Countering the atheist claim that believers are by default violent fanatics and religion is the cause of all major wars, Karen Armstrong demonstrates that religious faith is not inherently violent. In fact, the world's major religions have throughout their history displayed ambivalent attitudes towards aggression and warfare. At times they have allied themselves with states and empires for protection or to further their influence; at others they have tried to curb state oppression and aggression and worked for peace and justice.
Taking us on a journey from prehistoric times to the present, Karen Armstrong contrasts medieval crusaders and modern-day jihadists with the pacifism of the Buddha and Jesus' vision of a just and peaceful society; moreover, she demonstrates that the underlying reasons - social, economic, political - for war and violence in our history often had very little to do with religion. While human beings have a natural propensity for aggression, collective violence and warfare emerged at a certain point in history when the invention of agriculture created a society and a state based on the accumulation of wealth.
For most of history our destructive potential could be contained but with the industrialised warfare and all-powerful state of the modern age, humanity is on the brink of destroying itself. Vast in scope, impeccably researched and passionately argued, Fields of Blood is more than a corrective to the prevailing view that religion is to blame for most of the bloodshed throughout human history: it is a celebration of those religious ideas and movements that have opposed war and aggression and promoted peace and reconciliation.
For 2000 years, Christianity has had a varying but immense influence on world history. Who better, then, than Geoffrey Blainey, author of the best-selling Short History of the World and one of Australia's most accomplished historians, to bring us a history of this world-changing religion. A Short History of Christianity vividly describes many of the significant players in the religion's rise and fall through the ages, from Jesus himself to Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, Francis Xavier, John Wesley and even the Beatles, who claimed to be 'more popular than Jesus'. Blainey takes us into the world of the mainstream worshippers - the housewives, the stonemasons - and traces the rise of the critics of Christ and his followers. With his characteristic curiosity and storytelling skill, Blainey considers Christianity's central place in world history. Will it remain in the centre? As Blainey observes in his eminently readable account, the story of Christianity is one of many ups and downs.
In this new anthology critiquing Christianity, John Loftus--a former minister and now a leading atheist--has brought together an outstanding group of respected scholars who focus on the harms caused by the world's leading religion. The contributors begin by dissecting the many problematic aspects of religious faith generally. They repeatedly demonstrate that, with faith as a foundation, almost anything can be believed or denied. And almost any horrific deed can be committed. The authors then take a good hard look at many of the most important political, institutional, scientific, social, and moral harms committed in the name of Christianity. These range from the historical persecutions of the Inquisition and witch hunts to the current health hazards of faith healing. Finally, the authors answer three common Christian retorts to criticisms from nonbelievers: (1) that atheists cannot judge a harmful action without an objective moral standard; (2) that atheists need faith to solve the world's problems; and (3) that atheists cannot live a good life without faith. Loftus and the contributors generally conclude that, given both the well-documented historical record and ongoing problems raised by the faith, Christianity decisively fails empirical tests of its usefulness to humanity.
Who or what is God? How do different religions interpret God's existence? How can we know God? Many people believe in God; not just throughout history but also in the present day. But who or what is it they believe in? Many different and sometimes conflicting answers have been suggested to this question. This Very Short Introduction explores some of the answers provided by philosophers, poets, and theologians, and considers why some people believe in God and others do not. John Bowker explores how the major religions established their own distinctive beliefs about God and how they interpret God's existence, and concludes by looking at how our understanding of God continues to evolve. 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.
Amalar of Metz's On the Liturgy--one of the most widely circulated texts of the Carolingian era--addresses Christian worship from prayers to vestments to bodily gestures of celebrants. This volume adapts the text of Jean-Michel Hanssens's 1948 edition and provides the first complete translation into a modern language.
Amalar of Metz's On the Liturgy>--one of the most widely circulated texts of the Carolingian era--addresses Christian worship from prayers to vestments to bodily gestures of celebrants. This volume adapts the text of Jean-Michel Hanssens's 1948 edition and provides the first complete translation into a modern language.
At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important overview of the world's largest religion. Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up to date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. 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.
This handsomely illustrated volume pairs photographs of Pope Francis's papacy with quotations from his published works, interviews, and homilies about his transformational vision for the Church and humanity. Having long espoused a more tolerant and welcoming vision of the Church, Pope Francis has been hailed the pope of the people as he captures minds and hearts with his joyful faith and his concern for those left behind by society. Pope Francis has spoken movingly about his spiritual life, his hopes for church reform, his open-minded stance toward gays and lesbians, his views on women, and even his favourite movies. Accompanying these texts are images that showcase the Pope's warm, personal pastoral style-leaving the papal car to venture into the crowds, embracing the faithful, ministering to the poor, and even washing the feet of hospital patients. Francis: The People's Pope is designed to be treasured for years to come and will fill Catholics and non-Catholics alike with hope, making a thoughtful and beautiful gift to be read again and again as a constant source of faith, understanding, and spiritual renewal.
Stories centuries in the making, and many centuries worth of stories, are an integral part of modern society. Whether modern or ancient, every culture has its myths. Mythology forms our understanding of our origin, history and traditions. They tell of our heroes and deities. Myths are vehicles for understanding religion, for learning language and for understanding society, but they can often be difficult to understand and confusing. The Handy Mythology Answer Book examines and explains, in plain English, numerous myths and mythology.
Disinformation's "wicked warlock" Richard Metzger gathers an unprecedented cabal of modern occultists, magicians, and forward thinkers in this large format Disinformation Guide. Just as Russ Kick's Guides focusing on secrets and lies from the mainstream media, government, and other establishment institutions rethought what a political science book could look like and whom it would appeal to, Book of Lies redefines occult anthologies, packaging and presenting a huge array of magical essays for a pop culture audience. Just some of the contents:
- An introduction by comics genius Grant Morrison, who also contributes a three-part article on Pop Magick.
- Mark Pesce, author of The Playful World, compares computer programming and spellcasting.
- Genesis P-Orridge, father of Industrial Music and Rave culture explains how samples in a rave song can have magical consequences.
- Paul Laffoley discusses his magical artistic strategies (Metzger compares Laffoley to Merlin the Magician).
- Magical Thinking--an extended excerpt from Daniel Pinchbeck's Breaking Open the Head.
- William Burroughs and the occult.
- Nevill Drury, Australia's most noted occult writer, tells of Dion Fortune, Austin Spare, and Rosaleen Norton.
- Why Does Aleister Crowley Still Matter?
- Donald Tyson's "The Enochian Apocalypse Working." Were the seeds of the end of the world sown in the Elizabethan era?.
- The first ever biographical essay on Marjorie Cameron, the fascinating character from Los Angeles' occult and beatnik scene.
- Hitler and the occult--Peter Levenda interview by Tracy Twyman.
- Robert Temple on how his book The Sirius Mystery's, controversial thesis (for which he was ridiculed) was proven by the Hubble telescope twenty-five years late.
- An exclusive Anton LaVey interview by Michael Moynihan, author of best-selling book Lords of Chaos.
- Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis, looks at H. P. -Lovecraft's Magick Realism.