ABBEY'S CHOICE DECEMBER 2016
----- In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. The inextricable embedment of religion in Muslim culture has forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents' religion: disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisoned, or even sentenced to death by their governments.
Struggling to reconcile the Muslim society he was living in as a scientist and physician and the religion he was being raised in, Ali A. Rizvi eventually loses his faith. Discovering that he is not alone in his beliefs, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to represent the voices that are usually quashed before reaching the mainstream media - the Atheist Muslim.
In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticise Islam - as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas - without demonising his entire people.
Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.
Philosophy of Religion is an engaging introduction to the main tenets of this fascinating subject, written clearly and with detailed enough explanation to be accessible to those new to the field, whilst providing original and challenging ideas to more experienced students. * The ideal introduction to this fascinating subject, providing a clear and engaging entry point to the field * The book lucidly introduces the main issues in philosophy of religion and develops a rigorous yet accessible approach to evaluating positions on these issues * No previous exposure to philosophy is assumed, and more technical topics are introduced and explained before they are employed * Original ideas and new approaches to concepts within the book ensure that it is also relevant to those already familiar with the subject
Tao has been built into the foundation of East Asian culture for millennia, and many books have been written to explain it. But Tao cannot fully be explained in words; it can only felt and experienced. Tao is something you live, day by day, moment by moment. It s the omnipresent oneness beyond ephemeral phenomena that expresses itself in everything. New York Times bestselling author Ilchi Lee, an enlightened Tao master from South Korea, has laid out a path to living Tao everyday. Along this path, he guides you to an understanding of the meaning of birth, death, and everything in between, building a foundation for living a complete and whole life. The universal principles contained in Living Tao: Timeless Principles for Everyday Enlightenment stem from the Korean practice of Sundo, an ancient tradition of mind-body training, as well as Lee s own life experience. With these tangible principles, Ilchi Lee makes this profound topic simple and accessible. Living Tao has an unparalleled depth in its simplicity that anyone can absorb and immediately apply.
According to traditions going back to pre-Vedic times, Kali sprang from the third eye of the Goddess Durga as a destructive and terrifying manifestation of feminine power sent to lay waste to the forces of evil. Throughout India to this day, Kali is worshipped as the destroyer of bondage, capable of liberating her devotee from all rules and subjugation. In The Tantric Kali, Daniel Odier presents the mythology, practices, and rituals of Kali worship in the Tantric Kaula tradition within Kashmiri Shaivism. He reveals the practices of Vamachara, commonly known as the Left-hand Path but more accurately translated as the Path of Shakti. In this tradition the body itself is Kali's temple, and it is therefore unnecessary to reject or deny the body to know union with the divine. Instead, nothing is regarded as pure or impure and there is complete freedom from rules. Focused on working directly with forbidden emotions and behaviors, this path allows the seeker to transcend obstacles to liberation through sexual union. According to the Kaula Upanishad, In your behavior do the opposite to what the norms dictate but remain in consciousness. This is the essence of Tantra. Kali is absolute reality: manifested as woman intoxicated by desire, she frees the tantric practitioner from all desire except union with the divine.
Taisen Deshimaru (1914-1982) was a Japanese Zen Master, and the individual largely responsible for bringing Soto Zen to Europe. A legendary figure, widely acknowledged throughout the Zen world, he stands in the ranks of the great Zen teachers of modern times, including, Suzuki Roshi, Maezumi Roshi, and others. This second edition of his book The Voice of the Valley, first issued in 1979, contains the pure Deshimaru vintage-teaching. Uniquely, it is one of the few Zen books treating the subject of karma, a principle deeply entrenched in Hindu and some Buddhist traditions, but rarely taught within Zen.
Karma generally refers to the principle of cause and effect, acknowledging that each individual will “reap what they sow,” whether in this lifetime or some future life. Deshimaru, however, explains that this doctrine really has nothing to do with a simple good or bad balance-chart for the individual person, but rather concerns the activity of humanity as a whole. He highlights the necessity for clearly seeing one’s own thinking, which is creating the hell that we and others endure?an immediate karmic payback.
With zazen, a practitioner becomes not only acquainted with the contents of mind, but able to refocus it, allowing the body to “think” in ways that are beneficial to oneself and others. As he compares this doctrine of karma within Mahayana Buddhism with Western philosophy, he points to the need for wise and ethical action in all aspects of life. His dedication, like that of great masters in all traditions, is with the relief of suffering and the clarity needed to pierce to the cause of suffering. Serious sitting practice, in the way he presents it, creates that access.
