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Recommended religious/spiritual books

Past book selections chosen
during the second half of 2018

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Previous months' recommendations

The current month's recommended book

Tentatively scheduled selections for future months

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2018-July's selection

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

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

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2018-August's selection

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"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
$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.

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2018-September's selection

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

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

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2018-October's selection

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"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.

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2018-November's selection

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"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."

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2018-December's selection

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"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.

Webmaster's note:

Jesus is generally believed to have been executed by the Roman Army circa 30 CE. The first Gospel to be included in the biblical canon was Mark, written circa 70 CE.

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You might consider getting a Kindle ebook reader app for your PC, Mac computer, Ipad, etc.:

This banner ad has a link to various stand-alone Kindle models sold by Amazon.com.
Click on the Kindle picture -- not on the "Shop now" link
(unless
you want to add a Kindle to your shopping cart.)



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Amazon.com has many millions of movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, and audiobooks available for download into their Kindle eBook reader or Kindle app. In addition, Kindle allows anyone to download the first portion of Kindle-format books for FREE. As of 2015-MAY, stand-alone readers cost from $79 and up. FREE versons of the Kindle app are available for Ipads, PC's, Mac computers, etc.

Benefits to the Kindle:

  • Amazon provides FREE reader apps that you can dowload to your PC, tablet, and many other devices.

  • Various models of Kindles can store from 1,000 to 3,500 books and are more more portable than lugging thousands of books with you.

  • Ebooks can save a lot of money, because eBook versions generally cost significantly less than print versions.

  • Amazon makes a suprisingly large number of books available at no cost. Over a million cost $4.99 or less.

  • Delivery of the books over the Internet is free and almost instantaneous.

  • You don't need to build or expand bookshelves!

  • You don't need to dust off Kindle copies of books!

  • Think of all the trees that would be saved if more people abandoned printed copies!

  • They have a built-in dictionary.

  • They are very light and thinner than a pencil.

  • Many books can be loaned to other Kindle or Kindle app users.

  • Battery life if you use a kindle for 30 minutes a day is 4 weeks.

  • Ebooks have a search function. You can select passages from books and store them in a text file for use by an editor program on a PC or Mac. They have a built-in dictionary to find the meanings of words.

However, beware that some publishers take advantage of buyers, and charge more for the digital versions than for the print versions. We have a policy of not buying such copies.

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

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

Copyright 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2019-JAN-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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