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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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new symbolThe following essays were created or updated during the past 12 months:

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Why this web site is different.

Essays planned for the near future.

Why does this web site have so many essays on sexual & gender minorities?

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Sponsored link:

 

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2019-January's book selection:

book cover"The History of the Devil: With 350 Illustrations" By Paul Carus.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $9.71 in Kindle format, or U.S. $16.95 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

"A pioneer in the promotion of interfaith dialogue, Paul Carus (1852–1919) was a highly regarded writer on philosophy and comparative religion and a major influence in introducing Buddhist and other Eastern ideas to the West. The History of the Devil is his magnum opus, exploring the evolution of the idea of evil and the concept of Satan from antiquity to modern times.

Carus follows the devil around the world, highlighting satanic manifestations in a fascinating variety of cultures and historic periods. In addition to examining the concepts of good and evil as religious and philosophical ideas, he discusses the particulars of demonology in ancient Egypt and Persia, in Hindu and Buddhist thought, in early Christianity, and throughout the Inquisition and Reformation. At once scholarly and intriguing, the text is enhanced by 350 rare and fascinating illustrations."

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New and updated essays:

This web site had 27 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays so far during 2019-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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2018-December's selection:

book cover"Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior" By Bart D. Ehrman

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $6.34 in Kindle format, or U.S. $11.48 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

Throughout much of human history, our most important stories were passed down orally including the stories about Jesus before they became written down in the Gospels. In this fascinating and deeply researched work, leading Bible scholar Bart D. Erhman investigates the role oral history has played in the New Testament and how the telling of these stories not only spread Jesus' message but helped shape it.

A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman draws on a range of disciplines, including psychology and anthropology, to examine the role of memory in the creation of the Gospels. Explaining how oral tradition evolves based on the latest scientific research, he demonstrates how the act of telling and retelling impacts the story, the storyteller, and the listener -- crucial insights that challenge our typical historical understanding of the silent period between when Jesus lived and died and when his stories began to be written down.

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New and updated essays:

This web site had 50 newly created, re-written, or updated essays so far during 2018-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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2018-November's selection

book cover"The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day" by Paul Carus

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $0.76 in Kindle format, or U.S. $9.99 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

"From ancient Egyptian religions to Judaism, Hinduism to Buddhism, Christianity to Islam, as well as many more, Carus analyses each religion in turn to expose their views of the devil and where those views came from.

He takes the reader from five thousand years ago through to near the present day to give a wide overview of changing views on good and evil and how different civilisations created varying ideas of the devil.

In the last five hundred years of history the devil has appeared to be marginalised as only a literary figure rather than a genuine fear, but Carus demonstrates how throughout the Reformation, the Inquisition and even the nineteenth century, fear of the devil was extremely real.

Paul Carus provides an extremely thorough survey of various ideas about the devil along with what is good and what is evil.

Carus was a pioneering author and thinker of the early twentieth century. He became the first managing editor of the Open Court Publishing Company which aimed to provide a forum for the discussion of philosophy, science, and religion, and to make philosophical classics widely available by making them affordable. As an author he published 75 books and 1500 articles. He died in Februrary 1919."

New and updated essays:

This web site had 40 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-NOV, 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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2018-October's selection

book cover"The Practical Stoicism: Your Step-By-Step Guide to an Ancient Yet Effective Philosophy to live a life of wisdom, perseverance and Joy" by Nicholas Mayor

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $0.98 in Kindle format, or U.S. $9.99 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

"... the ancient yet effective philosophy of stoicism is the way to live the modern life.

You wouldn't be the first person to explore this unique way of living, our history's greatest minds from George Washington to Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson, along with today's top performers including sport coaches to CEOs and celebrities have already embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics.

This web site had 63 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-OCT, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below:

New and updated essays:

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2018-September's selection

book cover "So You Thought You Knew: Letting Go of Religion" by Joshua Tongol.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $5.06 in Kindle format, or U.S. $14.99 plus postage in paperback.