The book is a live record of the Master’s teaching content (kusens) and his style of presentation during a practice sesshin (retreat) of several days. Deshimaru spoke in English, and his words were recorded and compiled from notes taken by the editor (Coupey) and other students. His subjects are as timely today as they were in the late ‘70s. At a time when contemporary Zen practice has been co-opted by the culture of “new and now,” his teachings do not compromise. This is no self-oriented “wellness Zen” cultivated for feeling more relaxed. This is the real deal, a call to a stark, “no-gain” approach to clear perception of reality from one who studied and practiced this tradition fully aligned to its source. As such, this book is a precious vehicle of direct transmission.
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.
Faith and Sword gives a concise history of what has arguably been the longest conflict in human history - a conflict that continues, in a new form, to this day. The overtly religious Christian-Muslim struggle lasted for nearly thirteen centuries, and for most of that period the Muslims were in the ascendant. The Christians eventually halted the tide of Arab conquest, but their counterstroke in the Crusades ended in failure and the Muslim threat was renewed by the Ottoman Turks.
Only after 1600 did the Christians finally begin to gain the upper hand, with the fall of the Ottoman empire after the First World War seeming to mark the final victory of the Christians. Between 1918 and 1979, however, the Christian-Muslim conflict continued, but in a less obviously religious form. Christendom became the largely secularised West, and Muslim success in throwing off European colonialism owed more to secular nationalists than religious leaders.
After the Iranian revolution of 1979 the picture changed again: religious fundamentalism revived on the Muslim side and the USA became its principal target. Today the USA has never been more militarily dominant, yet it is rendered insecure by a tiny minority of religious militants whose outlook is said to have been superseded by the march of history.
Alan G. Jamieson provides a wide-ranging and detailed survey of this conflict through all its stages, and shows how the present situation has emerged. He ranges widely in time, from the original Arab conquests in the seventh century to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. All areas of conflict are included, from Morocco to Indonesia, and from Russia to Somalia. This authoritative and readable study will appeal equally to scholars, students and the general reader, giving an accessible introduction to one of the most important conflicts of our time.
Published to mark the 500th anniversary of the events of 1517, Reformation Divided explores the impact in England of the cataclysmic transformations of European Christianity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The religious revolution initiated by Martin Luther is usually referred to as 'The Reformation', a tendentious description implying that the shattering of the medieval religious foundations of Europe was a single process, in which a defective form of Christianity was replaced by one that was unequivocally benign, 'the midwife of the modern world'. The book challenges these assumptions by tracing the ways in which the project of reforming Christendom from within, initiated by Christian 'humanists' like Erasmus and Thomas More, broke apart into conflicting and often murderous energies and ideologies, dividing not only Catholic from Protestant, but creating deep internal rifts within all the churches which emerged from Europe's religious conflicts.
The book is in three parts: In 'Thomas More and Heresy', Duffy examines how and why England's greatest humanist apparently abandoned the tolerant humanism of his youthful masterpiece Utopia, and became the bitterest opponent of the early Protestant movement. 'Counter-Reformation England' explores the ways in which post-Reformation English Catholics accommodated themselves to a complex new identity as persecuted religious dissidents within their own country, but in a European context, active participants in the global renewal of the Catholic Church. The book's final section 'The Godly and the Conversion of England' considers the ideals and difficulties of radical reformers attempting to transform the conventional Protestantism of post-Reformation England into something more ardent and committed.
In addressing these subjects, Duffy shines new light on the fratricidal ideological conflicts which lasted for more than a century, and whose legacy continues to shape the modern world.
Everyone loves a Christmas carol - in the end, even Scrooge. They have the power to summon up a special kind of midwinter mood, like the aroma of mince pies and mulled wine and the twinkle of lights on a tree. It's a kind of magic. But how did they get that magic? In Christmas Carols Andrew Gant tells the story of some twenty carols, each accompanied by lyrics and music, unravelling a captivating - and often surprising - tale of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys, choirboys, monks and drunks. We delve into the history of such favourites as 'Good King Wenceslas', 'Away in a Manger' and 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', discovering along the way how 'Hark, the Herald angels sing' came to replace 'Hark, how all the welkin ring' and how Ralph Vaughan Williams bolted the tune of an English folk song about a dead ox to a poem by a nineteenth-century American pilgrim to make 'O little town of Bethlehem'. Christmas Carols brims with anecdote, expert knowledge and Christmas spirit. It is a fittingly joyous account of one of our best-loved musical traditions.
John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is one of the most significant works of English literature. Translated into more than 200 languages, there was a time when almost every household in Britain was more likely to have a copy than the Bible. This classic biography of Bunyan by one of the leading historians of the 17th century offers a reassessment of the man in the context of his times. He is usually studied and remembered as the author of The Pilgrim's Progress and other Christian literature, but his own consideration of himself would most probably have been as a preacher first and foremost-a man whose nonconformist religion led him into conflict with the Quakers and into years of imprisonment. It was in the service of this religion that his writings were produced, many of them during the nearly twelve years spent in Bedford jail between 1660 and 1672. An extraordinary insight into John Bunyan, one of the towering figures of English literature, this remains the definitive biography.
