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Full title Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon [permalink]
Language English
Author Daniel Dennett (author)
Publisher Viking Books
Category Religion
Publication year 2006
ISBN 0-670-03472-X [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 448
Images Back flap of Breaking the Spell.Back of Breaking the Spell.Spine of Breaking the Spell.Front of Breaking the Spell.Front flap of Breaking the Spell.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Preface

Part I: Opening Pandora's Box

  • 1 Breaking Which Spell?
    • 1 What's going on?
    • 2 A Working definition of religion
    • 3 To break or not to break
    • 4 Peering in the abyss
    • 5 Religion as a natural phenomenon
  • 2 Some Questions About Science
    • 1 Can science study religion?
    • 2 Should science study religion?
    • 3 Might music be bad for you?
    • 4 Would neglect be more benign?
  • 3 Why Good Things Happen
    • 1 Bringing out the best
    • 2 Cui bono?
    • 3 Asking what pays for religion
    • 4 A Martian's list of theories

Part II: The Evolution of Religion

  • 4 The Roots of Religion
    • 1 The births of religions
    • 2 The raw materials of religion
    • 3 How Nature deals with the problem of other minds
  • 5 Religion, the Early Days
    • 1 Too many agents: competition for rehearsal space
    • 2 Gods as interested parties
    • 3 Getting the gods to speak to us
    • 4 Shamans as hypnotists
    • 5 Memory-engineering devices in oral cultures
  • 6 The Evolution of Stewardship
    • 1 The music of religion
    • 2 Folk religion as practical know-how
    • 3 Creeping reflection and the birth of secrecy in religion
    • 4 The domestication of religions
  • 7 The Invention of Team Spirit
    • 1 A path paved with good intentions
    • 2 The ant colony and the corporation
    • 3 The growth market in religion
    • 4 A God you can talk to
  • 8 Belief in Belief
    • 1 You better believe it
    • 2 God as intentional object
    • 3 The division of doxastic labor
    • 4 The lowest common denominator?
    • 5 Beliefs designed to be professed
    • 6 Lessons from Lebanon: the strange cases of the Druze and Kim Philby
    • 7 Does God exist?

Part III: Religion Today

  • 9 Toward a Buyer's Guide to Religions
    • 1 For the love of God
    • 2 The academic smoke screen
    • 3 Why does it matter what you believe?
    • 4 What can your religion do for you?
  • 10 Morality and Religion
    • 1 Does religion make us moral?
    • 2 Is religion what gives meaning to your life?
    • 3 What can we say about sacred values?
    • 4 Bless my soul: spirituality and selfishness
  • 11 Now What Do We Do?
    • 1 Just a theory
    • 2 Some avenues to explore: how can we home in on religious conviction?
    • 3 What shall we tell the children?
    • 4 Toxic memes
    • 5 Patience and politics
  • Appendixes
  • A The New Replicators
  • B Some More Questions About Science
  • C The Bellboy and the Lady Named Tuck
  • D Kim Philby as a Real Case of Indeterminacy of Radical Interpretation
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Full title The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine [permalink]
Language English
Authors Alister McGrath (author) and Joanna Collicutt McGrath (co-author)
Publisher SPCK
Category Religion
Publication year 2007
ISBN 978-0-281-05927-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 78
Synopsis

A review, synopsis, and a criticism of Dawkins' The God Delusion, The Dawkins Delustion? examines the issues raised there.

Review

The book is pretty well presented, but unfortunately it was very boring and lacks substance. It really could be shortened down to an essay. The main message from the book is that Dawkins' book doesn't take enough into account, and that his criticism of religion is unfounded.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  1. Deluded about God?
  2. Has science disproved God?
  3. What are the origins of religion?
  4. Is religion evil?
  • Notes
  • For further reading
Full title The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason [permalink]
Language English
Author Sam Harris (author)
Publisher W. W. Norton
Category Religion
Publication year 2004
ISBN 0-393-32765-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 348
Synopsis

The central thesis in End of Faith is that faith is dangerous, because beliefs unsupported by evidence, when put into action, can't be reasoned with. Harris gives a lot of historical examples of this (indeed, the book has a pretty extensive bibliography in the back), and the book is peppered with endnotes (and a few pages-long ones, at that!).

