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Recent new/updated essays.
Why this web site is different.
Planned future essays.
Why so many essays on sexual topics?

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Sponsored link.

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

  • 2019:

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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-July's selection

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"The Book of Forgiving" by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu


Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $1.53 in Kindle format!
19.33 in hardcover, or U.S. $13.59 in paperback,
plus postage.
Also available in Audiobook and Audio CD

Book review:

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chair of The Elders, and Chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, along with his daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, offer a manual on the art of forgiveness -- helping us to realize that we are all capable of healing and transformation.

Tutu's role as the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission taught him much about forgiveness. If you asked anyone what they thought was going to happen to South Africa after apartheid, almost universally it was predicted that the country would be devastated by a comprehensive bloodbath. Yet, instead of revenge and retribution, this new nation chose to tread the difficult path of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

This web site had 24 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays so far during 2019-JUL, including the above book review.

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2019-June's selection

book cover"What Would a Muslim Say: Conversations, Questions, and Answers About Islam," by Ahmed Lotfy Rashed

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $5.01 in Kindle format.
U.S. $10.95 plus postage in paperback format.

Author's book review:

"Why This Matters NOW

  • "Why do you Muslims pray five times a day?"
  • "What happens to people who do not believe in God?"
  • "Why are so many Muslims quoting their holy book in the name of violence?"
  • "What are the authoritative sources of knowledge in Islam?"
  • "Why do your clerics condemn Judaism and Christian traditions?"

These days, Islam is no stranger to controversy. There are many questions, fears, and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. I believe these books can answer questions, build bridges, and promote understanding.

Since 2009, I have facilitated interfaith dialogues with many different people. The conversations in these books are real. Some are curious, some are concerned, some are hostile, some are academic, and some are soul-searching. My hope is that this can be a small step towards better understanding and harmony."

This web site had 45 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays during 2019-JUN, including the above book review.

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2019-May's selection

book cover "The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World" by Bart D. Ehrman.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $10.15 in Kindle format.
15.53 in hardcover, or U.S. $17.00 in paperback,
plus postage.

Book reviews:

  • “How did a small, provincial Jewish sect called Christianity convert the mighty pagan Roman Empire? Bart Ehrman answers this baffling question with the same wit, passion, and rigorous scholarship that have made him one of the most popular religion writers in the world today. The Triumph of Christianity is a marvelous book.” 
    Reza Aslan, New York Times bestselling author of Zealot

  • “The great appeal of Ehrman’s approach to Christian history has always been his steadfast humanizing impulse... Ehrman always thinks hard about history’s winners and losers without valorizing the losers or demonizing the winners… Reading about how an entire culture’s precepts and traditions can be overthrown without anyone being able to stop it may not be heartening at this particular historical moment. All the more reason to spend time in the company of such a humane, thoughtful and intelligent historian.”
    The New York Times Book Review

  • “Drawing on a wealth of ancient sources and contemporary historical research, Bart Ehrman weaves complex questions into a vivid, nuanced, and enormously readable narrative.”
    Elaine Pagels, National Book Award-winning author of The Gnostic Gospels

  • “Like a good college lecture class, [Ehrman’s] book offers both a wealth of historical information and, to make sense of it all, a few plausible theories — including his own. He doesn’t tell us what to think. He gives us a lot to think about.”
    — Newsday 

This web site had 31 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays during 2019-MAY, including the above book review.

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2019-April's book selection

book cover "My Path Leads to Tibet: The Inspiring Story of HowOne Young Blind Woman Brought Hope to the Blind Children of Tibet" " by Joshua Tongol

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $2.89 in Kindle format, or U.S. $13.36 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

Defying everyone+s advice, armed only with her rudimentary knowledge of Chinese and Tibetan, Sabriye Tenberken set out to do something about the appalling condition of the Tibetan blind, who she learned had been abandoned by society and left to die. Traveling on horseback throughout the country, she sought them out, devised a Braille alphabet in Tibetan, equipped her charges with canes for the first time, and set up a school for the blind. Her efforts were crowned with such success that hundreds of young blind Tibetans, instilled with a newfound pride and an education, have now become self-supporting. A tale that will leave no reader unmoved, it demonstrates anew the power of the positive spirit to overcome the most daunting odds.

Review by Lylas G. Mogk, author of "Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight:"

"If you only read one book this year, read this one. Sabriye Tenberken's life is a light to all of us, and her story is its 'ray.' By turns courageously honest, genuinely heartwarming, and uniquely inspiring. She takes us on an extraordinary journey where we witness firsthand the miracles that can happen when one person is truly determined to make a difference. As an emerging leader in the fields of international public health and blind rehabilitation, Tenberken will be in the news for years to come. But it will always be this story that stays with us."

Sabriye Tenberken was a 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and a 2006 Mother Theresa Award winner.

New and updated essays during 2019-APR:

This web site had 47 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays during 2019-APR, including the above book review.

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2018-March's book selection

book cover"3 Theories of Everything" by Ellis Potter

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $2.89 in Kindle format, or U.S. $13.36 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

"What is reality? What is the meaning of human life? Why do we suffer? In this simple volume, international lecturer Ellis Potter explores three major world views that propose radically different answers to these eternal questions. In clear and compelling language, Potter shows us that the three world views, and the unique hope that each offers to humanity, have profoundly different consequences for how we see everyday reality and the ultimate purpose of our lives.

This book is a concise, reader friendly look at 3 basic ways of seeing reality from the East and the West. It wrestles with the problem of suffering and finds solutions in each of the 3 points of view. It is respectful of each world view and engages the readers in some deep and hard-hitting questions about how they identify themselves and how they look at and understand the world. Reading, thinking about and perhaps discussing this book will bring the readers into a clearer focus of their own way of seeing reality.

3 Theories of Everything is based on lectures by the author and has a large section of questions and answers drawn from actual discussions."

This book received an average of 4.3 stars out of a maximum of 5 by Amazon customers.

New and updated essays during 2019-MAR:

This web site had 40 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays during 2019-MAR, including the above book review.

 

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New and updated essays during 2019-MAR:

This web site had 40 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays so far during 2019-MAR, including the above book review.

In addition, we make major and minor updates to many essays each day that are not recorded above:

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2019-February's book selection:

book cover"The INTRAfaith Conversation: How Do Christians Talk Among Ourselves About INTERfaith Matters " by Susan M. Strouse (Author), Megan Rohrer (Editor)

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
U.S. $7.47 in Kindle format, or U.S. $20.00 plus postage in paperback.

Amazon.com book review:

The Intrafaith Conversation: How Do Christians Talk Among Ourselves About Interfaith Matters? by Susan M. Strouse is a guide for individuals and faith communities to explore what it means to be a Christian in a multifaith world. The Rev. Dr. Susan M. Strouse is currently the pastor at First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco.

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New and updated essays:

This web site had 42 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays during 2019-FEB, 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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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 63 newly created, re-written, or significantly updated essays 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 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: