Kindle format, or $22.99 in hardcover formats.

A sampling of Amazon.com book reviews:

  • “Unflinchingly honest (and funny)…You don't have to be religious to get something out of this book.”
    -NPR’s “Best Books of 2015”

  • "[Bolz-Weber] is one of the most important Christian voices around -- not because she has come up with some catchy, easy new way to do faith, but because when talks about the destructive power of sin, as well as redemption and grace, she knows of what she speaks."
    -Huffington Post

  • "Wickedly funny and painfully vulnerable, theologically nuanced and lyrically sonorous. [Her] voice communicates the scandal of the Christ and the sacraments of his church with more force and vitality than most writers can hope to summon."
    -The Christian Century

  • “Engaging and accessible…Bolz-Weber is clear-eyed about the personal travails faced by the marginalized and those without faith.”
    –Booklist

  • "If Saint Augustine were to return to life and live among us now, he would be Bolz-Weber; and if his Confessions were to be written in 21st century rhetoric and style, they would be this book. Accidental Saints is what every Christian yearns to know is possible." 
    -Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours and The Great Emergence

About the Author:

Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She is the au­thor of the New York Times best-selling memoir Pastrix. Nadia has been featured on CNN and in the Washington Post, Bitch Magazine, NPR’s Morning Edition, More Magazine, and the Daily Beast.

Average rating in reviews by 259 Amazon customers: 4.6 out of 5 stars. The book was on the New York Times list of bestsellers in 2015.

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The web site had 24 newly created, re-written, or updated essays so far during 2017-NOV, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below

Note about terminology relating to gender identity:

The term "transgenderism" was once widely used to refer to transgender persons. It is still often used by religious conservatives and others in articles opposed to persons being transgender. However, among the LGBT, liberal religious, and scientific communities, it has largely been replaced by "being transgender," or a similar phrase. During 2017-NOV, this web site tracked down all of its 104 references to "transgenderism" and modified them.

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2017-October's book selection:

book cover

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (Berlin Family Lectures) by Amitav Gosh

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
18.24 plus postage in Paperback, $11.50 in Kindle format, or $24.17 in hardcover.

Amazon.com book review:

"Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.

The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; Ghosh shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements.

Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence—a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time."

Average rating of this book in reviews by Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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The web site had 23 newly created, re-written, or updated essays so far during 2017-OCT, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below.

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2017-September's book selection:

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Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination 1st Edition by Ryan T. Anderson, John Corvino, and Sherif Girgis.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$9.99 in Kindle format or $21.95 plus postage in Paperback.

Amazon's book review:

"Virtually everyone supports religious liberty, and virtually everyone opposes discrimination. But how do we handle the hard questions that arise when exercises of religious liberty seem to discriminate unjustly? How do we promote the common good while respecting conscience in a diverse society?

This point-counterpoint book brings together leading voices in the culture wars to debate such questions: John Corvino, a longtime LGBT-rights advocate, opposite Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis, prominent young social conservatives.

Many such questions have arisen in response to same-sex marriage: How should we treat county clerks who do not wish to authorize such marriages, for example; or bakers, florists, and photographers who do not wish to provide same-sex wedding services? But the conflicts extend well beyond the LGBT rights arena. How should we treat hospitals, schools, and adoption agencies that can't in conscience follow antidiscrimination laws, healthcare mandates, and other regulations? Should corporations ever get exemptions? Should public officials?..."

" In point-counterpoint format, Corvino, Anderson and Girgis explore these questions and more. Although their differences run deep, they tackle them with civility, clarity, and flair. Their debate is an essential contribution to contemporary discussions about why religious liberty matters and what respecting it requires."

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The web site had 18 newly created or re-written essays so far during 2017-SEP, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below.

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2017-August's book selection

  • book cover
  • "The Beauty and Nobility of Life: The Restoration of Meaning in a World Overwhelmed by Commercialism, Scientism, and Fundamentalism," by Andrew Cort
  • Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
    $9.99 in Kindle format, or $23.14 plus postage in hardcover.
  • Amazon book review:
  • "The Beauty and Nobility of Live" has several related themes. On the one hand, it critiques many aspects of contemporary life that attempt to extinguish that radiant "Gleam of Light" we all possess and turn us into powerless servants of the status quo: mindless conformity, excessive consumerism, disrespect for ourselves and others, disrespect for Nature, and narrow-minded, fall-in-line thinking. In response to this, the book focuses on the Sanctity of the Individual, the Magnificence of Life, Unity with each other and with Nature, and the Oneness of Creation. In a time of so much anger, divisiveness and hate, it emphasizes Love, Compassion, Creativity, Learning to Think for Oneself, Standing up to Power, and Intuiting Higher Levels of Life beyond what can be seen, heard, or touched, in order to Transcend our Limitations, and discover our true place in this Marvelous Universe.
  • This book won the 2017 Nautilus Book Awards' 1st Place Gold Award in the category ‘USA Spiritual Growth & Development”. It includes a chapter entitled "Beyond Religious Tolerance.
  • The web site had 1 newly created or re-written essays so far during 2017-SEP, including the above book review.
    In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day which are not recorded below.
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  • The web site had 9 newly created or re-written essays so far during 2017-AUG, including the above book review.
    In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day which are not recorded here:
  • New: 2017-JUN: In Colorado: Baker refuses to bake a cake for a family celebration. (The case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court and may result in a fundamental change to the scope of religions freedom in the U.S.)
  • New: "What does a public opinion poll's 'Margin of Error' mean?
  • Updated essay: Hoaxes: Stories of events that never happened as expected and probably never will happen.
  • Updated essay: Did Slavery cause the U.S. Civil War?
  • Updated essay: Flags related to the Civil War. The modern U.S. "Confederate Flag:"
  • Updated essay: Predictions that "the end of the world" will come sometime between 2017 and the 2020's
  • Rewrote our home page.
  • New: More About This Web site
  • New: 2017-JUL/AUG: Impact on Trump's Ban of Transgender Military Service members
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  • 2017-July's book selection:

  • book cover
  • "The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer," by Karmak Bagisbayev

  • Read reviews or order this book from Amazon.com online book store
    $3.71 in Kindle format, and $9.96 in Paperback
  • Amazon.com book review:
  • "What is the unique and most important feature that distinguishes man from all other living beings?

    Why is it that, contrary to the instinct of self-preservation, a parent will throw themselves headlong into fire or water to save their child?
  • Why do people get married, and why do they get divorced? Why do people have extra-marital affairs, and why do two people in a couple become jealous of one another?

    What is Love?
  • Is it possible to give a clear and straightforward answer to all these questions?
  • It is in fact possible!

    “The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer” provides a clear and scientifically elegant answer to all the questions listed above. The answer which will cause the reader to reconsider many established moral principles and notions about the world around us. The answer which will help the reader to understand the nature of human actions, dilemmas, dramas and passions, in their true light. The answer which will elucidate the current stage in the development of human civilisation and offer unexpected predictions for its future. ..."
  • The author's autobiography and blog are at www.thelastfaith.com
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  • 2017-January's book selection:

  • book cover"Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance," by Janet Jakobsen & Ann Pellegrini

    Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.

    $18.90 plus postage in Paperback, $16.69 in Kindle format, or $89.00 plus postage in hardcover.
  • A sampling of Amazon.com book reviews:
  • A brilliant book, one that can move public conversations about sexual, racial, and religious difference beyond present assumptions and impasses. Love the Sin suggests that religion can become the ground for sexual freedom rather than the justification for sexual repression.”
    -Margaret R. Miles,author of Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies
  • As ambitious, feisty, and exciting as any new passion, Love the Sin takes its readers on a compelling ride across the volatile landscape of religion and sex in American public life. The authors not only provoke and stimulate, guide and elucidate, but they redefine freedom and democracy as values for our sex lives as well as our sexual politics.”
    -Lisa Duggan,coauthor of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture
  • Jakobsen and Pellegrini argue convincingly that movements for ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual justice would be well served by using the paradigm of religious freedom instead of biological determinism to make the case for social change. Love the Sin is required reading for all the sinners to whom the title euphemistically refers, and for everyone who dreams of a more just society.”
    -Rabbi Rebecca Alpert,author of Like Bread on the Seder Plate
  • “Jakobsen and Pellegrini do a nice job of showing how the love-the-sinner/hate-the- sin tradition falls dramatically short of the higher aspiration to tolerance.”
    -Stephen Pomper,Washington Monthly
  • “Gives us vital language to escape both the trap of toleration and the seduction of assimilation. Not afraid to challenge the certainties of the secular left on religion, nor willing to settle for a narrow version of gay and lesbian rights, Love the Sin presents a new vision of American sexual and religious freedom.”
    -Laura Levitt,Director of Jewish Studies, Temple University
  • Average rating in reviews by 3 Amazon customers: 4.6 out of 5 stars.
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  • The web site had 39 newly created or updated essays during 2017-JAN, including the above book review.

    New essays are marked "N"; updated essays are marked "U":
  • JAN-01: N: An essay donated by James A. Haught: The long, slow death of religion, as the Secular Age is snowballing
  • JAN-02: N: Witchcraft & sorcery in Saudi Arabia
  • JAN-03: N: Part 15: 2016-NOV & DEC: Status of "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) students and adults in the U.S. etc.
  • JAN-04: N: A brief essay comparing beliefs about homosexuality & its cause(s) among religious conservatives, religious liberals, researchers, & others
  • JAN-05: N: A brief, less than two minute, explanation of homosexuality: what it is and how it is caused
  • JAN-06: U: Gay marriages (aka. same-sex marriages [SSM]). Part 1  Part 2
  • JAN-06: U: More negative comments on the National Geographic Magazine's issue on gender identity. Part 5
  • JAN-06: N: 2016: Last U.S. locations where marriage licenses are still unavailable to same-sex couples
  • JAN-07: N: 2017: Texas "bathroom bill SB 6"
  • JAN-08: U: Embryo and stem cell research
  • JAN-08: U: The properties and potential of adult and embryonic stem cells
  • JAN-08: N: 2017: Web site errors found and corrected
  • JAN-08: U: Main menu: Transgender and transsexual persons
  • JAN-08: N: Transgender-transsexual terminology
  • JAN-09: N: Why Trump won the election & Clinton lost
  • JAN-18: N: Why some people are transgender? Current beliefs:
    • Part 1: Working toward a future consensus. Major articles on gender identity and transition in the popular print media: in Scientific American and National Geographic magazines.
    • Part 2: Conservative & liberal beliefs. Medical findings: A special case: Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS)
    • Part 3: Medical findings, based on imaging studies or autopsies of brains
    • Part 4: Beliefs expressed by conservative religious sources
    • Part 5: More beliefs among conservatives
    • Part 6: Beliefs expressed by ten Roman Catholic cardinals & bishops
    • Part 7: Beliefs of another Catholic bishop & patriarch. Beliefs by additional conservative Protestant groups
    • Part 8: Beliefs of some mainline and liberal religious groups
  • JAN-18: U: Links to other web sites about religions, ethics, spirituality, addiction, education, employment, web site construction, etc.