The last two chapters are called A Science of Good and Evil (where Harris tries to map out an emerging science of morality) and Experiments in Consciousness (where Harris basically advocates meditation as a rational way of garnering knowledge about subjectivity, and where he doesn't reject the notion of consciousness surviving physical death). While I reject the notion that personhood survives death (that is, I think consciousness is dependent upon the brain being able to function properly and that when it eventually succumbs to decay, that'll be the end of us), I can wholeheartedly join Harris in admitting ignorance on that question.

Review

While I can't say the book was an entirely enjoyable read, it's definitely well-written and engaging. What turned me off was the incessant referencing to past atrocities. However, that was in part (I think) the intent of the book, and in that sense it succeeded. I can definitely recommend it, nonetheless.

Images Back of The End of Faith.Spine of The End of Faith.Front of The End of Faith.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  1. Reason in Exile
  2. The Nature of Belief
  3. In the Shadow of God
  4. The Problem with Islam
  5. West of Eden
  6. A Science of Good and Evil
  7. Experiments in Consciousness
  • Epilogue
  • Afterword
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Full title The God Delusion [permalink]
Language English
Author Richard Dawkins (author)
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Category Religion
Publication year 2006
ISBN 978-0-618-68000-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 406
Synopsis

The God Delusion unapologetically criticizes religion (as the title implies, belief in gods is a delusion, on the same level as believing you're Napoleon). First off, he tries to avoid confusion with the way Einstein and Hawking have used religious terms to express their appreciation of contemplating the universe, by invoking what he calls Einsteinian religion (neither Einstein nor Hawking are theists, by the way). In that respect, Dawkins tells us that he's a deeply religious non-believer, but dislikes using the word, instead preferring to reserve it for traditional religion.

Images Back flap of The God Delusion.Back of The God Delusion.Spine of The God Delusion.Front of The God Delusion.Front flap of The God Delusion.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Preface

1: A Deeply Religious Non-Believer

  • Deserved respect
  • Undeserved respect

2: The God Hypothesis

  • Polytheism
  • Monotheism
  • Secularism, the Founding Fathers and the religion of America
  • The poverty of agnosticism
  • NOMA
  • The Great Prayer Experiment
  • The Neville Chamberlain school of evolutionists
  • Little green men

3: Arguments for God's Existence

  • Thomas Aquinas' 'proofs'
  • The ontological argument and other a priori arguments
  • The argument from beauty
  • The argument from personal 'experience'
  • The argument from scripture
  • The argument from admired religious scientists
  • Pascal's Wager
  • Bayesian arguments

4: Why There Almost Certainly is No God

  • The Ultimate Boeing 747
  • Natural selection as a consciousness-raiser
  • Irreducible complexity
  • The worship of gaps
  • The anthropic principle: planetary version
  • The anthropic principle: cosmological version
  • An interlude at Cambridge

5: The Roots of Religion

  • The Darwinian imperative
  • Direct advantages of religion
  • Group selection
  • Religion as a by-product of something else
  • Psychologically primed for religion
  • Tread softly, because you tread on my memes
  • Cargo cults

6: The Roots of Morality: Why Are We Good?

  • Does our moral sense have a Darwinian origin?
  • A case study in the roots of morality
  • If there is no God, why be good?

7: The 'Good' Book and the Changing Moral Zeitgeist

  • The Old Testament
  • Is the New Testament any better?
  • Love thy neighbour
  • The moral Zeitgeist
  • What about Hitler and Stalin? Weren't they atheists?

8: What's Wrong With Religion? Why Be So Hostile?

  • Fundamentalism and the subversion of science
  • The dark side of absolutism
  • Faith and homosexuality
  • Faith and the sanctity of human life
  • The Great Beethoven Fallacy
  • How 'moderation' in faith fosters fanaticism

9: Childhood, Abuse and the Escape From Religion

  • Physical and mental abuse
  • In defence of children
  • An educational scandal
  • Consciousness-raising again
  • Religious education as a part of literary culture

10: A Much Needed Gap?

