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Religious Tolerance logo

Recommended religious/spiritual books

Past book selections
during the first half of 2016

Previous months' recommendations

The current month's recommended book

Tentatively scheduled selections for future months

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2016-January's selection

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J.D. Brucker, "Reason over Faith: Antitheism & the case against religion." 161 pages.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
9.99 plus postage in Paperback, or $2.71 in Kindle format.

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Amazon.com book description:

"Many contend religion is, in its entirety, tolerant and stands as a force for good. Millions of human beings worship a god and follow the doctrine of their chosen faith, never considering how harmful their beliefs may be. In Reason over Faith: Antitheism and the Case against Religion, J. D. Brucker takes a stand against all that is considered holy, giving the reader an introduction to how the top three monotheistic religions and faith have failed the human race in a miserable way. ..."

"J. D. Brucker is an atheist author and blogger, a secular humanist, and an outspoken anti-theist. He is the author of "Improbable: Issues with the God Hypothesis" and "God Needs To Go: Why Christian Beliefs Fail." Currently, Brucker writes for the Atheist Republic and Patheos websites. Other works can be found on various secular websites, including The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and The Natural Skeptic.

A review by an anonymous Amazon customer:

"Brucker offers another excellent book on the issue of religion being integrated into the world. With dozens of examples of prejudice against minorities, psychological harm to people simply for being who they are, and violence that has erupted throughout history, religion is something that should be taken with the smallest grains of salt.

Anti-theism has been touted as the atheist equivalent to conservative Christianity and Islam, but Brucker demonstrates that nothing could be further from the truth. A quick read, but one that still engages and enlightens, this is the book to read for those curious about the anti-theist position. They may be surprised to discover how much it resembles their own.

Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.0 out of 5.

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2016-February's selection

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"Wisdom for Living as Spiritual Beings" by Dr. Tommy S.W. Wong

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$11.50 plus postage in Paperback, or $3.90 in Kindle format.

Amazon.com book description:

"While it is easy to live spiritually in a spiritual society, it is undoubtedly challenging to live spiritually in a non-spiritual society. Hence, this book explores the deep questions: (1) How to use beliefs for spiritual living? (2) How do spiritual beings cope with money in a non-spiritual society? (3) What are the characteristics of spiritual beings as compared to physical beings? This book contains a conversation between a young man, Tom, and Guru Harry, who epitomizes someone from a spiritual society and offers a way of living that can lead to peace, love, joy and harmony. In the conversation, they explore all the above questions and other issues related to living spiritually in a non-spiritual society. May this wisdom enable you to live as a spiritual being everywhere!

Dr. Tommy Wong is the author of the book series “Wisdom on How to Live Life”, and other philosophical, spiritual, and self-help books. Since 2009, his books have been available on Amazon and many other online bookstores worldwide. In 2012 and 2013, he was featured on the Radio 938LIVE programme "A Slice of Life Hour". He has also given talks at the Singapore Writers Festival, Heartlands Book Club, Booktique bookstore, Financial Services Consumer Association, as well as various Meetup Groups. Further information about Dr. Wong’s work can be found on his website http://wisdomlife.page4.me/ and the FB page https://www.facebook.com/wisdomlivelife.

No reviews by Amazon customers yet. The book was only released 18 days before this list was written.

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2016-March's selection

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"Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless" by Greta Christina

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
10.56 plus postage in Paperback, or $6.61 in Kindle format.

Amazon.com book description:

"Why are atheists angry? Is it because they're selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God? Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry -- and are ready to do something about it? Armed with passionate outrage, absurdist humor, and calm intelligence, popular blogger Greta Christina makes a powerful case for outspoken atheist activism, and explains the empathy and justice that drive it. This accessible, personal, down-to-earth book speaks not only to atheists, but also to believers who want to understand the so-called new atheism. Why Are You Atheists So Angry? drops a bombshell on the destructive force of religious faith—and gives a voice to millions of angry atheists.

Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is a regular contributor to AlterNet, Free Inquiry, the Humanist, and Salon, and is on the speakers' bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance and the Center for Inquiry.

Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Some Amazon editorial reviews:

  • "If only more people could channel their anger into something so inspiring! Greta Christina has written the perfect book for anyone who wonders about the true impact of religious dogma on women’s health, gay rights, science education, and the daily lives of those who have no faith. Her concluding chapter, which contains solid advice for how to make a positive change in the world, will ensure that you'll have an outlet for all that rage you'll build up by the end of the book. Trust me—you'll need it." —Rebecca Watson, Skepchick.org

  • "Greta Christina’s analysis of religion is acute and witty, and at the same time fair and compassionate. And I'm jealous: I sure wish I could write as well as she does." —Alan Sokal, Professor of Physics, New York University.

