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Books on Religion

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Kanzi Kamel found this witty
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These are books on religion that I have found insightful and worthy of future recommendations to others interested in this topic. Admittedly, some of these were used for courses I have taken at a college level, but many of them I have simply read on my own accord (cuz I'm nerdy and I that's what I do in my free time).

The Case for God

Argues that atheism has rarely been a denial of the sacred itself but has nearly always rejected a particular conception of God. The authore suggests that if we draw on the insights of the past, we can build a faith that speaks to our needs.

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Fields of Blood

It is the most persistent myth of our time: religion is the cause of all violence. But history suggests otherwise. Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to disprove the link between religion and bloodshed. Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the centuries, from medieval crusaders to modern-day jihadists. The West today has a warped concept of religion: we regard faith as a personal and private matter, but for most of history faith has informed people's entire outlook on life, and often been inseparable from politics. Humans undoubtedly have a natural propensity for aggression: the founders of the largest religions - Jesus, Buddha, the rabbis of early Judaism, the prophet Muhammad - aimed to curb violence and build a more peaceful and just society, but with our growing greed for money and wealth came collective violence and warfare. With the arrival of the modern all-powerful, secular state humanity's destructive potential has begun to spiral out of control. Is humanity on the brink of destroying itself? Fields of Blood is a celebration of the ancient religious ideas and movements that have promoted peace and reconciliation across millennia of civilization.

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Living Buddha, Living Christ

Peace activist, poet, scholar and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh invites us to welcome The Sun My Heart into our lives like a friend. And, as a true friend, its company is to be savoured. Written as the sequel to The Miracle of Mindfulness, this simple, compassionate book offers warmth and wisdom drawn from everyday anecdotes, Buddhist psychology and even contemporary physics. We can turn to The Sun My Heart again and again, enjoying the book's gentle guidance and companionship on our journey from mindfulness to insight.

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The Buddha Said

This rich and refreshing book invites us to travel with the Buddha on a path of radical wisdom. In his inimitable style, Osho interprets the "Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters" - a scripture compiled by a Chinese emperor in the first century C.E. - using wonderful contemporary anecdotes to make profound points. As we laugh or shake our heads at the folly, the ineptitude or the goodness of the characters in the stories, Osho engages us at every level to let us experience the Buddha's teachings and take in their timeless truths. "No belief is required to travel with Buddha. You can come to him with all your skepticism - he accepts and welcomes you, and he says, 'Come with me.'" - Osho.

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Early Christianity

This concise and engaging introduction to the history of early Christianity examines the development of Christianity from its origins up through the year 620. Accessible to beginning students with no background in the subject, Early Christianity: A Brief History is also captivating reading for more advanced students. The book is organized chronologically into four parts: The Contexts of Early Christianity, Christianity in the Second and Third Centuries, The Creation of a Christian Empire, and Life in the Christian Empire. Each part begins with a timeline in order to guide students in the chronology of events. Opening with a look at the historical Jesus-which considers what we know and how we know it-the book continues on with coverage of the Jewish and Roman worlds in which Christianity arose. It then charts the extraordinary progress of Christianity, ranging from its status as a fringe sect in Judaism, to that of a dominant religion, up through the reign of Pope Gregory I. Chapters on society and culture and an epilogue on Muhammad and the rise of Islam are also included. Focusing on important themes and developments throughout, author Joseph H. Lynch does not overwhelm students with an encyclopedic amount of detail. In addition, he acknowledges the often neglected diversity of early Christian views without losing sight of the major lines along which the religion developed. Lynch integrates excerpts and quotations from a wide variety of ancient sources-including the New Testament, the Gospel of Thomas, the Didache, and the writings of Dio Chrysostom, Fronto, and Tactitus-in order to engage students and show them how historians learn about the ancient world. Each chapter ends with carefully selected suggestions for further reading that are drawn from both ancient and modern sources. The book also features custom-drawn maps and photos to help students understand the visual and geographical developments of ancient Christianity.

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The Bhagavad Gita

Easwaran's best-selling translation of the Bhagavad Gita is reliable, readable, and profound. His 55-page introduction places the Gita in its historical context, presents key concepts, and brings out the universality and timelessness of its teachings. This edition includes chapter introductions, notes and a Sanskrit glossary. Easwaran grew up in the Hindu tradition in India, learned Sanskrit from a young age, and became a professor of English literature before coming to the West. He is a gifted teacher and an authority on the Indian classics and world mysticism. The Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield, as the warrior Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Yet the Gita is not what it seems - it's not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian history. "The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita's subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious."

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The Children of Abraham

F.E. Peters, a scholar without peer in the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, revisits his pioneering work after twenty-five years. Peters has rethought and thoroughly rewritten his classic The Children of Abraham for a new generation of readers-at a time when the understanding of these three religious traditions has taken on a new and critical urgency. He began writing about all three faiths in the 1970s, long before it was fashionable to treat Islam in the context of Judaism and Christianity, or to align all three for a family portrait. In this updated edition, he lays out the similarities and differences of the three religious siblings with great clarity and succinctness and with that same remarkable objectivity that is the hallmark of all the author's work. Peters traces the three faiths from the sixth century B.C., when the Jews returned to Palestine from exile in Babylonia, to the time in the Middle Ages when they approached their present form. He points out that all three faith groups, whom the Muslims themselves refer to as "People of the Book," share much common ground. Most notably, each embraces the practice of worshipping a God who intervenes in history on behalf of His people. The book's text is direct and accessible with thorough and nuanced discussions of each of the three religions. Updated footnotes provide the reader with expert guidance into the highly complex issues that lie between every line of this stunning and timely new edition of The Children of Abraham.

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Islam

The world's leading Islamicist offers a concise introduction to this rich and diverse tradition of 1.2 billion adherents. In this informative and clear introduction to the world of Islam, Seyyed Hossein Nasr explores the following topics in depth: -What Is Islam? -The Doctrines and Beliefs of Islam -Islamic Practices and Institutions -The History of Islam -Schools of Islamic Thought -Islam in the Contemporary World -Islam and Other Religions -The Spiritual and Religious Significance of Islam

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Women and Religious Traditions

Using a critical feminist lens, this text explores the roles and interactions of women within major world faiths. For each tradition, the text examines the history and status of women, family structures, sexuality, and social change, as well as texts, rituals, and interpretations by and for women.

The Hebrew Goddess

The Hebrew Goddess demonstrates that the Jewish religion, far from being pure monotheism, contained from earliest times strong polytheistic elements, chief of which was the cult of the mother goddess. Lucidly written and richly illustrated, this third edition contains new chapters of the Shekhina.

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Is Religion Killing Us?

A provocative look at the violent content of 'sacred scripture' and what Jews, Christians, and Muslims must do to re-vision their faiths away from justifying violence. Post 9/11 attention has focused on Islam as a violent religion, but Nelson-Pallmeyer shows that the Bible and the Quran both have ample violence-justifying content to support "holy" and other wars. The challenge, he maintains, is to acknowledge violence in "sacred scripture" and re-vision God's power.

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Terror in the Mind of God

Completely revised and updated, this new edition of Terror in the Mind of God incorporates the events of September 11, 2001 into Mark Juergensmeyer's landmark study of religious terrorism. Juergensmeyer explores the 1993 World Trade Center explosion, Hamas suicide bombings, the Tokyo subway nerve gas attack, and the killing of abortion clinic doctors in the United States. His personal interviews with 1993 World Trade Center bomber Mahmud Abouhalima, Christian Right activist Mike Bray, Hamas leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdul Azis Rantisi, and Sikh political leader Simranjit Singh Mann, among others, take us into the mindset of those who perpetrate and support violence in the name of religion.

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When Religion Becomes Lethal

A compelling look at today's complex relationship between religion and politics In his second book, bestselling author Charles Kimball addresses the urgent global problem of the interplay between fundamentalist Abrahamic religions and politics and moves beyond warning signs (the subject of his first book) to the dangerous and lethal outcomes that their interaction can produce. Drawing on his extensive personal and professional knowledge of, experience with and access to all three traditions, Kimball's explanation of the multiple ways religion and politics interconnect within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will illuminate the problems and give readers a hopeful vision for how to chart a safer course into a precarious future. * Kimball is the author of When Religion Becomes Evil, one of the most acclaimed post 9/11 books on terrorism and religion * Reveals why religion so often leads to deadly results * The author has scholarly knowledge and expertise and extensive personal experience with the peoples, cultures, and leaders involved Readable and engaging, this book gives a clear picture of today's complex political and religious reality and offers hope for the future.

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Healthcare professional with multiple degrees and an avid reader of a myriad of interests from history to math to lgbt novels.

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