Ireland, 1919: When Sinn Fein proclaims Dail Eireann the parliament of the independent Irish republic, London declares the new assembly to be illegal, and a vicious guerilla war breaks out between republican and crown forces. Michael Collins, intelligence chief of the Irish Republican Army, creates an elite squad whose role is to assassinate British agents and undercover police. The so-called 'Twelve Apostles' will create violent mayhem, culminating in the events of 'Bloody Sunday' in November 1920. Bestselling historian Tim Pat Coogan not only tells the story of Collins' squad, he also examines the remarkable intelligence network of which it formed a part, and which helped to bring the British government to the negotiating table.
His likeable, spontaneous, unguarded manner has drawn both estranged Catholics and even non-Catholics to take a closer look at the Catholic Church. He has also puzzled and even outraged the faithful who listened uncritically to the media's interpretation of Pope Francis's off-the-cuff commentary on hot-button issues such as abortion, marriage, divorce, the environment, immigration, and a host of other issues. Meanwhile, younger Catholics aren't analyzing him. They are simply gazing with him at Jesus Christ. In What Pope Francis Really Said, nationally respected Catholic journalist Tom Hoopes explores how Pope Francis is bringing the Catholic Church to bear on a dramatically changing world, not by altering its teachings but by applying enduring truths to new realities in fresh ways. This book takes up the primary themes of the first three years of the pontificate and challenges American Catholics to see the pope and his teachings as a pathway to personal renewal.
This volume is designed as a companion to the standard undergraduate mythology textbooks or, when assigned alongside the central Greek and Roman works, as a source-based alternative to those textbooks.
In addition to the complete texts of the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod's Theogony, this collection provides generous selections from over 50 texts composed between the Archaic Age and the fourth century A.D. Ancient interpretation of myth is represented here in selections from the allegorists Heraclitus, Cornutus and Fulgentius, the rationalists Palaephatus and Diodorus of Sicily, and the philosophers and historians Plato, Herodotus and Thucydides. Appendices treat evidence from inscriptions, papyri and Linear B tablets and include a thematic index, a mythological dictionary, and genealogies.
A thoughtful Introduction supports students working with the primary sources and the other resources offered here; an extensive note to instructors offers suggestions on how to incorporate this book into their courses.
'...as when iron is drawn to a magnet, camphor is sucked into hot air, crystal lights up in the Sun, sulfur and a volatile liquid are kindled by flame, an empty eggshell filled with dew is raised towards the Sun ...' This rich, fascinating anthology of the western magical tradition stretches from its roots in the wizardry of the Old Testament and the rituals of the ancient world, through writers such as Thomas Aquinas, John Milton, John Dee and Matthew Hopkins, and up to the tangled, arcane beginnings of the scientific revolution. Arranged historically, with commentary, this book includes incantations, charms, curses, Golems, demons and witches, as well as astrology, divination and alchemy, with some ancient and medieval works which were once viewed as too dangerous even to open. Selected and translated with an introduction and notes by Brian Copenhaver
During Paris's Belle Epoque (1871-1914), many cultural movements and artistic styles flourished - Symbolism, Impressionism, Art Nouveau, the Decadents - all of which profoundly shaped modern culture. Inseparable from this cultural advancement was the explosion of occult activity taking place in the City of Light at the same time.
Exploring the magical, artistic, and intellectual world of the Belle Epoque, Tobias Churton shows how a wide variety of Theosophists, Rosicrucians, Martinists, Freemasons, Gnostics, and neo-Cathars called fin-de-siecle Paris home. He examines the precise interplay of occultists Josephin Peladan, Papus, Stanislas de Guaïta, and founder of the modern Gnostic Church Jules Doinel, along with lesser known figures such as Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, Paul Sedir, Charles Barlet, Edmond Bailly, Albert Jounet, Abbe Lacuria, and Lady Caithness. He reveals how the work of many masters of modern culture such as composers Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, writers Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire, and painters Georges Seurat and Alphonse Osbert bear signs of immersion in the esoteric circles that were thriving in Paris at the time. The author demonstrates how the creative hermetic ferment that animated the City of Light in the decades leading up to World War I remains an enduring presence and powerful influence today. Where, he asks, would Aleister Crowley and all the magicians of today be without the Parisian source of so much creativity in this field?
Conveying the living energy of Paris in this richly artistic period of history, Churton brings into full perspective the characters, personalities, and forces that made Paris a global magnet and which allowed later cultural movements, such as the "psychedelic 60s," to rise from the ashes of post-war Europe.