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Recommended religious/spiritual books

Past book selections: 2015-July to December

Previous months' recommendations

The current month's recommended book

Tentatively scheduled selections for future months

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2015-July's selection

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Mark Fulton, MD. "Get over Christianiity by understanding it." 686 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$24.99 plus postage in Paperback, or $7.82 in Kindle format.

Amazon.com customers have given this book a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

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Amazon.com book description:

"Mark Fulton’s book 'Get over Christianity by Understanding it' questions the origins of Christianity through an exploration of who the Biblical players were, and the authors' motives. The book reveals many obscure facts, and exposes a large number of fictions for what they are. The book's conclusions are based on assessments of primary sources such as the Bible itself, as well as the opinions of numerous respected historians, and are the product of many years of exhaustive investigation.

The book concludes that the Old Testament is largely fabricated, is profoundly immoral, and has been the primary cause of much human suffering and ideological baggage.

Fulton thinks that Jesus may have existed; yet that the man described in the Gospels is not a true depiction. He thinks Jesus was actually a fundamentalist Jewish zealot, and not a Christian, and that Jesus had no delusions that he was the Son of God, and no wish to die for humanity’s sins. Instead, Fulton has Jesus as a hopeful Jewish messiah who tried to start a war with the Roman garrison in Jerusalem, yet was outmanoeuvred and crucified before his ambitions had a chance to come to fruition.

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2015-August's selection

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Bishop William E. Swing: "A Bishop's Quest," 264 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
25.00 plus postage in Paperback.

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Amazon.com book description:

"Bill Swing, our beloved Bishop, continues to inspire and educate with the remarkable story of his journey with the United Religions Initiative. He encourages us to walk with him and learn important lessons about how to give meaning to our own life journey. --The Honorable George P. Shultz, U.S. Secretary of State 1982-1989

This is an intriguing account of a long and successful effort to achieve better understanding and cooperation among the great religions of the world. --Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

Our home is heaven where God is. On earth we learn how to discover home, and each faith leads its adherents homeward. We must learn here how to live together with those with whom we will spend eternity. May the Initiative described in this book succeed for the sake of all believers. --The Most Reverend Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus."

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2015-September's selection

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Benjamin L. Corey: "Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus" 192 pages

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
13.01 plus postage in Paperback. and $9.61 in Kindle format.

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Amazon.com book description:

"Are you ready to begin experiencing an undiluted Jesus?

Benjamin Corey confronts our vision of Jesus head-on, asking the hard question: Is what we see and hear in the modern church all there is to the message of Jesus… or is there a more radical side to Jesus than we have been led to believe?

Get ready to encounter a Jesus that is determined to turn over the tables of a stale, ineffective and boring gospel that seeks to escape from the world instead of transforming it.

This radical Jesus and His message...

  • Invites us to reorient our lives not on Christian religion, but on the person of Jesus,

  • Calls us to live out faith in the context of authentic community with others, instead of isolation,

  • Includes the excluded and invites the outcast to have a seat at the table, and

  • Responds to enemies with a radical, unexplainable love

'Undiluted' will invite you to step out of your comfort zone and into a process of rediscovering the radical, counter cultural, and life-changing message of Jesus. As you do, you’ll discover a more vibrant faith as you embrace an undiluted Jesus and His radical message!"

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2015-October's selection

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Daniel C. Maguire: "Christianity without God: Moving beyond the Dogmas and Retrieving the Epic Moral Narrative." 352 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
18.60 plus postage in Paperback. $67.50 plus postage in Hardcover,
and $12.38 in Kindle format.

Amazon.com book description:

"Argues that Christianity does not require its supernatural aspects.

Christianity without an omnipotent god, without a divine savior, without an afterlife? In this bold and hopeful book, theologian Daniel C. Maguire writes that traditional, supernatural aspects of Christianity can be comforting, but are increasingly questionable. A century of scholarly research has not been supportive of the dogmatic triad of personal god, incarnate savior, and life after death. Demonstrating that these beliefs have questionable roots in historical traditions, Maguire argues for a return to that brilliant and revolutionary moral epic of the Hebrew and Christian Bible. Rescued from god, Christianity can offer a realistic global ethic to heal a planet sinking under the effects of our ungrateful mismanagement."

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2015-November's selection

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Dalai Lama XIV: "An Appeal by the Dalai Lama to the World: Ethics Are More Important Than Religion," 36 pages.

Read reviews or order the Kindle version of this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
0.00 in Kindle format! Not available in other formats. Rated by Amazon customers with 4.9 out of 5 stars.

