Grace Without God

Author: Katherine Ozment
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062305158
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Meet “the Nones”—In this thought-provoking exploration of secular America, celebrated journalist Katherine Ozment takes readers on a quest to understand the trends and ramifications of a nation in flight from organized religion. Studies show that religion makes us happier, healthier and more giving, connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. Most Americans are raised in a religious tradition, but in recent decades many have begun to leave religion, and with it their ancient rituals, mythic narratives, and sense of belonging. So how do the nonreligious fill the need for ritual, story, community, and, above all, purpose and meaning without the one-stop shop of religion? What do they do with the space left after religion? With Nones swelling to one-fourth of American adults, and more than one-third of those under thirty, these questions have never been more urgent. Writer, journalist, and secular mother of three Katherine Ozment came face-to-face with the fundamental issue of the Nones when her son asked her the simplest of questions: “what are we?” Unsettled by her reply—“Nothing”—she set out on a journey to find a better answer. She traversed the frontier of American secular life, sought guidance in science and the humanities, talked with noted scholars, and wrestled with her own family’s attempts to find meaning and connection after religion. Insightful, surprising, and compelling, Grace Without God is both a personal and critical exploration of the many ways nonreligious Americans create their own meaning and purpose in an increasingly secular age.

Grace Without God

Author: Katherine Ozment
Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 9780062305138
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Meet “the Nones”—In this thought-provoking exploration of secular America, celebrated journalist Katherine Ozment takes readers on a quest to understand the trends and ramifications of a nation in flight from organized religion. Studies show that religion makes us happier, healthier and more giving, connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. Most Americans are raised in a religious tradition, but in recent decades many have begun to leave religion, and with it their ancient rituals, mythic narratives, and sense of belonging. So how do the nonreligious fill the need for ritual, story, community, and, above all, purpose and meaning without the one-stop shop of religion? What do they do with the space left after religion? With Nones swelling to one-fourth of American adults, and more than one-third of those under thirty, these questions have never been more urgent. Writer, journalist, and secular mother of three Katherine Ozment came face-to-face with the fundamental issue of the Nones when her son asked her the simplest of questions: “what are we?” Unsettled by her reply—“Nothing”—she set out on a journey to find a better answer. She traversed the frontier of American secular life, sought guidance in science and the humanities, talked with noted scholars, and wrestled with her own family’s attempts to find meaning and connection after religion. Insightful, surprising, and compelling, Grace Without God is both a personal and critical exploration of the many ways nonreligious Americans create their own meaning and purpose in an increasingly secular age.

A None s Story

Author: Corinna Nicolaou
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231541252
Format: PDF
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The rising population known as "nones" for its members' lack of religious affiliation is changing American society, politics, and culture. Many nones believe in God and even visit places of worship, but they do not identify with a specific faith or belong to a spiritual community. Corinna Nicolaou is a none, and in this layered narrative, she describes what it is like for her and thousands of others to live without religion or to be spiritual without committing to a specific faith. Nicolaou tours America's major traditional religions to see what, if anything, one might lack without God. She moves through Christianity's denominations, learning their tenets and worshiping alongside their followers. She travels to Los Angeles to immerse herself in Judaism, Berkeley to educate herself about Buddhism, and Dallas and Washington, D.C., to familiarize herself with Islam. She explores what light they can shed on the fears and failings of her past, and these encounters prove the significant role religion still plays in modern life. They also exemplify the vibrant relationship between religion and American culture and the enduring value it provides to immigrants and outsiders. Though she remains a devout none, Nicolaou's experiences reveal points of contact between the religious and the unaffiliated, suggesting that nones may be radically revising the practice of faith in contemporary times.

Living the Secular Life

Author: Phil Zuckerman
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0143127934
Format: PDF
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Over the last 25 years, 'no religion' has become the fastest-growing religion in the Western World. Revealing the inspiring beliefs that empower secular culture - alongside real stories of nonreligious men and women based on extensive in-depth interviews from across the U.S. - Living the Secular Life will be indispensable for millions of secular people. A manifesto for a booming social movement and a revelatory survey of an overlooked community, this book offers essential and long-awaited information for anyone building a life based on his or her own principles

How God Became God

Author: Richard M. Smoley
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0399185569
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This epic, thrilling journey through Bible scholarship and ancient religion shows how much of Scripture is historically false--yet the ancient writings also resound with theologies that crisscrossed the primeval world and that direct us today toward a deep, inner, authentic experience of the truly sacred. From a historical perspective, the Bible is shockingly, provably wrong--a point supported by today's best archaeological and historical scholarship but not well understood by (or communicated to) the public. Yet this emphatically does not mean that the Bible isn't, in some very real measure, true, argues scholar of mysticism Richard Smoley. Smoley reviews the most authoritative historical evidence to demonstrate that figures such as Moses, Abraham, and Jesus are not only unlikely to have existed, but bear strong composite resemblances to other Near Eastern religious icons. Likewise, the geopolitical and military events of Scripture fail to mesh with the largely settled historical time line and social structures. Smoley meticulously shows how our concepts of the Hebrew and Christian God, including Christ himself, are an assemblage of ideas that were altered, argued over, and edited--until their canonization. This process, to a large degree, gave Western civilization its consensus view of God. But these conclusions are not cause for nihilism or disbelief. Rather, beneath the metaphorical figures and mythical historicism of Scripture appears an extraordinary, truly transcendent theology born from the most sacred and fully realized spiritual and human insights of the antique Eastern world. Far from being "untrue," the Bible is remarkably, extraordinarily true as it connects us to the sublime insights of our ancient ancestors and points to a unifying ethic behind many of the world's faiths. From the Trade Paperback edition.

With Or Without God

Author: Gretta Vosper
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
ISBN: 1554689309
Format: PDF, Docs
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Envisioning a future in which the Christian church plays a viable and transformative role in shaping society, Gretta Vosper argues that if the church is to survive at all, the heart of faith must undergo a radical change. Vosper, founder of the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity and a minister in Toronto, believes that what will save the church is an emphasis on just and compassionate living -- a new and wholly humanistic approach to religion. Without this reform, the church as we know it faces extinction. Vosper addresses the issues of spiritual fulfillment, comfort and connection in the modern world through a thoughtful and passionate discourse. She urges a renewal of old doctrines but does so with dignity and respect. Offering difficult but penetrating insights into a new generation of spiritually aware -- and spiritually open -- people, With or Without God offers a startling model for a renewed church as a leader in ethics, fostering relationships, meaning and values that are solidly rooted in our own selves.

How Not to Be Secular

Author: James K. A. Smith
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 0802867618
Format: PDF, Kindle
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How (Not) to Be Secular is what Jamie Smith calls "your hitchhiker's guide to the present" -- it is both a reading guide to Charles Taylor's monumental work A Secular Age and philosophical guidance on how we might learn to live in our times. Taylor's landmark book A Secular Age (2007) provides a monumental, incisive analysis of what it means to live in the post-Christian present -- a pluralist world of competing beliefs and growing unbelief. Jamie Smith's book is a compact field guide to Taylor's insightful study of the secular, making that very significant but daunting work accessible to a wide array of readers. Even more, though, Smith's How (Not) to Be Secular is a practical philosophical guidebook, a kind of how-to manual on how to live in our secular age. It ultimately offers us an adventure in self-understanding and maps out a way to get our bearings in today's secular culture, no matter who "we" are -- whether believers or skeptics, devout or doubting, self-assured or puzzled and confused. This is a book for any thinking person to chew on.

A SECULAR AGE

Author: Charles TAYLOR
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674044282
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The place of religion in society has changed profoundly in the last few centuries, particularly in the West. In what will be a defining book for our time, Taylor takes up the question of what these changes mean, and what, precisely, happens when a society becomes one in which faith is only one human possibility among others.

Rise and Fall of Faith

Author: Drew Bekius
Publisher: Pitchstone Publishing (US&CA)
ISBN: 1634311116
Format: PDF, ePub
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The story of religion in the twenty-first-century West has been defined, in part, by the stories of once-zealous pastors moving beyond their faith to embrace a life of reason. But too often and too quickly ardent believers dismiss such accounts as aberrations and fail to consider the real-life implications for those who make this transition. Atheists and other skeptics, meanwhile, struggle to understand what took these individuals so long to make such a journey—and why others aren't lining up more quickly to do the same. As a result, the questions posed by one side inevitably mirror those asked by the other. Why do believers trust in God the way they do? But what factors lead atheists to dismiss religious beliefs so easily? How can believers have faith in the face of known science and history? But what allows anyone to be so sure their beliefs are based in reality? What would it take for believers to stop believing in God? But what would it take for nonbelievers to start to believe? Drawing on the author's own story as a former evangelical pastor powerless to stop his turn to atheism, The Rise and Fall of Faith touches on these and other questions, inviting readers into a long-overdue conversation between Christians and atheists. While the aim of the book is to initiate this much-needed discussion, the author encourages all who care about the future of humanity to carry the dialogue forward—whether in the evaluation of our own inner thoughts, in the assumptions we make about the other side, or in how we work together in the pursuit of understanding and common ground as we navigate the world's ever-changing and increasingly challenging religious and cultural landscape.