Webmaster's comment:

A phenomenal book. It has received more than 100 five-star reviews (the highest rating) from Amazon customers. The most engaging book I have read in years. I decided to re-schedule the book originally selected for this month to 2019-MAR, and to substitue this book.

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Amazon.com book review:

"Tired of religion?
What if almost everything you were taught about Christianity is wrong?
Would you give up on faith altogether? Or is it possible to rediscover--with fresh eyes--a richer and more satisfying understanding of God and spirituality?

So You Thought You Knew is a refreshing journey written straight from the heart. It's about thinking outside the 'institutional walls' of Christianity and asking the hard questions. It boldly says in public what many people are thinking in private. And its hilarious stories and life-changing insights will inspire those who are dissatisfied with fear-driven religion but believe--deep down--there's a better message out there for the world to hear.

This book has received 185 reviews of which 78% were five-star reviews -- the highest value.

This web site had 56 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-SEP, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below:

New and updated essays:

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2018-August's selection:

book cover"Elements of Pantheism: A Spirituality of Nature and the Universe 3rd Edition" by Dr. Paul Harrison.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
Available for $5.10 in Kindle format, or $9.93 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

"At the heart of modern scientific pantheism is reverence for Nature and the Universe. It offers a challenging alternative, beyond theism and atheism, with a joyful approach to our lives and a caring concern for all life on this earth. Pantheism is a 2,500 year-old belief system expressed by many famous thinkers and artists including Lao Tzu, Heraclitus, Spinoza, Wordsworth, Whitman, Emerson, Einstein and Carl Sagan. Today, pantheism is seeing a revival as the underlying world view of many environmentalists, of leading scientists, of nature-revering pagans, and of non-theists looking for a more embracing perspective.

The web site had 36 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-AUG, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below: New and updated essays:

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2018-July's selection

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"The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People "Â by Michael Shermer

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
Available for $10.16 in Kindle format, or $10.48 plus postage in hardcover, or $5.20 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

"From Galileo and Newton to Thomas Hobbes and Martin Luther King, Jr., thinkers throughout history have consciously employed scientific techniques to better understand the non-physical world. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment led theorists to apply scientific reasoning to the non-scientific disciplines of politics, economics, and moral philosophy. Instead of relying on the woodcuts of dissected bodies in old medical texts, physicians opened bodies themselves to see what was there; instead of divining truth through the authority of an ancient holy book or philosophical treatise, people began to explore the book of nature for themselves through travel and exploration; instead of the supernatural belief in the divine right of kings, people employed a natural belief in the right of democracy. In this provocative and compelling book, Shermer will explain how abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism -- scientific ways of thinking -- have profoundly changed the way we perceive morality and, indeed, move us ever closer to a more just world."

The web site had 48 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-JUL, 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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2018-June's selection

book cover "The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet"Â by Heidi Cullen. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. It is available for $10.80 in Kindle format, or $14.81 plus postage in paperback, or $25.99 plus postage in hardcover.

Amazon.com book review:

"From Heidi Cullen, one of America’s foremost experts on weather and climate change and a senior research scientist with Climate Central, comes The Weather of the Future, a fascinating and provocative book that predicts what different parts of the world will look like in the year 2050 if current levels of carbon emissions are maintained."

Publishers Weekly [edited for copyright reasons]:

"This engrossing study predicts global warming scenarios for seven hot spots around the world--and evaluates the responses of communities, governments, and international organizations. Cullen, a climatologist, notes that "just as our brain is hardwired to perceive threats that are most immediate to us, we are hardwired to devote more energy to caring about the weather than to caring about the climate," and that "by the time you see it in the weather... it's too late." ... Despite the worry among scientists that humans will follow "the woolly mammoth, the symbol of a climate that no longer exists," the book presents a surprisingly optimistic view of humanity's determination to come to terms with a daunting future."Â

Her predictions may well hold for later in our century if the current trajectory of carbon emission increases are maintained.

