Twitter icon


Facebook icon

About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Your first visit?
Contact us
External links
Good books
Visitors' essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD
Vital notes

World religions
BUDDHISM
CHRISTIANITY
 Christian def'n
 Shared beliefs
 Handling change
 Bible topics
 Bible inerrancy
 Bible harmony
 Interpret Bible
 Persons
 Beliefs & creeds
 Da Vinci code
 Revelation 666
 Denominations
HINDUISM
ISLAM
JUDAISM
WICCA / WITCHCRAFT
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing Religions

Non-theistic...
Atheism
Agnosticism
Humanism
Other

About all religions
Main topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handling change
Doubt & security
Quotes
Movies
Confusing terms
Glossary
End of the World?
True religion?
Seasonal events
Science vs Religion
More information

Spiritual/ethics
Spirituality
Morality & ethics
Absolute truth

Peace/conflict
Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
10 commandments
Abortion access
Assisted suicide
Cloning
Death penalty
Environment

Same-sex marriage

Homosexuality
Human rights
Gays in the military
Nudism
Origins
Sex & gender
Sin
Spanking kids
Stem cells
Transexuality
Women-rights
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news

 

Religious Tolerance logo

Recommended religious/spiritual books

Past book selections during the first half of 2015:

Previous months' recommendations

The current month's recommended book

Tentatively scheduled selections for future months

horizontal rule

2015-January's selection

book cover image Philip C. Almond: "The devil: a new biography" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store $22.19 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $14.20.

horizontal rule

Amazon.com's review:

"Although the Devil still 'lives' in modern popular culture, for the past 250 years he has become marginal to the dominant concerns of Western intellectual thought. That life could not be thought or imagined without him, that he was a part of the everyday, continually present in nature and history, and active at the depths of our selves, has been all but forgotten. It is the aim of this work to bring modern readers to a deeper appreciation of how, from the early centuries of the Christian period through to the recent beginnings of the modern world, the human story could not be told and human life could not be lived apart from the ‘life’ of the Devil. With that comes the deeper recognition that, for the better part of the last two thousand years, the battle between good and evil in the hearts and minds of men and women was but the reflection of a cosmic battle between God and Satan, the divine and the diabolic, that was at the heart of history itself."—from The Devil

Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub; Ha-Satan or the Adversary; Iblis or Shaitan: no matter what name he travels under, the Devil has throughout the ages and across civilizations been a compelling and charismatic presence. In Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the supposed reign of God has long been challenged by the fiery malice of his opponent, as contending forces of good and evil have between them weighed human souls in the balance.

In The Devil, Philip C. Almond explores the figure of evil incarnate from the first centuries of the Christian era. Along the way, he describes the rise of demonology as an intellectual and theological pursuit, the persecution as witches of women believed to consort with the Devil and his minions, and the decline in the belief in Hell and in angels and demons as corporeal beings as a result of the Enlightenment. Almond shows that the Prince of Darkness remains an irresistible subject in history, religion, art, literature, and culture.

Almond brilliantly locates the “life” of the Devil within the broader Christian story of which it is inextricably a part; the “demonic paradox” of the Devil as both God’s enforcer and his enemy is at the heart of Christianity. Woven throughout the account of the Christian history of the Devil is another complex and complicated history: that of the idea of the Devil in Western thought. Sorcery, witchcraft, possession, even melancholy, have all been laid at the Devil’s doorstep. Until the Enlightenment enforced a “disenchantment” with the old archetypes, even rational figures such as Thomas Aquinas were obsessed with the nature of the Devil and the specific characteristics of the orders of demons and angels. It was a significant moment both in the history of demonology and in theology when Benedict de Spinoza (1632–1677) denied the Devil’s existence; almost four hundred years later, popular fascination with the idea of the Devil has not yet dimmed."