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Amazon.com book description:

"In his appeal to the world, the Dalai Lama outlines a new secular ethics as the foundation of a peaceful century. The answer will come not from religions, but from people embracing an ethics that spans all differences. A provocative and emboldening piece of writing by a humble and eminent man of our times."

Reviews by Amazon.com customers:

  • D. Grigsby: I love the Dalai Lama's approach to enlightenment through joy so I appreciate his philosophy. The nice thing about this book is the recognition by a major religious leader that religion too often falls short of serving our most common needs and that a secular set of ethics might be a more appropriate tool set. It's not easy for a religious leader to admit that their religion is not the end all be all for everyone, especially considering everyone thinks their religion is the true answer to all our problems.

  • J. Armstrong: An appealing view of how the world could be better for all people. As an atheist, getting acknowledgement for innate secular views is gratifying.

  • Matthew A. Nowik: A quick but very important read. Recommended for anyone who is interested in ethics and the idea that we do not need religion to be morally good.

  • Chez: Such an important topic and great read. The Dalai Lama is an inspiration to the world!

Brief quotes by the author:

  • "I don’t have any enemies, only people I haven’t met yet."

  • “Ethics are more important than religion. . . Ethics is an inborn trait, but religion is acquired.”

  • "Patience is the most potent antidote for anger, satisfaction for greed, bravery for fear, and understanding for doubt."

  • "On some days I think it would be better if there were no religions. All religions and all scriptures conceal the potential for violence. That is why we need secular ethics beyond all religions. It is more important for schools to have classes on ethics than religion. Why? Because it’s more important for humanity’s survival to be aware of our commonalities than to constantly emphasize what divides us."

  • For thousands of years, violence has been committed and justified in the name of religion. Religions have often been intolerant and still are in many cases. Religion is often abused or exploited -- even by religious leaders -- in order to further political or economic interests. For that reason I say that in the twenty-first century, we need a new form of ethics beyond religion. I am speaking of a secular ethics that can be helpful and useful for over a billion atheists and an increasing number of agnostics. More integral than religion is our fundamental human spirituality. That is the affinity we humans have for love, benevolence, and affection – no matter what religions we belong to.

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2015-December's selection

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Michael L. Brown: "Our Hands Are Stained with Blood," 251 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
11.66 plus postage in Paperback, or $7.46 in Kindle format.

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Amazon.com book description:

"From the first "Christian" persecutions of the Jews in the fourth century to the horrors of the Holocaust, from Israel-bashing in today's press to anti-Semitism in today's pulpits, this shocking and painful book tells the tragic story that every Christian must hear. ..."

"Michael Brown is a Jewish believer in Jesus (he came to faith in 1971 as a heroin-shooting, LSD-using, hippie rock drummer) and he holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He's written more than 25 books, including wake-up calls to the Church of America, scholarly monographs and commentaries on biblical subjects, a series of volumes on answering Jewish objections to Jesus, and much-discussed books on today's hottest cultural issues. He has spoken throughout America and in more than 25 countries, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show The Line of Fire. He is the founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, NC and serves as a visiting or adjunct professor at a number of seminaries. He and his wife Nancy have been married since 1976 and have two wonderful daughters and four incredible grandchildren. His heart beats to see a gospel-based moral and cultural revolution in this generation.

A review by an Amazon customer, M.D. Roberts:

This excellent book, which desperately needed to be written, is devoted primarily to the tragic relationship between the Christian Church and the Jewish people. The writer strives to impart to Christians the recognition of their legacy & heritage from the Jews that indeed existed in the early days of the Church whose members were nearly all Jews themselves.

The author also studies the 'Israel bashing' in today's press/media together with the anti-Israel bias of the UN in relation to the Middle East situation. This plus the 'Christian' persecution of the Jews through the ages and even anti-Semitism preached through some channels of the 'Church' today.

Included foremost is the flawed doctrine taught in some areas of 'replacement theology', which teaches that the 'Church' has 'replaced' Israel in all of God's promises. ..."

Plans revealed that have promised that the Jewish people and Israel will never cease to exist and that God's promises will indeed be fulfilled.

To those dubious amongst you I can only recommend that you get a copy of this book, read it for yourself and actually put everything to an intense personal scrutiny...irrespective of which faith, if any that you profess. This is a message and a book that should not, indeed cannot, be ignored.""

Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5.

 

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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.

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2015-AUG-02
Latest update: 2016-JAN-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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