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Religious Studies

(Librarian Selected)



Confucianism as a world religion : contested histories and contemporary realities
by Anna Sun

9780691155579Anna SunConfucianism As a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary RealitiesIs Confucianism a religion? If so, why do most Chinese think it isn't? From ancient Confucian temples, to nineteenth-century archives, to the testimony of people interviewed by the author throughout China over a period of more than a decade, this book traces the birth and growth of the idea of Confucianism as a world religion. The book begins at Oxford, in the late nineteenth century, when Friedrich Max M#65533;ller and James Legge classified Confucianism as a world religion in the new discourse of "world religions" and the emerging discipline of comparative religion. Anna Sun shows how that decisive moment continues to influence the understanding of Confucianism in the contemporary world, not only in the West but also in China, where the politics of Confucianism has become important to the present regime in a time of transition. Contested histories of Confucianism are vital signs of social and political change. Sun also examines the revival of Confucianism in contemporary China and the social significance of the ritual practice of Confucian temples. While the Chinese government turns to Confucianism to justify its political agenda, Confucian activists have started a movement to turn Confucianism into a religion. Confucianism as a world religion might have begun as a scholarly construction, but are we witnessing its transformation into a social and political reality? With historical analysis, extensive research, and thoughtful reflection, Confucianism as a World Religion will engage all those interested in religion and global politics at the beginning of the Chinese century. - Description from Syndetics
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Beyond religion : ethics for a whole world
by Bstan-¼dzin-rgya-mtsho, Dalai Lama XIV

9780547636351Dalai Lama XIV; Alexander Norman (Contribution by)Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World An unprecedented event: a beloved world religious leader proposes a way to lead an ethical, happy, and spiritual life beyond religion and offers a program of mental training for cultivating key human values Ten years ago, in his best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium , His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles. Now, in Beyond Religion , the Dalai Lama, at his most compassionate and outspoken, elaborates and deepens his vision for the nonreligious way.  Transcending the mere "religion wars," he outlines a system of ethics for our shared world, one that gives full respect to religion. With the highest level of spiritual and intellectual authority, the Dalai Lama makes a stirring appeal for what he calls a "third way," a path to an ethical and happy life and to a global human community based on understanding and mutual respect.  Beyond Religion is an essential statement from the Dalai Lama, a blueprint for all those who may choose not to identify with a religious tradition, yet still yearn for a life of spiritual fulfillment as they work for a better world. - Description from Syndetics
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The Islamist : why I became an Islamic fundamentalist, what I saw inside, and why I left
by Husain, Ed

9780143115984Ed HusainThe Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, What I Saw Inside, and Why I LeftThe true story of one man's journey to Islamic fundamentalism and back Raised in a devout but quiet Muslim community in London, at sixteen Ed Husain was presented with an intriguing political interpretation of Islam known as fundamentalism. Lured by these ideas, he committed his life to them. Five years later, he rejected extremism and tried to return to a normal life. But soon he realized that Islamic fundamentalists pose a threat that most people-Muslim and non- Muslim alike-simply don't understand. Based on first-hand experiences and written with pervasive clarity, The Islamist delivers a rare inside glimpse of the devious methods used to recruit new members, and offers profound insight into the appeal fundamentalism has for young Muslims in the Western world. - Description from Syndetics
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Zealot : the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth
by Aslan, Reza.

9781400069224Reza AslanZealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Good Housekeeping * Booklist * Publishers Weekly * Bookish From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.   Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the "Kingdom of God." The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.   Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.   Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry--a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.   Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious "King of the Jews" whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.   Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth's life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion. Praise for Zealot   "Riveting . . . Aslan synthesizes Scripture and scholarship to create an original account." -- The New Yorker "A lucid, intelligent page-turner." --Los Angeles Times   "Fascinatingly and convincingly drawn . . . Aslan may come as close as one can to respecting those who revere Jesus as the peace-loving, turn-the-other-cheek, true son of God depicted in modern Christianity, even as he knocks down that image." -- The Seattle Times   "[Aslan's] literary talent is as essential to the effect of Zealot as are his scholarly and journalistic chops. . . . A vivid, persuasive portrait." -- Salon   "This tough-minded, deeply political book does full justice to the real Jesus, and honors him in the process." -- San Francisco Chronicle - Description from Syndetics
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God is not great : how religion poisons everything
by Christopher Hitchens