  • Binker
  • Consolation
  • Inspiration
  • The mother of all burkas
  • Appendix: A partial list of friendly addresses, for individuals needing support in escaping from religion
  • Books cited or recommended
  • Notes
  • Index
Full title God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything [permalink]
Language English
Author Christopher Hitchens (author)
Publisher Twelve
Category Religion
Publication year 2007
ISBN 978-0-446-50945-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 354
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • One: Putting It Mildly
  • Two: Religion Kills
  • Three: A Short Digression on the Pig: or, Why Heaven Hates Ham
  • Four: A Note on Health, to Which Religion Can Be Hazardous
  • Five: The Metaphysical Claims of Religion Are False
  • Six: Arguments from Design
  • Seven: Revelation: The Nightmare of the "Old" Testament
  • Eight: The "New" Testament Exceeds the Evil of the "Old" One
  • Nine: The Koran Is Borrowed from Both Jewish and Christian Myths
  • Ten: The Tawdriness of the Miraculous and the Decline of Hell
  • Eleven: "The Lowly Stamp of Their Origin": Religion's Corrupt Beginnings
  • Twelve: A Coda: How Religions End
  • Thirteen: Does Religion Make people Behave Better?
  • Fourteen: There Is No "Eastern" Solution
  • Fifteen: Religion as an Original Sin
  • Sixteen: Is Religion Child Abuse?
  • Seventeen: An Objection Anticipated: The Last-Ditch "Case" Against Secularism
  • Eighteen: A Finer Tradition: The Resistance of the Rational
  • Nineteen: In Conclusion: The Need for a New Enlightenment
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Index
Full title The Happy Atheist [permalink]
Language English
Author P. Z. Myers (author)
Publisher Pantheon Books
Categories Religion and skepticism
Publication year 2013
ISBN 978-0-307-37934-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 190
Synopsis

The Happy Atheist is Myers' first book. Readers familiar with his blog Pharyngula will know what to expect. The book deals with religion and atheism from a lot of different angles, and in essence it's a popular book written for a popular audience, using popular arguments. This is not to say that the book is simplistic, just that it isn't scholarly. If you want a preview of the book, read his essay "Planet of the Hats", which in the book is the chapter called "About the Author".

Review

I half-expected the book (having read Myers' blog) to be much more angry than it is. In fact it's a very funny, lively, and readable book, and at no point was I bored. (In fact, I had trouble putting it down. I didn't read it in one sitting, but two.)

Images Back flap of The Happy Atheist.Back of The Happy Atheist.Spine of The Happy Atheist.Front of The Happy Atheist.Front flap of The Happy Atheist.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Morning in the Midwest
  • About the Author
  • The Joke
  • The Great Desecration
  • Get a Job
  • It's So Easy to Be Outraged!
  • I Am Not a Spoiled Child Having a Temper Tantrum
  • The Proper Fate for a Holy Book
  • Ask but Don't Tell
  • Dirty Words
  • The Top Ten Reasons Religion Is Like Pornography
  • The Purpose-Free Life
  • Happy Easter!
  • Afterlife? What Afterlife?
  • Soulless!
  • What Dreadful Price Must We Pay to Be Atheists?
  • Imagine No Heaven
  • Daughters of eve
  • Prometheus's Sin
  • So Alone
  • One Nation Free of Gods
  • An Embryo Is Not a Person
  • The Courtier's Reply
  • The Big Pink Guy in the Sky
  • The Karen Armstrong Diet
  • God's Little Crisis of Confidence
  • Laugher as a Strategy for Diminishing Religion
  • We're Happier out of a Straitjacket than in One
  • Marketing Godless Science
  • "Science Is What We Do to Keep from Lying to Ourselves"
  • Our Brains Are Full of Contradictions
  • Ken Miller, Poster Child for Compatibility
  • Religion Fails as a Source of Knowledge
  • Science as a Lever to Move the World
  • The Active Hand
  • The Proper Reverence Due Those Who Have Gone Before
  • Niobrara
  • We Stand Awed at the Heights Our People Have Achieved
  • Acknowledgments
Full title Infidel: My Life [permalink]
Original title Mijn Vrijheid
Language English
Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali (author)
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Categories Autobiography and religion
Publication year 2007
Original publication year 2006
ISBN 978-1-4165-2624-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 353
Synopsis

The first part of the book is all about Ayaan's upbringing in Somalia (and her later emigrations elsewhere), while the latter part is about her career in the Netherlands and beyond.

Review

Ayaan describes her life in such vivid detail that it's impossible not to be drawn in by her writing. I found the first part of the book, if not boring, then at least not gripping, but by the latter part of the book, I was totally absorbed. She writes with intelligence and wit, and hers is a most amazing story. Highly recommended reading.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword by Christopher Hitchens
  • Introduction

Part I: My Childhood

  • Chapter 1: Bloodlines
  • Chapter 2: Under the Talal Tree
  • Chapter 3: Playing Tag in Allah's Palace
  • Chapter 4: Weeping Orphans and Widowed Wives
  • Chapter 5: Secret Rendezvous, Sex, and the Scent of Sukumawiki
  • Chapter 6: Doubt and Defiance
  • Chapter 7: Disillusion and Deceit
  • Chapter 8: Refugees
  • Chapter 9: Abeh

Part II: My Freedom

  • Chapter 10: Running Away
  • Chapter 11: A Trial by the Elders
  • Chapter 12: Haweya
  • Chapter 13: Leiden
  • Chapter 14: Leaving God
  • Chapter 15: Threats
  • Chapter 16: Politics
  • Chapter 17: The Murder of Theo
  • Epilogue: The Letter of the Law
  • Acknowledgments
Full title Letter to a Christian Nation [permalink]
Language English
Author Sam Harris (author)
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Category Religion
Publication year 2006
ISBN 0-307-26577-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 96
Synopsis

This book is a criticism of religion. Specifically, it criticizes the inherently stupid things being done by humans in the name of the particular branch of religion that they happen to have been brought up with (like opposing abortion, stem-cell research, and embracing the idea of martyrdom). It's written as an open letter to a Christian, so it didn't particularly speak to me, but I imagine a Christian might have a mind-opening experience if he read it.

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Full title The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed [permalink]
Language English
Author Bart D. Ehrman (author)
Categories History and religion
Publication year 2006
ISBN 978-0195343519 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Full title Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why [permalink]
Language English
Author Bart D. Ehrman (author)
Publisher HarperCollins
Categories History and religion
Publication year 2005
ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 242
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  1. The Beginnings of Christian Scripture
  2. The Copyists of the Early Christian Writings
  3. Texts of the New Testament: Editions, Manuscripts, and Differences
  4. The Quest for Origins: Methods and Discoveries
  5. Originals That Matter
  6. Theologically Motivated Alterations of the Text
  7. The Social Worlds of the Text
  • Conclusion: Changing Scripture: Scribes, Authors, and Readers
  • Notes
  • Index
Full title The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice [permalink]
Language English
Author Christopher Hitchens (author)
Publisher Verso
Categories Biography, politics and religion
Publication year 1995
ISBN 978-1-85984-054-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 98
Synopsis

This 98-page little book is a very short, critical introduction to the life of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known popularly as Mother Theresa.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword and Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • A Miracle
  • Good Works and Heroic Virtues
  • Ubiquity
  • Afterword
Full title The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer [permalink]
Language English
Author Christopher Hitchens (foreword)
Publisher Da Capo Press
Categories Anthology, philosophy and religion
Publication year 2007
Pages 499
Synopsis

A huge collection of writings by atheists about religion, faith, non-religion, reason, science, and logic, with biographical information on each author. Some of them are pretty dated, but they're interesting nonetheless.

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Full title The Reason-Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? [permalink]
Language English
Authors Robert M. Price (author) and Julia Sweeney (foreword)
Publisher Prometheus Books
Categories Bible, philosophy, religion and skepticism
Publication year 2006
ISBN 978-1-59102-476-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 363
Synopsis

The Reason-Driven Life is written as a response and critique of Rick Warren's similarly-titled book, The Purpose-Driven Life. It's structured in much the same way as Warren's book, with 40 chapters meant to be read over 40 days. At the end of each chapter is a Point to Ponder, a Quote to Remember, and a Question to Consider. It's written mainly for Christians who have actually read Warren's book, which I'm not and which I haven't.