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule

2015-February's selection

book cover image Avigdor Shinan and Valerie Zakovitch: "From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $20.93 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $9.40.

horizontal rule

Amazon.com book description:

"The ancient Israelites believed things that the writers of the Bible wanted them to forget: myths and legends from a pre-biblical world that the new monotheist order needed to bury, hide, or reinterpret.

Ancient Israel was rich in such literary traditions before the Bible reached the final form that we have today. These traditions were not lost but continued, passed down through the ages. Many managed to reach us in post-biblical sources: rabbinic literature, Jewish Hellenistic writings, the writings of the Dead Sea sect, the Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and other ancient translations of the Bible, and even outside the ancient Jewish world in Christian and Islamic texts. The Bible itself sometimes alludes to these traditions, often in surprising contexts.

Written in clear and accessible language, this volume presents thirty such traditions. It voyages behind the veil of the written Bible to reconstruct what was told and retold among the ancient Israelites, even if it is “not what the Bible tells us."

Christopher McConnell of Booklist:

"The Hebrew Bible—what Christianity calls the Old Testament—is a collection of texts containing stories that '... aimed to persuade readers of the existence of one god and of their relationship with that god.' In compiling, editing, and shaping these texts into the books we know today, the biblical authors had to contend with other vibrant, prebiblical traditions, aspects of which were oftentimes inconvenient. Shinan and Zakovitch approach 30 specific Bible stories (e.g., Was Goliath really slain by a young boy named David?) as literary archaeologists, sifting through varying accounts in the biblical texts themselves and examining extrabiblical sources for evidence of alternate versions. Their thoughtful and sympathetic exegesis uncovers possible explanations why the biblical authors saw their interpretations of these stories as best suited to instruct a nation. Most important, they introduce the oral and literary traditions of ancient Israel with breathtaking clarity and ease."

horizontal rule

2015-March's selection

book cover image Robert M. Price: "The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
20.90 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $9.24.

horizontal rule

Amazon.com book description:

"The story of Paul is one of irony, the New Testament depicting him at the martyrdom of Stephen holding the assassins' cloaks. Then this same Paul is transformed into the biblical archetype for someone suffering for their faith. He becomes so entrenched, it would appear that he had walked with the Christians all his life, that he was the one who defined the faith, eventually being called the “second founder of Christianity.” But much of what we think we "know" about Paul comes from Sunday school stories we heard as children. The stories were didactic tales meant to keep us reverent and obedient.

As adults reading the New Testament, we catch glimpses of a very different kind of disciple—a wild ascetic whom Tertullian dubbed “the second apostle of Marcion and the apostle of the heretics.” What does scholarship tell us about the enigmatic thirteenth apostle who looms larger than life in the New Testament? The epistles give evidence of having been written at the end of the first century or early in the second—too late to have been Paul’s actual writings. So who wrote (and rewrote) them? F. C. Baur, a nineteenth-century theologian, pointed persuasively to Simon Magus as the secret identity of “Paul.” Robert M. Price, in this exciting journey of discovery, gives readers the background for a story we thought we knew."

horizontal rule

2015-April's selection

book cover image James A. Haught "Religion is Dying: Soaring Secularism in America and the West" 186 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
7.70 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $3.90.

Amazon.com book description:

"Perhaps 50 million adult Americans now say their religion is 'none' or 'don’t know.' This number has climbed dramatically since the 1990s. About 20 million U.S. Catholics have left that church - so one-tenth of American adults now are ex-Catholics. Two-thirds of American Christians in their 20s drop out of church before age 30, one report estimates. Once-prestigious mainline Protestant faiths with seminary-educated clergy have disintegrated so severely since 1960 that one analyst refers to “'Flatline Protestantism.' An estimated 4,000 American churches close each year. From every direction, evidence is snowballing that America, known for devout religion, is following the secular path of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and other modern democracies, where churchgoing has retreated to a fringe. The trend can be seen in cultural changes such as the rapid social acceptance of gays. The Bible commands that homosexuals 'shall surely be put to death,' and fundamentalist churches have ranted against them for centuries -- yet most Americans now feel that they deserve human rights and equality. Religion has lost its power to dictate America’s morality. This book chronicles the slow, relentless demise of supernatural religion in America and the [rest of the] West."

horizontal rule

2015-May's selection

book cover image Gerard Russell: "Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East" 352 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
21.50 plus postage in Paperback. $21.59 plus postage in Hardcover,
$8.04 in Kindle format, and $23.95 in Audiobook download.