The web site had 29 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-JUN, 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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2018-May's book selection:

book cover "The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality," by Dalai Lama. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Available in hardcover, paperback, Audiobook or Audio CD or Kindle format.

Amazon.com book review:

"Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr, Einstein. Their insights shook our perception of who we are and where we stand in the world, and in their wake have left an uneasy coexistence: science vs. religion, faith vs. empirical inquiry. Which is the keeper of truth? Which is the true path to understanding reality?

After forty years of study with some of the greatest scientific minds, as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual, and philosophic study, the Dalai Lama presents a brilliant analysis of why all avenues of inquiry -- scientific as well as spiritual -- must be pursued in order to arrive at a complete picture of the truth. Through an examination of Darwinism and karma, quantum mechanics and philosophical insight into the nature of reality, neurobiology and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws significant parallels between contemplative and scientific examinations of reality.

This breathtakingly personal examination is a tribute to the Dalai Lama’s teachers -- both of science and spirituality. The legacy of this book is a vision of the world in which our different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe, and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.

The web site had 38 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-MAY, including the above book review.
In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below:

  • The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church recommends a plan to revise the UMC's stance on homosexuality

  • Climate Change, Part 23, 2017-OCT to 2018 (multiple updates)

  • Northern Ireland is holding a referendum on whether to liberalize its abortion laws which are currently the most strict of any western democracy.

  • The importance that people give to religion in countries around the world

  • Decisions by United Methodist General Conferences and Church courts
  • Apostasy in Islam: Arguments for and against the death penalty

  • School shootings, in North America, during 2018-MAR to MAY.

  • Roman Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth, TX, approves the Troops of St. George as an Catholic Apostolate

  • An essay by Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys: "Brief thoughts on the word 'Infinity'"

  • Attempts to estimate the percentage of North American gay, lesbian, & bisexual adults, Part 1

  • Private comments about homosexuality by Pope Francis

  • Moderate Republicans pushing for vote on the DACA program

  • Estimates Of Suicide Rates Among U.S. Gay And Lesbian Youth

  • 2017-2018: Abortion access in Northern Ireland

  • Trump Administration separates immigrant children and babies from parents at border

  • A committee of the Republican Party in Kansas voted to oppose validity of transgender identity
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    2018-April's book selection:

    "Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity" 2017-AUG, by Gregory Coles. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Available for U.S. $19.61 in Kindle format, or $30.56 plus postage in hardcover.

    Amazon.com book review:

    "In an age where neither society nor the church knows what to do with gay Christians, Greg Coles shares his story ... a story about a boy in love with Jesus who, at the fateful onset of puberty, realized his sexual attractions were persistently and exclusively for other guys. This honest, hopeful account shows life through one man's eyes and assures all people: 'You are not a mistake'."

    91% of Amazon customer-reviewers rated this book with 5 out of 5 stars

    Author Gregory Coles' comment:

    "... this book is the first of its kind to be published by an evangelical Christian publisher. I don’t think a book like this would have been possible ten or even five years ago. Until recently, there was only one view of homosexuality within evangelicalism: the so-called non-affirming view. Conservatives may protest or simply disagree, but the fact is that there are a growing number of Bible-believing, gospel-preaching, card-carrying evangelicals who are either exploring the affirming view or who have embraced it and aren’t looking back.

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    Sponsored link:
     

     

    The web site had 20 newly created, re-written, or updated essays during 2018-APR, including the above book review.
    In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded below:

    Pope Francis' alleged beliefs about the afterlife

    The Family; Charles Manson (Part 2)

    2016-2018: Update to the Orlando, FL mass murder at The Pulse LGBT nightclub: Part 2 to Part 7

    Search for intelligent life in the universe: Elements needed for life may be missing elsewhere in the universe

    An essay donated by David W.T. Brattson: "Choosing a Church: One True Church or One Right Church?"

    Two essays donated by Susan Humphreys:

    A new section on Racism: