You Gotta Have Faith: Books About Religion


"Faith...must be enforced by reason...When faith becomes blind, it dies." -- Mahatma Gandhi

I've always considered myself a spiritual man. As a Roman Catholic, I've experienced moments in my life that have tested my faith. Yet, the more I examine the beliefs that have shaped my life, the more questions that have popped up, and the more answers I've struggled with, the stronger it seems my faith grows.

Here are some books I recommend if you're interested in exploring world religions...

A History of God by Karen Armstrong -- This wonderfully written examination of the three major Western religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) explores their origins, their evolution, their differences, and most importantly their common bonds. I recommend any book written by Ms. Armstrong.

World Religions: The Great Faiths Explored and Explained by John Bowker -- If you want a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated tome that examines the major religions of the world, from Hinduism, to Buddhism, to Native American religions, and many others, this is it.

Why Faith Matters by David J. Wolpe -- With all the books out there extolling atheism (and remember, atheism is an act of faith too), this nicely written book argues that despite the negatives associated with organized religions, there is still plenty of good that can come from spiritual faith.

Jesus Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman -- One of the agnostic voices out there is Mr. Ehrman, and even though fundamentalists have vilified him for allegedly trying to convert people to abandon their beliefs, I love reading his well-thought out and researched books because he encourages people to examine what they believe. Much of what is in this book I had already learned from my Jesuit teachers at Fordham and from my own independent studies, but I still recommend people read it and draw their own conclusions.

God: A Biography by Jack Miles -- What if you look at the Bible as a novel and God as a character? This wonderful experiment allows the writer to delve into some interesting issues and view the stories in the Bible from a whole new perspective. The sequel, Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God, is also an interesting read.

Rabbi Jesus by Bruce Chilton -- An important acknowledgement of the Jewish basis of the teachings of the historic Yeshua. The author, in my opinion, tends to make many unsupported conclusions, (like assuming that Jesus was illiterate, etc., all of which are still debatable), but the book is still worth reading.

Meeting the Living God by William J. O'Malley -- I love this book. Reading it has gotten me through a number of crises in faith during my life.

Why I Am a Catholic by Garry Wills -- Easy to read and insightful, I had a personal connection with this book, but I think others, even of different religious denominations, will find it enjoyable and thought provoking.

There are many others, and these I've mentioned are a hodge-podge of different styles, but if you're interested in the topic, I think they're good ones to add to your library.

Comments

Leslie said…
Although not necessarily about religion, I came across this youtube video about Mitch Albom's new book: Have A Little Faith. It's about reconnecting with faith, whichever faith that may be. I highly recommend watching this video, it's truly touching:

http://bit.ly/gagZ7
Nick said…
Thanks for the link, Leslie. Great video.