  • "Greta has done something truly impressive with this book: She explains in a calm, reasonable, and thoughtful way exactly why she’s a pissed-off, angry atheist. She’s not alone, though, and it’s not only other atheists who will agree with her. In fact, I *dare* religious people to read this book and not come away furious at the often awful impact faith has had on the world, even if they don't believe they're responsible for it. I may be a "friendly atheist" online, but Greta definitely speaks for me in this book." —Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, author of I Sold My Soul on eBay.

  • "Greta Christina’s book offers a passionately lucid explanation of the reasons for atheist anger and its connection to the energy behind all movements for social justice. It is both informative and inspiring." —Ophelia Benson, Butterflies and Wheels

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2016-April's selection

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"Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics," by Mark A Smith

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
18.51 plus postage in Hardcover, or $10.96 in Kindle format.

Average rating in reviews by 4 Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A group of editorial reviews:

  • David Campbell, University of Notre Dame: "A beautifully written and richly substantive book that convincingly explodes conventional wisdom. On an array of issues, from slavery to divorce, homosexuality, and women’s rights, Smith’s exhaustive research clearly shows that the doctrines of America’s major religious traditions have shifted to conform with contemporary societal norms. Readers will learn much from this book—even those who already consider themselves familiar with one or more of the issues it explores."

  • Alan Wolfe, Boston College: "Far from holding fast to traditions and principles, religion, like everything else, changes to meet the times. Smith adds to our understanding of America's presumed culture wars by showing how often this has happened in our history."

  • Chicago Tribune 2015-SEP-14: "Smith show[s], over and over again, on issue after issue, that religious leaders have changed their tune on almost every subject to accommodate more sweeping changes taking place in broader American society. . . . Smith is after something bigger than just thumbing his nose at those who claim to have The Answer. Instead, [he] wants Americans to take a step back from the culture wars. He wants us to realize that, despite apocalyptic pronouncements that Americans are more polarized than ever before, we actually agree on quite a bit."

  • Catholic Library World 2015-DEC-30: "Has culture driven changes to the Christian faith and adjusted its tenets? Smith argues that this is the case. ... His arguments and critique of Christianity will arouse discussion in many contexts.

About the Author:

Mark A. Smith is professor of political science and adjunct professor of comparative religions at the University of Washington. He is the author of two [other] books: "The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society" and "American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy,"

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2016-May's selection

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"Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family" by Amy Ellis Nutt

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
16.20 plus postage in Hardcover, or $13.30 in Kindle format.

Book description by Erin Kodicek:

" 'Why IS it such a big deal to everyone what somebody has in their pants?' Excellent question, posed by an unusually astute transgender girl, the subject of Amy Ellis Nutt’s emotional and illuminating Becoming Nicole. It’s also a little ironic, since Nicole’s story makes a bit of a deal of it, but in a much different way than other stories we’ve been hearing lately, from celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner and television shows like Transparent. Nicole, her twin brother Jonas, mom Kelly, and dad Wayne, are your typical middle class American family. They live next door to you -- are shuttling from work, to Cub Scouts, to softball practice. … They’re also coming to terms with the fact that one of their own has Gender Dysphoria, a medical condition whereby a person does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. And so Wayne and Kelly Maines discover that they don’t have two sons at all, but a son and a daughter. This is a particularly hard pill for Republican, Air Force veteran, Wayne, to swallow, and his journey from denial to accepting and championing his daughter, is one of the more powerful and moving side narratives in a book chock full of them. That is why I really struggled to write this review, because Becoming Nicole is an important book that imparts important lessons, and the ones that resonate most have nothing to do with what’s in anyone’s pants: Be true to yourself, live an authentic life, exercise compassion.

Average rating by Amazon customers: 4.4 out of 5 stars. It was selected as Amazon's Best Book of October, 2015; a New York Times notable book; one of People's ten best books of the year; and Men's Journal's one of the best books of the year!

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Amazon.com has millions of eBooks, newspapers, and magazines available for download into their Kindle eBook reader. They have free 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 © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2016-FEB-01
Latest update: 2016-JUN-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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