Books on Religion?

This isn’t one of those LiveJournal memes, it’s just a call for suggestions. What books on religion have affected you most profoundly? They could be specific or general; they could be written by true believers or skeptics; they could be original sources like the Koran, or theologial texts, overviews, meditations, etc. They could be on established religions, modern religions, or general metaphysics.

What do you recommend?

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  1. Profoundly moved by:

    Phillip Yancey – The Jesus I never knew
    CS Lewis – The screwtape letters
    The books of Ecclesiastes, Job and Matthew


    1. I felt like Jesus was a friend I had been missing out on. I felt a certain deep sorrow that I never got to know him in the living world, because he was shining and marvelous. There are tiny glimpses in this book, like shards of light thru stained glass windows, things in translation that one might never discover, a translation of the texts that made Jesus so real and so heartbreakingly ascended and gone from his companions, as I wished I could have been one. I loved the book itself as well. It was one of those books that I mourned and cried at having finished, because I never wanted it end. I would pour through it and discover that I had read everything, and be sad every time. I had to put it away for a while, because I loved it so much.

    2. I feel like “The Screwtape Letters” Was an accurate portrayal of how the demonic hierarchy works. Very interesting.

    3. When I feel like everyone was shiny and happy in the biblical days, I read these books and remember that suffering is really glory.


  2. Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell.

    Anthony De Mello, Selected Writings.

    Awareness, The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, by Anthony De Mello.

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

    Sun Tzu: Manual For War, translated and edited by T.W. Kuo.

    The Tao of Pooh, and The Te of Piglet, by Benjamin Hoff.

    1. Yea, you might like Lao Tzu, the “eastern” libertarian (kinda).

      1. Is that the title of a book, or just your commentary on Lao Tzu?

        1. Lao Tzu has been referred to by some liberatrian historians as a sort of proto-libertarian. Apparently he said some things about liberty that it took western civilization a few hundreds more years to figure out…

  3. The Heavenly Man – Brother Yun & Paul Hattaway
    Highly recommended.

  4. My nominations are

    A History of God and The Battle for God, both by Karen Armstrong.

  5. any book dealing with…

    The kaballah. ANY book dealing with that.

    I find the perspective of the kaballah is enlightening and enriches my existing beliefs.

    1. Re: any book dealing with…

      Conversely, any Orthodox Jew who knows what he’s talking about will steer you clear of books that suggest by their titles that within you will learn all the secrets of Kaballah.

      To learn about Kaballah effectively you must have studied Torah and the other sacred writings (titles escape me right now) until you are 40. Only when you reach 40 can you begin learning Kaballah. And only a few actually do learn it.

      In the wrong hands, some Orthodox Jews have told me, Kaballah is a dangerous thing.

      1. Re: any book dealing with…

        What is it?

        1. Re: any book dealing with…

          It’s esoteric Jewish mysticism, passed down from sage to sage. It has a reputation for being dangerous to those who aren’t adequately prepared for it. It’s also all the rage in hollywood and in pop mysticism circles these days.

  6. Definitely “Eternity in the Hearts” by Don Richardson???

  7. There are so few books that really touched me on a spiritual level. A good friend used to highly recommend Joseph Campbell’s books on mythology as spiritually moving. I haven’t read them. I’ve skimmed portions, and might like for us to get a set of his books some day.

    There’s a book that your mom loaned to me on happiness, again the title escapes me, and I haven’t finished it yet, but I have found it, too, to be good/deep.

    Then there’s Rabbi Yisroel Roll’s book on Self Esteem through prayer. He makes God sound like a loving Creator who made us and made everything in our lives specifically for us to enjoy. Thus, each blessing for every little detail in life. Always acknowledging the Creator and praising him for the thing he made for our specific enjoyment. (I’d like to send another donation to his group down in Baltimore! Yet another name I forget – that of the organization.)

    Oh, darnit! Now I want to become a Jew again…

  8. Black fire on white fire.

    I strongly recommend “Shardik” by Richard Adams. It’s like an allegory of Christ, or another manifestation of Christ, in an imaginary Dark Ages kingdom. Maybe not of Christ, because Christ is the Word of God, and the messenger to humanity–a huge bear–is the Power of God. I reread this book about once a year. “The Girl in a Swing” is also pretty cool–fertility goddess versus God’s Justice.

    I also very strongly recommend Sheldon Vanauken’s “A Severe Mercy.”

    Others: anything by Dostoevsky, some works of Madeleine L’Engle, most of Elie Wiesel, an amazing book called “An Interrupted Life” by Etty Hillesum.

  9. I would recommend a book called “Behold Your God” written by F. T. Wright. But, you already knew that, right?

    1. Nope… I can’t find it on Amazon, either. Where might I find a copy?

      1. Of course you couldn’t find it. 🙂 Our pastor wrote it, before he died. Now, the problem I didn’t think of was, while I do have it, it’s not actually in print form right now. What I have, I have from the “collected works of F. T. Wright” CD. Eheh….. I could um, cut and paste and send you some?

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