The story of a former Evangelical Christian turned openly gay atheist who now works to bridge the divide between atheists and the religious The stunning popularity of the “New Atheist” movement—whose most famous spokesmen include Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens—speaks to both the growing ranks of atheists and the widespread, vehement disdain for religion among many of them. In Faitheist, Chris Stedman tells his own story to challenge the orthodoxies of this movement and make a passionate argument that atheists should engage religious diversity respectfully. Becoming aware of injustice, and craving community, Stedman became a “born-again” Christian in late childhood. The idea of a community bound by God’s love—a love that was undeserved, unending, and guaranteed—captivated him. It was, he writes, a place to belong and a framework for making sense of suffering. But Stedman’s religious community did not embody this idea of God’s love: they were staunchly homophobic at a time when he was slowly coming to realize that he was gay. The great suffering this caused him might have turned Stedman into a life-long New Atheist. But over time he came to know more open-minded Christians, and his interest in service work brought him into contact with people from a wide variety of religious backgrounds. His own religious beliefs might have fallen away, but his desire to change the world for the better remained. Disdain and hostility toward religion was holding him back from engaging in meaningful work with people of faith. And it was keeping him from full relationships with them—the kinds of relationships that break down intolerance and improve the world. In Faitheist, Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, his academic study of religion, and his own experiences to argue for the necessity of bridging the growing chasm between atheists and the religious. As someone who has stood on both sides of the divide, Stedman is uniquely positioned to present a way for atheists and the religious to find common ground and work together to make this world—the one world we can all agree on—a better place. From the Hardcover edition.
|Author||: Susan Strouse|
|Release Date||: 2012-04-12|
|ISBN 10||: 1329983521|
|Pages||: 210 pages|
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. Str
This is a book hoping to embolden doubt and sharpen unanswerable questions, all in the context of loving the self and one another. Ridiculously, it believes the world can be healed through such a hope. It is especially addressed to those allergic to the word "faith," and others who feel confident and proud in the faith they profess or system of thought they live by. Humbling Faith helps us see how our beliefs, or non-beliefs, our belongings and identities, often remain flawed, myopic, self-absorbed, unredeemed. The hope is that such awareness of our brokenness can fuel greater ethical partnerships and dialogue, promoting peace from our recognized need for one another. Humbling Faith is not only a resource towards humbling other faiths, but most importantly, your own.
What Does "IRL (In Real Life)" Really Mean in Today's Digital Age? It's easy and reflexive to view our online presence as fake, to see the internet as a space we enter when we aren't living our real, offline lives. Yet so much of who we are and what we do now happens online, making it hard to know which parts of our lives are real IRL, Chris Stedman's personal and searing exploration of authenticity in the digital age, shines a light on how age-old notions of realness--who we are and where we fit in the world--can be freshly understood in our increasingly online lives. Stedman offers a different way of seeing the supposed split between our online and offline selves: the internet and social media are new tools for understanding and expressing ourselves, and the not-always-graceful ways we use these tools can reveal new insights into far older human behaviors and desires. IRL invites readers to consider how we use the internet to fulfill the essential human need to feel real--a need many of us once met in institutions, but now seek to do on our own, online--as well as the ways we edit or curate ourselves for digital audiences. The digital search for meaning and belonging presents challenges, Stedman suggests, but also myriad opportunities to become more fully human. In the end, he makes a bold case for embracing realness in all of its uncertainty, online and off, even when it feels risky.
The evolution of American spirituality over the past fifty years is the subject of Robert Wuthnow's engrossing new book. Wuthnow uses in-depth interviews and a broad range of resource materials to show how Americans, from teenagers to senior citizens, define their spiritual journeys. His findings are a telling reflection of the changes in beliefs and lifestyles that have occurred throughout the United States in recent decades. Wuthnow reconstructs the social and cultural reasons for an emphasis on a spirituality of dwelling (houses of worship, denominations, neighborhoods) during the 1950s. Then in the 1960s a spirituality of seeking began to emerge, leading individuals to go beyond established religious institutions. In subsequent chapters Wuthnow examines attempts to reassert spiritual discipline, encounters with the sacred (such as angels and near-death experiences), and the development of the "inner self." His final chapter discusses a spirituality of practice, an alternative for people who are uncomfortable within a single religious community and who want more than a spirituality of endless seeking. The diversity of contemporary American spirituality comes through in the voices of the interviewees. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Native Americans are included, as are followers of occult practices, New Age religions, and other eclectic groups. Wuthnow also notes how politicized spirituality, evangelical movements, and resources such as Twelve-Step programs and mental health therapy influence definitions of religious life today. Wuthnow's landmark book, The Restructuring of American Religion (1988), documented the changes in institutional religion in the United States; now After Heaven explains the changes in personal spirituality that have come to shape our religious life. Moreover, it is a compelling and insightful guide to understanding American culture at century's end.