Review

It's a somewhat interesting read in that Price is a Bible scholar and really knows his stuff, however the book is meant for someone with a different mentality than my own. So I had to imagine I was a fundamentalist Christian for most of the book. The tone of the book is very respectful, though forceful and to-the-point (all this to say that it's a very personal and honest book). I imagine a wavering intelligent (fundamentalist) Christian would really enjoy it, and maybe even be deconverted by it. Go for it if you're curious, but if you're like me (skeptical and non-religious by nature) you can safely skip it! There are other, better, Price books.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  1. It Is about You
  2. You Are a Work of Art
  3. One-Track Mind?
  4. Sons of Dust
  5. My View Is God's View
  6. No Changes Are Permanent, but Change Is
  7. The Mystery of Everything
  8. God: Planned for Our Pleasure
  9. What Makes Me Sick
  10. The Achilles' Heel of Worship
  11. Becoming Imaginary Friends with God
  12. Providence and Superstition
  13. Worship That Creates God
  14. I Can't Get No Sanctification
  15. Joining the Sect
  16. The Greatest of These
  17. A Place to Conform
  18. Heretics Anonymous
  19. Price's Ten Commandments
  20. Healing Religious Divisions
  21. Damage Control
  22. The Character of Christ
  23. When Is a Religion Not a Religion?
  24. This Paper Idol
  25. Jesus with a Jackhammer
  26. Satan's Sunday School
  27. Temp Job
  28. Jerusalem Wasn't Built in a Day
  29. Service Industry
  30. Cut Out the Holy Ghost Noise!
  31. Cogs for Christ
  32. Being Who You Are
  33. How Twisted Texts Scream
  34. Meetings with Unremarkable Men
  35. Was Is Peace/Freedom Is Slavery/Weakness Is Strength
  36. Made into Missionaries
  37. Fabricating Your Life Message
  38. The Hidden Agenda of Witnessing
  39. Juggling Your Life
  40. Not without Reason
  • Bibliography
Full title Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life [permalink]
Language English
Author Stephen Jay Gould (author)
Publisher Vintage Books
Categories Religion and science
Publication year 2002
Original publication year 1999
ISBN 978-0-099-28452-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 241
Synopsis

This is the book in which Gould lays out in full detail his concept of NOMA, Non-Overlapping Magisteria, the idea that science and religion are masters over different (and mutually incommunicable) realms. It's an attempt to reconcile the recent intellectual hostilities between scientists and people of faith by appealing to NOMA, saying that there doesn't have to be a conflict.

Review

I'm not sure if this book is winning me over to Gould's way of thinking, but it's extremely well written, interesting, and full of siren arguments and pretty poetry. I can definitely recommend it if you're interested in the history of the conflict between science and religion.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  1. The Problem Stated
    • Preamble
    • A Tale of Two Thomases
    • The Fate of Two Fathers
  2. The Problem Resolved in Principle
    • NOMA Defined and Defended
    • NOMA Illustrated
    • Coda and Segue
  3. Historical Reasons for Conflict
    • The Contingent Basis for Intensity
    • Columbus and the Flat Earth: An Example of the Fallacy of Warfare Between Science and Religion
    • Defending NOMA from Both Sides Now: The Struggle Against Modern Creationism
  4. Psychological Reasons for Conflict
    • Can Nature Nurture Our Hopes?
    • Nature's Cold Bath and Darwin's Defense of NOMA
    • The Two False Paths of Irenics
Full title The Satanic Bible [permalink]
Language English
Authors Anton Szandor LaVey (author) and Peter H. Gilmore (introduction)
Publisher Avon Books
Category Religion
Publication year 1969
ISBN 0-380-01539-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 272
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • INTRODUCTION
  • PREFACE
  • PROLOGUE
  • THE NINE SATANIC STATEMENTS

(FIRE)
—BOOK OF LUCIFER—
The Enlightenment

  • I Wanted!: God—Dead or Alive
  • II The God You SAVE May be Yourself
  • III Some Evidence of a New Satanic Age
  • IV Hell, the Devil, and How to Sell Your Soul
  • V Love and Hate
  • VI Satanic Sex
  • VII Not all Vampires Suck Blood
  • VIII Indulgence... NOT Compulsion
  • IX On the Choice of a Human Sacrifice
  • X Life After Death Through Fulfillment of the Ego
  • XI Religious Holidays
  • XII The Black Mass

(EARTH)
—BOOK OF BELIAL—
The Master of the Earth

  • I Theory and Practice of Satanic Magic: (Definition and Purpose of Lesser and Greater Magic)
  • II The Three Types of Satanic Ritual
  • III The Ritual, or "Intellectual Decompression," Chamber
  • IV The Ingredients Used in the Performance of Satanic Magic:
    • A. Desire
    • B. Timing
    • C. Imagery
    • D. Direction
    • E. The Balance Factor
  • V The Satanic Ritual:
    • A. Some Notes Which are to be Observed Before Beginning Ritual
    • B. The Thirteen Steps
    • C. Devices Used in Satanic Ritual

