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General books of interest
Faitheist : how an atheist found common ground with the religious, by Chris Stedman.
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. (drawn from the publisher's description)
Is God an illusion? : the great debate between science and spirituality, by Deepak Chopra, Leonard Mlodinow.
Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Hawking have had a major impact on the loud and popular debate between 'aggressive atheists' and religion. Now 'the rock star of the new spirituality', Deepak Chopra, is entering this debate, sparring with leading physicist, Professor Leonard Mlodinow.
Evolutionaries : unlocking the spiritual and cultural potential of science's greatest idea, by Carter Phipps.
"Evolution is universal in this masterful survey by Phipps of the diverse ideas that make up the emerging field of Integral thought. By presenting "culture, consciousness, and the cosmos" as dynamic and interrelated areas of expansion, mind and matter alike are viewed as part of "a vast process of becoming." .... While concepts like trans-humanism, complexity science, spiral dynamics, and the noosphere will be new to many readers, Phipps, EnlightenNext editor, explains them thoroughly and makes a strong case for their legitimacy. In the process, the lives of several theorists - from 20th century sages such as Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo to contemporary intellectuals like Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen - are examined. These "evolutionaries" are shown to possess a worldview that is optimistic yet realistic, both rational and spiritual. ... (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
The great partnership : God, science and the search for meaning, by Jonathan Sacks.
Explores how religion has always played a valuable part in human culture and far from being dismissed as redundant, must be allowed to temper and develop scientific understanding in order for us to be fully human. ... the author shows how the predominance of science-oriented thinking is embedded deeply even in our religious understanding, and calls on us to recognise the centrality of relationship to true religion, and thus to see how this core value of relationship is essential if we are to avoid the natural tendency for science to rule our lives rather than fulfilling its promise to set us free. (drawn from publisher's description).
Seeing, knowing, being : a guide to sacred awakenings, by John Greer.
"Modeled on the hero's journey as presented by Joseph Campbell, the book itself is divided into two parts: "The Exile," which explains how cultural conditioning leads to a distinction between self and other, and "The Return," which traces how nonduality can be regained and ego vanquished. From Rumi and Alan Watts to The Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching, Greer carefully collects inspiring quotations from the world's wisdom traditions to evoke a sense of oneness and interconnectivity. ... This wise and serene book is clearly the product of many years of study and practice with nondual beliefs. (Drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
On being : a scientist's exploration of the great questions of existence, by Peter Atkins.
"Peter Atkins is the shining exception to the rule that scientists make poor writers. A Fellow at Oxford and a leading chemist, he has won admiration for his precise, lucid, and yet rigorous explanations of science. Now he turns to the greatest--and most controversial--questions of human existence. Can the scientific method tell us anything of value about birth, death, the origin of reality--and its end? Are these questions best left to faith? Atkins makes a provocative contribution to the great debate between religion and science. ...He explores breathtaking questions--asking the purpose of the universe--with wit and learning, touching on Sanskrit scriptures and John Updike along the way...." -- www.amazon.com
Understanding world religions, by Irving Hexham.
"Globalization and high-speed communication put twenty-first century people in contact with adherents to a wide variety of world religions, but usually, valuable knowledge of these other traditions is limited at best. On the one hand, religious stereotypes abound, hampering a serious exploration of unfamiliar philosophies and practices. On the other hand, the popular idea that all religions lead to the same God or the same moral life fails to account for the distinctive origins and radically different teachings found across the world's many religions. Understanding World Religions presents religion as a complex and intriguing matrix of history, philosophy, culture, beliefs, and practices. ...Of particular importance is Hexham's decision to explore African religions, which have frequently been absent from major religion texts. He surveys these in addition to varieties of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam." (Syndetics summary)
Man seeks God : my flirtations with the divine, by Eric Weiner.
"Former NPR reporter Weiner (The Geography of Bliss) turns his journalistic and travel-writing skills to the terrain of the inner life in this ironic, informative, if somewhat flat, spirituality memoir. A more-or-less agnostic cultural Jew, Weiner decides in midlife to get serious about investigating God-is there a God, and if so what is God like? To answer these questions, the author travels around the world, apprenticing himself (briefly) to teachers and practitioners of eight different religious traditions, from Sufism to shamanism. He reads Rumi in Istanbul and takes a mikvah dip in Tzfat, Israel. Franciscans bring him along to an antiabortion protest, and Jamie, a witch in the Pacific northwest, helps him crash a coven and sends him stern e-mail telling him to address his chronic depression. Winsome, self-deprecating humor marks every page. (drawn from Publishers Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics).
Religion for atheists : a non-believer's guide to the uses of religion, by Alain de Botton. (2012)
What do religions do well and what might we borrow from them to improve our lives? For example, most recognise that all people are imperfect and in need of help and healing. Would the concept of a Day of Atonement, drawn from Judaism, benefit all relationships? De Botton will no doubt annoy those who regard all religions as intrinsically evil, but this engaging book is definitely thought-provoking.
The message and the book : sacred texts of the world's religions, by John Bowker.