As Christians, we belong to not only a diverse global Christian family but also a diverse human family. Todd Johnson, a noted expert on global Christianity and world missions trends, and Cindy Wu show how divisions within these families work against our desire to bring about positive change in the world. They provide an overview of global Christian identity, exploring how we can be faithful to our own tradition while engaging Christians across denominations and be better informed as we work with people of other religions. The book utilizes the latest research data on global Christianity and world religions and includes tables, graphs, charts, and end-of-chapter discussion questions.
National Jewish Book Award Finalist for Memoir
With a new afterword Acts of Faith is a remarkable account of growing up Muslim in America and coming to believe in religious pluralism, from one of the most prominent faith leaders in the United States. Eboo Patel’s story is a hopeful and moving testament to the power and passion of young people—and of the world-changing potential of an interfaith youth movement.
Growing up in a strict Muslim community in south-east London, Alom Shaha learnt that religion was not to be questioned. Reciting the Qur'an without understanding what it meant was simply a part of life; so, too, was obeying the imam and enduring beatings when he failed to attend the local mosque. But Alom was more drawn to science and its power to illuminate. As a teen, he lived between two worlds: the home controlled by his authoritarian father, and a school alive with books and ideas. In a charming blend of memoir, philosophy and science, Alom explores the questions about faith and the afterlife that we all ponder. This is a book for anyone who wonders what they should believe and how they should live. It's for those who may need the facts and the ideas, as well as the courage, to break free from inherited beliefs. In this powerful narrative, Alom shows that it is possible to live a compassionate, fulfilling and meaningful life without God.
Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice The Washington Post’s Books to Read in 2017 USA Today, “New and Noteworthy” Read it Forward, Favorite Reads of January 2017 A Parade Magazine Pick "This book is distinctly Coretta's story . . . particularly absorbing. . . generous, in a manner that is unfashionable in our culture."—New York Times Book Review “Eloquent . . . inspirational"—USA Today The life story of Coretta Scott King—wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist—as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds. Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. While enrolled as one of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, she became politically and socially active and committed to the peace movement. As a graduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, determined to pursue her own career as a concert singer, she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs as well as shared racial and economic justice goals, she married Dr. King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, and so much more. As a widow and single mother of four, she worked tirelessly to found and develop The King Center as a citadel for world peace, lobbied for fifteen years for the US national holiday in honor of her husband, championed for women's, workers’ and gay rights and was a powerful international voice for nonviolence, freedom and human dignity. Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.
In 1987, when Bryan Parys was four years old, his father Alfred pressed record on a tape player next to his hospital bed. He began leaving messages for his wife, three children, and anyone who wanted to know why his terminal cancer at age thirty-eight wouldn't shake his faith. "If God told me to walk into a fiery furnace, I'd do it," he said, perhaps knowing that he would not walk back out. In Wake, Sleeper, Parys tries to understand his father's deathbed fire in the context of a Christian childhood that taught him about eternity. Unspoken feelings of doubt lead Parys toward an inner life where he is allowed to question, provoke, and search for beauty in the void of grief. Through the lens of his upbringing in a Christian school and the church that met in the school gymnasium, that inner voice emerges in Wake, Sleeper. The grief of his past contrasts with the tension of his search to fit in, told as a lyrical and often humorous meditation on time.
Over the last decade, "New Atheists" such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have pushed the issue of atheism to the forefront of public discussion. Yet very few of the ensuing debates and discussions have managed to provide a full and objective treatment of the subject. Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know provides a balanced look at the topic, considering atheism historically, philosophically, theologically, sociologically and psychologically. Written in an easily accessible style, the book uses a question and answer format to examine the history of atheism, arguments for and against atheism, the relationship between religion and science, and the issue of the meaning of life-and whether or not one can be a happy and satisfied atheist. Above all, the author stresses that the atheism controversy is not just a matter of the facts, but a matter of burning moral concern, both about the stand one should take on the issues and the consequences of one's commitment.
From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a deeply moving meditation on how we can still benefit, without believing, from the wisdom, the beauty, and the consolatory power that religion has to offer. Alain de Botton was brought up in a committedly atheistic household, and though he was powerfully swayed by his parents' views, he underwent, in his mid-twenties, a crisis of faithlessness. His feelings of doubt about atheism had their origins in listening to Bach's cantatas, were further developed in the presence of certain Bellini Madonnas, and became overwhelming with an introduction to Zen architecture. However, it was not until his father's death -- buried under a Hebrew headstone in a Jewish cemetery because he had intriguingly omitted to make more secular arrangements -- that Alain began to face the full degree of his ambivalence regarding the views of religion that he had dutifully accepted. Why are we presented with the curious choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle and effective rituals and practices for which there is no equivalent in secular society? Why do we bristle at the mention of the word "morality"? Flee from the idea that art should be uplifting, or have an ethical purpose? Why don't we build temples? What mechanisms do we have for expressing gratitude? The challenge that de Botton addresses in his book: how to separate ideas and practices from the religious institutions that have laid claim to them. In Religion for Atheists is an argument to free our soul-related needs from the particular influence of religions, even if it is, paradoxically, the study of religion that will allow us to rediscover and rearticulate those needs. From the Hardcover edition.
When one person dares to speak her truth, it challenges us all to live our own. With Red Hot and Holy, Sera Beak offers a provocative and intimate view of what it means to get up close and personal with the divine in modern times. With a rare combination of audacious wit, scholarly acumen, and tender vulnerability—vibrantly mixed with red wine, rock songs, tattoos, and erotic encounters—Sera candidly chronicles the highs and lows of her mystical journey. From the innocence of her childhood crush on God; through a whirlwind of torrid liaisons and bitter break-ups with Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism, and the New Age; and finally into committed monogamy with her own Red Hot and Holy Goddess, Sera shares transformative insights, encouraging us all to trust our unique path and ignite our own spiritual love affair. Sera Beak's luscious writing and renegade spiritual wisdom that slices through religious and new age dogma made her debut book The Red Book a breakout success. With Red Hot and Holy she offers a far more personal book—an illuminating, hilarious, and above all utterly honest portrait of the heart-opening process of mystical realization. This hot and holy book invites you to embrace your soul, unleash your true Self, and burn, baby, burn with divine love. Excerpt As a child, I was madly in love with God. Gaga for God. In grade school, I used to write “I (heart) God” at the top of all my homework assignments and in the margins of the notes I passed to my girlfriends about which boys we thought were cute. Next to The Little Princess, a children’s bible was kept on my bedside table for nightly reading. Miracles? Prophetic dreams? Angels? Healing the sick? Sign me up for those gigs! And every Thursday I believed J.C. dropped by my bedroom so I could ask him personal questions and tell him which sister was annoying me the most. I was magnetized to rosaries, prayers, and pyramids the way other kids were to doughnuts, MTV and the Cabbage Patch Kids, and every time I saw a religious figure (priest, nun, Buddhist monk, Hare Krishna) out in public, it would take an enormous amount of willpower not to stalk them. When Career Days at school would come around, my questionnaire would look a little something like this: Favorite subject? God Favorite hobby? God What do you want to be when you grow up? God (Okay, there was a brief time when I was six years old when the answer to that last question was “an albino.” I thought albinism would make me glow in the dark.) When I was a child, God was not a belief of a magical Santa Claus type. He was as real as my heart. I felt Him (inside me). I recognized Him (everywhere). I knew Him (personally). We hung out together, and I never wanted our rendezvous to stop. I only wanted us to draw closer. I assumed I was experiencing what many Catholics refer to as “the call” to be a priest, so I matter-of-factly informed my parish priests and Sunday school teachers of my future vocation. They laughed, patted my head, and told me I couldn’t have heard the call to be a priest because I had a vagina. Okay, they didn’t say that last part, but believe me, it was implied. They did tell me that only men were allowed to be priests because Jesus only had male disciples (to which Mary Magdalene juts out her left hip and slaps her round cheek with The Gospel of Mary Magdalene). But, of course, I could always be a nun.
The New York Times bestselling author explains why any attempt to make religion compatible with science is doomed to fail. What we read in the news today is full of subjectivity, half-truths, and blatant falsehoods; and thus it is more necessary now than ever to safeguard the truth with facts. In his provocative new book, evolutionary biologist Jerry A. Coyne aims to do exactly that in the arena of religion. In clear, dispassionate detail he explains why the toolkit of science, based on reason and empirical study, is reliable, while that of religion—including faith, dogma, and revelation—leads to incorrect, untestable, or conflicting conclusions. Coyne is responding to a national climate in which over half of Americans don’t believe in evolution (and congressmen deny global warming), and warns that religious prejudices and strictures in politics, education, medicine, and social policy are on the rise. Extending the bestselling works of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, he demolishes the claims of religion to provide verifiable “truth” by subjecting those claims to the same tests we use to establish truth in science. Coyne irrefutably demonstrates the grave harm—to individuals and to our planet—in mistaking faith for fact in making the most important decisions about the world we live in.