9780446697965Christopher HitchensGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons EverythingWhether you're a lifelong believer, a devout atheist, or someone who remains uncertain about the role of religion in our lives, this insightful manifesto will engage you with its provocative ideas. With a close and studied reading of the major religious texts, Christopher Hitchens documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix. In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's The End of Faith , Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. - Description from Syndetics
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The God delusion
by Dawkins, Richard

9780618918249Richard DawkinsThe God DelusionA preeminent scientist -- and the world's most prominent atheist -- asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11. With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster. - Description from Syndetics
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The Evangelicals : the struggle to shape America
by Frances FitzGerald.

9781439131336Frances FitzGeraldThe Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape AmericaFinalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction "A page turner...We have long needed a fair-minded overview of this vitally important religious sensibility, and FitzGerald has now provided it." -- The New York Times Book Review "Massively learned and electrifying...magisterial." -- The Christian Science Monitor This groundbreaking book from Pulitzer Prize#65533;-winning historian Frances FitzGerald is the first to tell the powerful, dramatic story of the Evangelical movement in America--from the Puritan era to the 2016 presidential election. The evangelical movement began in the revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, known in America as the Great Awakenings. A populist rebellion against the established churches, it became the dominant religious force in the country. During the nineteenth century white evangelicals split apart dramatically, first North versus South, and then at the end of the century, modernist versus fundamentalist. After World War II, Billy Graham, the revivalist preacher, attracted enormous crowds and tried to gather all Protestants under his big tent, but the civil rights movement and the social revolution of the sixties drove them apart again. By the 1980s Jerry Falwell and other southern televangelists, such as Pat Robertson, had formed the Christian right. Protesting abortion and gay rights, they led the South into the Republican Party, and for thirty-five years they were the sole voice of evangelicals to be heard nationally. Eventually a younger generation of leaders protested the Christian right's close ties with the Republican Party and proposed a broader agenda of issues, such as climate change, gender equality, and immigration reform. Evangelicals have in many ways defined the nation. They have shaped our culture and our politics. Frances FitGerald's narrative of this distinctively American movement is a major work of history, piecing together the centuries-long story for the first time. Evangelicals now constitute twenty-five percent of the American population, but they are no longer monolithic in their politics. They range from Tea Party supporters to social reformers. Still, with the decline of religious faith generally, FitzGerald suggests that evangelical churches must embrace ethnic minorities if they are to survive. - Description from Syndetics
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Siddhartha
by Herman Hesse

9781567310078Hermann HesseSiddharthaThis book chronicles the spiritual evolution of a man living in India at the time of the Buddha--a tale that has inspired generations of readers. We are invited along Siddhartha's journey experiencing his highs, lows, loves, and disappointments along the way. Hesse begins by showing us the life of a privileged brahmin's son. Handsome, well-loved, and growing increasingly dissatisfied with the life expected of him, Siddhartha sets out on his journey, not realizing that he is fulfilling the prophesies proclaimed at his birth. Siddhartha blends in with the world, showing the reader the beauty and intricacies of the mind, nature, and his experiences on the path to enlightenment. Sherab Chodzin Kohn's flowing, poetic translation conveys the philosophical and spiritual nuances of Hesse's text, paying special attention to the qualities of meditative experience. Also included is an extensive introduction by Paul W. Morris that discusses the impact "Siddhartha" has had on American culture. - Description from Syndetics
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The evolution of God
by Robert Wright

9780316734912Robert WrightThe Evolution of GodIn this sweeping narrative that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright's findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. He explains why spirituality has a role today, and why science, contrary to conventional wisdom, affirms the validity of the religious quest. And this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism, but future harmony. Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward. - Description from Syndetics
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Going Clear
by Wright, Lawrence

9780307700667Lawrence WrightGoing Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of BeliefNational Book Award Finalist A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower,  the now-classic study of al-Qaeda's 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists--both famous and less well known--and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. At the book's center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige--tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard. We learn about Scientology's complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church's goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church's clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract. In  Going Clear,  Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is. - Description from Syndetics
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