"Under the expert guidance of John Bowker, a religious scholar and author of international stature, readers explore the key texts of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Confucian, Daoist, and Shinto traditions. The author discusses some 400 books, among them such well-known sacred texts as the Bible and the Quran, but also spiritual writings by theologians, philosophers, poets, and others; describing the content and core tenets of the work and quoting pertinent passages. ... The Message and the Book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the meaning and the deep significance of primary religious texts of civilizations around the globe" -- Drawn from the publisher's description
Sacred geography : deciphering hidden codes in the landscape, by Paul Devereux.
" Paul Devereux travels the globe-from the Scottish Isles to the mountains of Tibet, from the Australian Outback to the deserts of South America-in a quest to unlock the potent spiritual meaning of hills, caves, and standing stones. Attending closely to the archaeological evidence and making use of the latest research technologies, Devereux shows us how to look at our surroundings through our ancestors' eyes-once again perceiving the sacred geography that is everywhere embedded in the landscape." (drawn from Syndetics book summary)
God is not one : the eight rival religions that run the world - and why their differences matter, by Stephen Prothero.
"Prothero arrives late at the party that has been celebrating for years the diversity and plurality of the world's religions. ... Prothero sets up a helpful model for examining each religion on its own terms: he explores a problem that dominates the religion, the religion's solution to the problem, the technique the religion uses to move from problem to solution, and the exemplar who charts a path from problem to solution. ...Despite his naivete about contemporary interreligious dialogue, Prothero's survey is a useful introduction to eight of the world's great religions." (Drawn from Booklist review, courtesy of Syndetics)
The quest for meaning : developing a philosophy of pluralism, by Tariq Ramadan.
"How different do our various religions, philosophies and traditions of thought make us? And can we see past what divides us to discover what we have in common? Tariq Ramadan, philosopher and Islamic scholar, sets out on a journey to answer these questions and find the universal truths we hold in common, no matter how we arrive at them. ... Ramadan argues that there are universally shared beliefs that are arrived at in many traditions of thought. Written in a direct and meditative style, with resonance for all, this important and timely book will direct and shape debate around the important questions of our time. He holds an MA in Philosophy and French Literature and a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. (drawn from the book jacket)
Useful Dewey numbers
|Bible||220 - 229|
|Black Muslim movement||305.896073|
|Classical (Greek & Roman) religion||292|
|Native American religions||299.7|
|New Age religions||299.93|
|Sociology of religion||306.6|
Looking for magazine or journal articles in full text? Try our online databases. Below we've listed some of the most useful for this topic area:
Oxford Reference Online
This is Oxford Publishing's major reference book collection online.
You can either search across all titles, or just look in the volume you need. Remember you will need your library card number to access via Oxford Reference Online.
- Dictionary of the Bible
- The Oxford Companion to the Bible
- The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible
- A Dictionary of Buddhism
- A Dictionary of Hinduism
- Oxford Dictionary of Islam
- A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion
- The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
- The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy
- A Dictionary of Popes
- The Oxford Dictionary of Saints
- The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions
This is a starting list of general religion-based internet websites of interest. For websites on specific religions, please see the religion specific pages.
- Academic Info Religion Gateway
Contains academic studies of the world's major religions.
Holds statistics on world religious affiliation, including famous adherents, religious references in fiction, films, etc.
- BBC: Religion & Ethics
Contains a number of general interest sections relating to various world religions and ethics. Listen to broadcasts of the BBC's many programs devoted to exploring various religions, such as Missionaries. Equally compelling are the fractious message boards. The site is rounded out by an interactive multi faith calendar, which shows the religious festivals and celebrations of eight world faiths.
Contains a wide variety of discussion on spiritual matters, including quizzes, social and poltical issues, and reviews.
- Freedom From Religion Foundation
Maintains the protection of the constitutional principle of separation of state from church.
- Holidays and Observances
Contains information about major religious holidays around the world.
- Index of faiths and practices
- Journal of religion and popular culture
University of Saskatchewan web-based, peer-reviewed journal committed to analysis and interpretation of the interrelations between religion and religious expression and popular culture.
- New Zealand Religious History Bibliography
Compiled by Peter Lineham. (Also contains chapters of his publications)
- Religion Online
Holds full texts by recognized religious scholars - more than 1,800 articles and chapters. Topics include Old and New Testament, Theology, Ethics, History and Sociology of Religions, Comparative Religion, Religious Communication, Pastoral Care, Counselling, Homiletics, Worship, Missions and Religious Education
- Sacred Text Archive
Includes texts of nearly a thousand of the core texts of religion, mythology, and folklore.
- The Revealer
It can be difficult to sift and winnow through the myriad of material offered on the web. Jointly sponsored by the New York University Department of Journalism and New York University's Center for Religion and Media.
The use of symbolism in the world's major religions.
- Virtual religion index
Designed to advance research in matters of religion
- World's Major Religions and Belief Systems
Short introductions to the world's religions.
Interested in finding out more about what the library holds on beliefs? Found a topical online resource you'd like to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!