For those of you who never tire of asking the hard questions about God, the Universal Life Church Monastery storehouse has two excellent new releases to for your perusal. Since it is part of our mission to open up discussions about religious issues and accommodate all perspectives, we are happy to present our ministers with two complementary works which will challenge, fascinate, and satisfy the reader, forcing them to explore their faith (or lack thereof) in greater depth and with an abundance of insight.
As its name suggests, The Atheist’s Bible: an Illustrious Collection of Irreverent Thoughts is an invaluable handbook for those who seek an atheistic parallel to the world’s sacred texts. As the Philadelphia Inquirer put it in their review of the book, “If atheism’s going mass you need not just a sacred text but an easily portable one . . .”. The Atheist’s Bible is an ideal pick for those who seek vindication of their beliefs from an array of prominent thinkers in literature, philosophy, and the sciences. At the same time, the work provides an amusing and thought-provoking collection of atheist values, principles, and reflections. Like the Biblical book of Proverbs, the book consists of a series of pithy aphorisms which sum up some very big thoughts in just a few, short words. Among the more tongue-in-cheek musings to be found within this “sacred text” of atheism comes from British playwright Oscar Wilde, who says, When I think of all the harm [the bible] has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it, while Ralph Waldo Emerson muses, Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.
As the book’s title suggests, the quips found within are an unapologetic, no-holds-barred attempts to vindicate atheist faith. While some might regard these sayings as unpleasantly evangelical, this is the very effect desired by the editor, Joan Konner. An uncompromising declaration of non-theistic values, The Atheist’s Bible is both a lighthearted read and a source of inspiration and affirmation for the questioning and skeptical mind.
If you are not settled on an atheistic world view, however, and are still searching for possible scientific justification for belief in God, Fingerprints of God: the Search for the Science of Spirituality, by National Public Radio correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty, is the perfect pick. Hagerty challenges the common belief in the incompatibility of science and spirituality, plumbing the depths of the scientific and religious communities in search of possible connections between science on one hand, and spiritual and mystical experience on the other. At one point, Hagerty relates her experience taking ayahuasca at a Navajo religious ceremony and discusses the hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine, considering the possible chemical basis for spiritual experience. She also considers biological predispositions for belief in God, searching for evidence of a “God gene”. In addition to chemistry and biology, Hagerty explores the realm of physics and discusses how the phenomenon of quantum entanglement might allow for consciousness after death. Hagerty’s objective and rational-minded foray into the sciences, how it may inform spiritual experience, and what it says about her own Christian faith, is a fascinating read for agnostic and believer alike.
Whether theist or non-theist, readers will find these two books an excellent way to get themselves thinking, re-affirm their beliefs, and encourage further discussion on this very provocative question. As such, they are ideal selections for inclusion in any minister’s library. Visit the ULC Monastery storehouse to find out about more book releases and ministry supplies which will serve as valuable tools in your ministry and spiritual life.