Over the past decade the Religion vs. Atheism debate has generated a lot more heat than light. With passionate advocates on both sides, it is possible we have lost sight of the real people and problems behind the controversies and conflicts. Where does the truth lie? In Faitheism Krish Kandiah asks us to take a long hard look at ourselves - and a more understanding look at each other. Written for both committed Christians and committed Atheists and everyone in between, this accessible and practical book can help all of us find a way to talk about the things that really matter to us in ways that encourage empathy, mutual understanding and respect and yet that don't shy away from tackling the hard topics. The ideas in this book can transform our relationships, our workplaces and our nation as it lays down a path for a genuinely more inclusive, hospitable and understanding society. Krish contends that whether you are a Christian, an Atheist or somewhere in between, we can all grow in our own beliefs and understand each other better. In this challenging exploration of the myths about Christianity and Atheism, time and again we will find the evidence shows that the truth on the ground is not what one might expect - and the potential for genuine understanding is far greater than the antagonists on either side would have you believe.
Argues that the increased prejudice against Muslims in post-9/11 America damages the country's historically strong core of pluralism, and describes how interfaith work can help restore the pluralistic bond among all Americans.
Winner of a 2015 Catholic Press Award: Gender Issues Category (First Place). In this first book from an openly lesbian and celibate Catholic, widely published writer and blogger Eve Tushnet recounts her spiritual and intellectual journey from liberal atheism to faithful Catholicism and shows how gay Catholics can love and be loved while adhering to Church teaching. Eve Tushnet was among the unlikeliest of converts. The only child of two atheist academics, Tushnet was a typical Yale undergraduate until the day she went out to poke fun at a gathering of philosophical debaters, who happened also to be Catholic. Instead of enjoying mocking what she termed the “zoo animals,” she found herself engaged in intellectual conversation with them and, in a move that surprised even her, she soon converted to Catholicism. Already self-identifying as a lesbian, Tushnet searched for a third way in the seeming two-option system available to gay Catholics: reject Church teaching on homosexuality or reject the truth of your sexuality. Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith is the fruit of Tushnet’s searching: what she learned in studying Christian history and theology and her articulation of how gay Catholics can pour their love and need for connection into friendships, community, service, and artistic creation.
Dubbed The Ultimate Working Girl by Newsweek, Claudia Shear takes readers on a wild adventure through the American work force in Blown Sideways Through Life. Have you ever held down a job for money rather than love? Put up with an impossible boss? Been told when and how often to visit the restroom, get a drink, use the phone? Struggled to remember that who you are doesn't depend on what you do? Meet Claudia Shear, a misfit from Brooklyn who grew up dreaming of adventure. Shear rode a wild wave of employment (sixty-four jobs in all) on her way to realizing her dream of becoming an actress. Before landing the starring role in the upcoming film, Body Language, and scoring a deal with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg for her own sitcom, she worked as (among other things) a pastry chef, a nude model, a waitress (a lot), a receptionist in a whorehouse, a brunch chef on Fire Island, a proofreader on Wall Street (a lot), and an Italian translator. On the surface her life makes for a hilarious tour de resume. But underneath is a universal lesson learned about life in the workplace.
To the dismay of religious leaders, study after study has shown a steady decline in affiliation and identification with traditional religions in America. By 2014, more than twenty percent of adults identified as unaffiliated--up more than seven percent just since 2007. Even more startling, more than thirty percent of those under the age of thirty now identify as "Nones"--answering "none" when queried about their religious affiliation. Is America losing its religion? Or, as more and more Americans choose different spiritual paths, are they changing what it means to be religious in the United States today? In Choosing Our Religion, Elizabeth Drescher explores the diverse, complex spiritual lives of Nones across generations and across categories of self-identification such as "Spiritual-But-Not-Religious," "Atheist," "Agnostic," "Humanist," "just Spiritual," and more. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews conducted across the United States, Drescher opens a window into the lives of a broad cross-section of Nones, diverse with respect to age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and prior religious background. She allows Nones to speak eloquently for themselves, illuminating the processes by which they became None, the sources of information and inspiration that enrich their spiritual lives, the practices they find spiritually meaningful, how prayer functions in spiritual lives not centered on doctrinal belief, how morals and values are shaped outside of institutional religions, and how Nones approach the spiritual development of their own children. These compelling stories are deeply revealing about how religion is changing in America--both for Nones and for the religiously affiliated family, friends, and neighbors with whom their lives remain intertwined.