Amazon.com book description:

"Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange faiths: one regards the Greek prophets as incarnations of God, another reveres Lucifer in the form of a peacock, and yet another believes that their followers are reincarnated beings who have existed in various forms for thousands of years. These religions represent the last vestiges of the magnificent civilizations in ancient history: Persia, Babylon, Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Their followers have learned how to survive foreign attacks and the perils of assimilation. But today, with the Middle East in turmoil, they face greater challenges than ever before.

In Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, former diplomat Gerard Russell ventures to the distant, nearly impassable regions where these mysterious religions still cling to survival. He lives alongside the Mandaeans and Ezidis of Iraq, the Zoroastrians of Iran, the Copts of Egypt, and others. He learns their histories, participates in their rituals, and comes to understand the threats to their communities. Historically a tolerant faith, Islam has, since the early 20th century, witnessed the rise of militant, extremist sects. This development, along with the rippling effects of Western invasion, now pose existential threats to these minority faiths. And as more and more of their youth flee to the West in search of greater freedoms and job prospects, these religions face the dire possibility of extinction.

Drawing on his extensive travels and archival research, Russell provides an essential record of the past, present, and perilous future of these remarkable religions."

horizontal rule

2015-June's selection

book cover image John Shore: "UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question" 208 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
11.69 plus postage in Paperback. and $7.40 in Kindle format.

Amazon.com customers have given this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Amazon.com book description:

"Shore is one of America's leading Christian writers on the subject of gay people and Christianity. His essays are widely credited with being central to the sea change in Christian thinking that has occurred on this issue in recent years. 'UNFAIR' offers the best of Shore's writings on homosexuality and Christians / Christianity, along with heart-wrenching but ultimately inspiring letters from gay people telling what it's like to grow up, and live today, both gay and Christian. The book's opening essay, "Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality," is a must-read for anyone seeking clarity on the relationship between the Bible, Christianity, and LGBT people. If you read only one book on this subject, make it this one."

Webmaster's note:

We originally had a different book selected for this month. However, a cultural tsunami occurred last month on JUN-26 when the U.S. Supreme Court released their decision in the case Obergefell v. Hodges. As many commentators expected, the high court legalized same-sex marriage across the entire U.S. That brings the "LGBT Question" front and center for many Christians. This book may help them think through their position on lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals and couples. It might be helpful also to members of the LGBT community to help them think through what this author believes the Bible expects of them.

horizontal rule

Want a Kindle?

Amazon.com has millions of eBooks, newspapers, and magazines available for download into their Kindle eBook reader. They have apps that work on PCs, tablets, and many other devices. Not only is this more portable than lugging up to 3,500 books with you but you can save a lot of money, because eBook versions generally cost significantly less than print versions. You can download for free the cover page, index and the first part of any book you are interested in. Ebooks have a search function. You can highlight passages from books and store them in a text file for use by an editor program on a PC or Mac. It appears that Amazon sells Kindles at a price below their manufacturing cost; what they lose in the initial purchase, Amazon makes up in later book purchases.

Sponsored link

horizontal rule

Amazon.com lists the following books on the topic of spirituality:

If you see a generic Amazon advertisement below, please click on your browser's refresh button.

Amazon.com lists the following books on the topic of religion:

If you see a generic Amazon advertisement below, please click on your browser's refresh button.

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-AUG-02
Latest update: 2015-JUN-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link

Go to the previous page, or to the "Recommended books" menu, or choose:

Google
Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Hot, controversial topics

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

 

Sponsored links: