ABBEY'S CHOICE MAY 2016 -----
This is a major work of non-fiction by one of Australia's most respected authors. Hugh Mackay takes on one of the biggest topics of our time: the declining role of religion in our society. In this he follows writers such as Dawkins and Hitchens, but his arguments are more conciliatory. Like them, he grasps the absurdity of certain religious concepts and their relevance to contemporary life, but he also argues that for the sake of our humanity we need to believe in something bigger than ourselves.
Mackay looks at the many paradoxes of belief. He questions why 61 per cent of us say we believe in God, but only 8 per cent of us go to church. He looks at the various ways we try to find other forms of transcendence in our stridently materialistic lives. And he warns of what may be lost with the wholesale casting out of spirituality. He admits that the Christian ideal of the good life - a life lived for others - is what would should aspire to, but argues that one can take a non-Christian path to the same place.
Mackay's book cannot but incite debate. He exposes the deep vein of ambivalence that runs through our society: we may not actively worship, but we use 'our' church to marry and commemorate our dead. He points out some uncomfortable truths, such as our tendency to only call on God in a crisis, and unpacks our endearing, enduring human need to believe, to make sense of a universe that is well beyond the understanding of science or reason.
Mary Magdalene is a larger figure than any text, larger than the Bible or the Church; she has taken on a life of her own. She has been portrayed as a penitent whore, a wealthy woman, Christ's wife, an adulteress, a symbol of the frailty of women and an object of veneration. And, to this day, she remains a potent and mysterious figure. In the manner of a quest, this book follows Mary Magdalene through the centuries, explores how she has been reinterpreted for every age, and examines what she herself reveals about man and the divine. It will follow her from the Gnostic gospels, where she is extolled as the chief disciple of Christ, through the early Church's reimagining of her as a fallen woman, to the Renaissance artists for whom she became a symbol of compassion and humanity, and into the present day, when once again, we are seeing Mary Magdalene as a symbol of a new and powerful femininity.
The Sikh religion has a following of over 20 million people worldwide. However,events such as the verbal and physical attacks on Sikhs just after September 11, where Sikhs were being mistaken for Muslims, suggest that the Sikh faith still remains mysterious to many. This Very Short Introduction introduces newcomers to the meaning of the Sikh religious tradition, its teachings, practices, rituals and festivals. Eleanor Nesbitt highlights and contextualizes the key threads in the history of Sikhism, from the first Gurus to martyrdom, militarization, and the increasingly significant diaspora. Examining gender, caste, and the changes that are currently underway in the faith, Nesbitt considers contemporary Sikh identities and their role in our world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Eternal fire, diabolical torment, graphic mortification of the flesh and a smoke-filled underworld pierced by the despairing shrieks of the damned: the idea of Hell has for thousands of years exerted both fascination and terror. And despite its horrors, it is hard to resist its almost seductive allure. Whether expressed in medieval Doom paintings and grim warnings of everlasting suffering, or in modern psychological interpretations, the belief in a ghastly terminus for the souls of the cursed has proved remarkably resilient and persistent. It has far outlived specific portrayals by artists, writers and theologians, and has seemed far more resonant an idea than either a heavenly Paradise or New Jerusalem. Why has hell retained this extraordinary potency, even as western society has become more sceptical and secular? In her rich and wide-ranging book, Margaret Kean tells the history of hell through literature, philosophy, art, music and film. She shows that affirmations of human freedom and the value of the individual have remained closely tied to the notion of hell even as contemporary narratives have replaced a medieval mindset. From Dante and Bosch to Blake and Milton, and from Joseph Conrad and Primo Levi to Angel Heart, Alien 3 and Event Horizon, Kean vividly explores hell as both secular confessional and divinely ordained penal colony - as metaphor for alienation and infernal locale for one's never-ending worst nightmare.
Prizewinning historian Garry Wills argues that changes have been the evidence of life in the Catholic Church. It has often changed, sometimes with unwanted consequences, more often with good. In this brilliant and incisive study, he gives seven examples of deep and serious change that have taken place (or is taking place) within the last century. As Wills contends, it is only by examining the history of the Church that we can understand Pope Francis's and the Church's challenges.
Peter, Matthew, Thomas, John: Who were these men and what was their relationship to Jesus? Tom Bissell gives us rich and deeply informed answers to those ancient questions. Written with warmth, humour, and a rare acumen, Apostle is a brilliant and exhaustive synthesis of travel writing, centuries of biblical history, and a deep lifelong relationship with Christianity. Bissell explores not just who these renowned and pious men were (and weren't), but how their identities have taken shape over two millennia. Bissell, in his search for this elusive set of truths, has traveled the world, visiting holy sites from Rome and Jerusalem to Turkey, India, and Kyrgyzstan, and he captures vividly the rich diversity of Christianity's global reach. Apostle is an unusual, erudite, and hilarious book, an intoxicating combination of religious, intellectual, and personal adventure.
In this provocative book, evolutionary biologist Jerry A. Coyne lays out in clear, dispassionate detail why the toolkit of science, based on reason and empirical study, is reliable, while that of religion - including faith, dogma, and revelation-leads to incorrect, untestable, or conflicting conclusions.
Coyne is responding to a national climate in which more than half of Americans don't believe in evolution, members of Congress deny global warming, and long-conquered childhood diseases are reappearing because of religious objections to inoculation, and he warns that religious prejudices in politics, education, medicine, and social policy are on the rise. Extending the bestselling works of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, he demolishes the claims of religion to provide verifiable "truth" by subjecting those claims to the same tests we use to establish truth in science.
Coyne irrefutably demonstrates the grave harm-to individuals and to our planet - in mistaking faith for fact in making the most important decisions about the world we live in.
The Hebrew Bible, or Christian Old Testament, contains some of the finest literature that we have. This biblical literature has a place not only in the synagogue or the church but also among the classics of world literature. The stories of Jacob and David, for instance, present the earliest surviving examples of literary characters whose development the reader follows over the length of a lifetime. Elsewhere, as in the books of Esther or Ruth, readers find a snapshot of a particular, fraught moment that will define the character. The Hebrew Bible also provides quite a few high points of lyric poetry, from the praise and lament of the Psalms to the double entendres in the love of poetry of the Song of Songs. In short, the Bible can be celebrated not only as religious literature but, quite simply, as literature. This book offers a thorough and lively introduction to the Bible's two primary literary modes, narrative and poetry, foregrounding the nuances of plot, character, metaphor, structure and design, and intertextual allusions. Tod Linafelt thus gives readers the tools to fully experience and appreciate the Old Testament's literary achievement.
An attractive new edition of the English Standard Version of the Bible, the world's fastest-growing Bible translation. Ideal as a gift or for personal use. The ESV Thinline Bible complete with high quality, sophisticated, Paisley Tan imitation leather cover, is a fantastic value edition of the world's fastest-growing Bible translation. It is less than an inch thick, but it still contains a concordance and the complete text of the official Anglicised ESV Bible in a highly readable font size. This edition comes complete with British English text, and its many helpful features include: * British English Text * Double-column format with black letter text * Concordance * Gilt page edges
An attractive new edition of the English Standard Version of the Bible, the world's fastest-growing Bible translation. Ideal as a gift or for personal use. The ESV Thinline Bible complete with high quality, sophisticated, Racing Green imitation leather cover, is a fantastic value edition of the world's fastest-growing Bible translation. It is less than an inch thick, but it still contains a concordance and the complete text of the official Anglicised ESV Bible in a highly readable font size. This edition comes complete with British English text, and its many helpful features include: * British English Text * Double-column format with black letter text * Concordance * Gilt page edges
As Co-founder and Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church and founder of The Colour Sisterhood, Bobbie Houston paints a vision of God's plan for women of all ages and backgrounds to flourish, empower each other, and unite to change the world.
We don't need to look far to realize that not all women live with the same opportunities and confidence. THE SISTERHOOD invites women to explore and expand what they believe about God, themselves, and their responsibility to the world around them. Tracing the rise of Hillsong Church's global Sisterhood movement, author Bobbie Houston challenges women to join her in creating a new era of outreach. Readers will learn how to embrace their individual gifts and value as women, growing seeds of change into greater possibilities for women everywhere.
If one woman can change her world, then only heaven truly knows what an entire company of women can achieve.