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What's the best religious book you've read?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by sandandfoam, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    I think the best one I've read is Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen. What's the best you've read?
     
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  2. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    "Does God Have a Nature?" Alvin Plantinga
     
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  3. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    What makes this the 'stand out' book for you?
     
  4. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    I was in a couple weeks long conversation with Plantinga about transcendental arguments regarding God and he suggested that I pick it up, claiming it would address my questions.

    It didn't, but it was very thorough in explaining different conceptions of metaphysical transcendence, God, and what it means to say "God's nature" and whether things like identity (a property God exemplifies) can be "part of God's nature" without putting the cart before the horse.

    Plantinga is wrong, but I learned a lot from his book. So it stands out as the best book related to religion I've read... unless we're counting books on atheism, in which case it would be George H. Smith's "Atheism: The Case Against God."
     
  5. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    I think books on atheism count.
    What about Smith's book in particular grabbed you?
     
  6. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    Many books on atheism just take arguments for God's existence and refute them, and then pretty much say "Well, there we go! Therefore, atheism!" which I find as distasteful as creationists who try to poke holes in evolution and then say "Well, therefore creationism!"

    Smith's book, though it is littered with some Objectivist tripe (it's obvious Smith was fond of Ayn Rand), starts from first principles and lays out both an ontological case for atheism and an epistemic case for atheism. He distinguishes between weak and strong atheists, correctly recognizes that agnosticism isn't some third fence-sitting position (and that atheism is ontological, agnosticism is epistemic), and then systematically examines many of the imaginable justifications for theism. His chapter on faith for instance examines many different provided definitions of "faith" from various theologians and what it means for belief in God and demonstrates how none of them are rational.

    He does handle the standard theistic arguments from history and a few modern ones, but like I said his book stands out because it goes so much further beyond that. Smith is a competent philosopher and makes Dawkins' foray into metaphysics look like an undergraduate blunder.
     
  7. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

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    Religious texts? Tao Te Ching, hands down.

    But my collection of 'religious texts' is very shallow and limited.
     
  8. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    The one that really got me started thinking about Christianity.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Well-Known Member

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    Recently, Making the Crooked Straight, by Schaefer et al..

    It's an apology (which means "defense") of the Baha'i Faith written in response to a book attacking the Faith written by a certain individual.

    This book, fully 850 pages long (and available in both English and German) refutes his charges in detail and in the process presents a far more accurate (and more positive) picture of the Faith!

    (It's also in the pipeline for eventual online release.)

    Definitely a superior read! :)

    Bruce
     
  10. UnityNow101

    UnityNow101 Well-Known Member

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    The Book of Secrets by Osho Bhagwan Rajneesh.
     
  11. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    The Qur'an was very eye opening for me in regards to my own heritage, as it often speaks about prominet men from my culture and about my own people.
    Books in the Hebrew bible such as Ecclessiastes, Psalms, Song of Songs, the book of Job and several others are written excpetionally well and contain great literary material.
     
  12. Onkara

    Onkara Well-Known Member

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    The Bhagavad Gita with commentary has changed my life. I wasn't following Sananta Dharma when I started to read it. Also the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, of the the Sikhs. Both are online.
     
  13. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    For me it was the Bhagavad Gita.
     
  14. Onkara

    Onkara Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. This is the problem I have had when reading the Qu'ran and Bible, I don't feel related to the people.
     
  15. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    And this is an interesting point? trust me you are as irrelevant to these people, if not more.
     
  16. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Further more, both cultures and civiliazations are much more relevant on the world stage and much more influential than Dharmic societies. ergo the fact that these people do not interest you means that you are out of the game for the most part.
     
  17. Onkara

    Onkara Well-Known Member

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    I hope my comment didn't come across disrespectful. That was far from my intention :eek:
    I think it is a grace to be able to pick up the Bible or Qu'ran and feel you are looking at your ancestory (and much more). My irrelevance is not of any concern to me anymore. :)
     
  18. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    Ajahn Chah, Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha's Teachings.

    Actually, anything by Ajahn Chah. A close second would be Dropping Ashes on the Buddha: The Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn.

    Best non-Buddhist book: Tao Te Ching.
    Best Christian book: The Way of a Pilgrim.
    Best Quaker book: Journal of the Life and Religious Labors of Elias Hicks.
    Best Protestant book: James H. Cone, God of the Oppressed.
    Best Catholic book: The Cloud of Unknowing.

    Best non-religious book about religion: Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian.
     
  19. Onkara

    Onkara Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I see it has influenced you since posting :)
    I read many of Osho's books, but not this one. Is this one of his that stood out for you?
     
  20. UnityNow101

    UnityNow101 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, certainly. Interestingly enough, I have come to the teachings of Osho through the critical observations of two of my previous influences, Jiddu Krishnamurti and UG Krishnamurti. In this book, Osho goes through each of the 112 different techniques found in the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra treatise and it has profoundly had an impact on me. Not only did it expound on the hidden meanings of the treatise, but it showed me how I can use that type of expose to go deeper into the ancient texts which have always left me baffled and confused..
     
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