"If slavery is a manifest and universal evil, why did no one seem to realize this until relatively recently? What does that mean about our traditions of moral reasoning or divine guidance? Why do our scriptures condone slavery and why did our prophets practice it? How can we venerate people and texts-- the prophets, Founding Fathers, a scripture or founding document-- that considered slavery valid or normal? And, if we see clear and egregious moral wrongs that those people and texts so conspicuously missed, why are we venerating or honoring them in the first place?"
The memoirs of a Russian Orthodox monk in the last days of the Soviet Union. Truly a colorful cast of characters that shows how faith can shine even in the darkest of times.
What if the faith of others isn't a challenge to the legitimacy of your own, but an invitation for you to be a better Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc? In this wonderful book, Barbara Brown outlines how her faith has changed since stepping down from being an Episcopal priest to teach a world religions course.
Lewis and Chesterton were both authors that helped me realize that my own religious tradition doesn't have a monopoly on truth. Abraham Heschel (and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks) has helped me expand that sphere a little further into the Jewish tradition as well (if you have any recommendations from other faith traditions, please let me know).... Continue Reading →
Your knowledge of the Muslim World was probably Disney's Aladdin before 9/11. Then it became limited to the daily news cycle of the "war on terror." How did such a rich and diverse civilization become relegated to the dustbin of history? Ansary does a masterful job of putting modern conflicts in their historical context from Babylon to the Six Day War.
A beautiful example of the fact that if you sit down and talk with someone from a different background, a different faith tradition, a different culture, you will come to love them and find wisdom there.
The Mormon Jesus by John Turner, answering all the questions you've been dying to ask like, was Jesus a polygamist? or did Jesus have abs?
Hot take: If I were ever to apostatize, I'd become an Orthodox monk. But seriously, Orthodoxy has so many surprising affinities to the Latter-Day Saint tradition, you'd be surprised.
Most accounts of secularization are pretty flat: the march of clear and virtuous reason against the suffocating faith of the Middle Ages. Charles Taylor gives much more detailed account than these over-simplifications-- and regardless of your background, Taylor's work is an engaging read.
I am not a moral relativist. But I am what I will call for lack of a better term an experiential relativist. I believe that everyone's experiences, and thus what can be expected of them at any given moment, is different. I try to avoid any hint that I am somehow on a higher plane... Continue Reading →