(WATER)
—BOOK OF LEVIATHAN—
The Raging Sea

  • I Invocation to Satan
  • II The Infernal Names
  • III Invocation Employed Towards the Conjuration of Lust
  • IV Invocation Employed Towards the Conjuration of Destruction
  • V Invocation Employed Towards the Conjuration of Compassion
  • VI The Enochian Keys (The nineteen Keys will be listed here in chronological order)
Full title The Satanic Rituals: Companion to The Satanic Bible [permalink]
Language English
Author Anton Szandor LaVey (author)
Publisher Avon Books
Category Religion
Publication year 1972
ISBN 0-380-01392-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 220
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • INTRODUCTION
  • CONCERNING THE RITUALS
  • THE ORIGINAL PSYCHODRAMA—Le Messe Noir
  • L'AIR EPAIS—The Ceremony of the Stifling Air
  • THE SEVENTH SATANIC STATEMENT—Das Tierdrama
  • THE LAW OF THE TRAPEZOID—Die elektrischen Vorspiele
  • NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN—Homage to Tehort
  • PILGRIMS OF THE AGE OF FIRE—The Statement of Shaitan
  • THE METAPHYSICS OF LOVECRAFT—The Ceremony of the Nine Angles and The Call to Cthulhu
  • THE SATANIC BAPTISMS—Adult Rite and Children's Ceremony
  • THE UNKNOWN KNOWN
Full title Tilslørt. Avslørt: Et oppgjør med norsk naivisme [permalink]
Translated title Veiled. Revealed: A Settlement with Norwegian Naiveté
Language Norwegian
Authors Hege Storhaug (author) and Solveig Lid Ball (illustrator)
Publisher Kagge Forlag
Categories Politics and religion
Publication year 2007
ISBN 978-82-489-0740-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 178
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Full title The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature — Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901–1902 [permalink]
Language English
Author William James (author)
Categories Philosophy, psychology and religion
Publication year 1902
Online version Link
Synopsis

This is the manuscript version of a series of lectures that the Harvard psychologist and philosopher William James gave in Edinburgh between 1901 and 1902 (the so-called Gifford series of lectures given annually at a number of Scottish universities). It explores, as the title implies, varieties of religious experience, from different parts of the world in different times and by different means (although, perhaps only to modern readers, the absence of a full discussion on animistic or primitive or tribal religion is conspicuous). These lectures contain a plethora of case studies, excerpts, and poignant vignettes on whatever the subject happens to be, which really helps give the expositions more context.

Review

I think I will have to re-read this book eventually, as I don't feel I can give a proper review not having really understood it completely.

Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • LECTURE I: Religion and Neurology
  • LECTURE II: Circumscription of the Topic
  • LECTURE III: The Reality of the Unseen
  • LECTURES IV AND V: The Religion of Healthy-mindedness
  • LECTURES VI AND VII: The Sick Soul
  • LECTURE VIII: The Divided Self, and the Process of its Unification
  • LECTURE IX: Conversion
  • LECTURE X: Conversion—concluded
  • LECTURES XI, XII, AND XIII: Saintliness
  • LECTURES XIV AND XV: The Value of Saintliness
  • LECTURES XVI AND XVII: Mysticism
  • LECTURE XVIII: Philosophy
  • LECTURE XIX: Other Characteristics
  • LECTURE XX: Conclusions
  • Postscript
Full title Words in Genesis [permalink]
Language English
Authors Isaac Asimov (author) and William Barss (illustrator)
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Categories History, religion and science
Publication year 1962
Pages 233
Synopsis

Asimov explains, as the book is titled, the words in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

Review

This is actually more than simply a list and explanation of the words used in Genesis. It goes into great detail into important verses in Genesis, explaining the history behind the verses as well as the etymologies of the words used (Asimov was Jewish by descent and spoke Yiddish, which helps). There are even appendices with maps of the relevant areas of the time, and genealogies of antediluvian (pre-Flood) and postdiluvian patriarchs.

Images Back flap of Words in Genesis.Back of Words in Genesis.Spine of Words in Genesis.Front of Words in Genesis.Front flap of Words in Genesis.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Author's Note
  • Introduction — The Bible
  • 1 In the Beginning
  • 2 The Garden of Eden
  • 3 The Descendants of Adam
  • 4 The Flood
  • 5 Abraham
  • 6 Isaac
  • 7 Jacob
  • 8 Joseph
  • Appendices
  • Index

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