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Religious Reads for February

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Whether or not you are a religious person, it’s important to have a basic understanding of world religions. I’m willing to bet that any newspaper on any day will have a story that relates in some way to religion, because while religion is a powerful motivator, it’s also a tremendous source of violence and tension. World religions influence politics and laws, and shape our identities. Billions of people around the world belong to one faith or another, so it’s imperative to learn why and what they believe.

Here are two new titles that immediately caught my eye:

The Jew is not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism, by Tarek Fatah

Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide, by Brett Mccracken

If you're interested in why people belive what they believe, then check out these new titles and hundreds of others, available at your local branch. If you're nearest branch doesn't have what you're looking for, remember that we're happy to deliver books to the branch of your choice, for free!

A is for A C Grayling

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I have my suspicions that philosopher A C Grayling must be either a fraud, or some sort of superhuman. How else could one man produce as many different works as he has?

A C Grayling is a prolific writer and thinker! In our catalogue, we have no fewer than 10 of his titles, and they range from introductions to logic, to examinations of the good life, to essays about religion.

I’ve heard him being interviewed on both CBC and BBC radio, and he’s erudite, articulate, and incredibly humble. What a combination!

Check out some of his works today!

His latest: To Set Prometheus Free: Essays on Religion, Reason and Humanity

Jesus is a Twin!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Or, at least, he is in Philip Pullman's enthralling novel, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. I’ve recently finished reading this alternative version of the New Testament story, and I loved it! It was un-put-down-able, if I may coin a phrase.

As a student of religious studies, I was made aware that before the Bible was assembled as the book we now know, there were all sorts of different myths and stories about Jesus. Some of these stories claim that Jesus was a twin; others claim that Jesus escaped to Egypt while an unsuspecting dupe was crucified in his place. How fascinating to consider the alternatives...

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is a story (repeat: story!) about Jesus and his twin brother, Christ. All the familiar players are involved: Mary, John the Baptist, Barabbas, and a flock of uptight Pharisees. But, this is a story unlike the one you may have read in Sunday school.

Pullman’s writing style is effortless and spare and yet he creates such wonderfully rich characters and atmospheres.

Check this book out over the Christ(s)mas holidays! I especially recommend it for those who are interested in religious studies, Bible studies, history and spirituality, and storytelling.

Sam Harris is Back!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Sam Harris is a philosopher and a neuroscientist. In The End of Faith, he writes emphatically and convincingly about the dangers of religious faith. Letter to a Christian Nation is his follow-up, and it is Harris’s response to the thousands of letters and responses that The End of Faith provoked. Now, Harris is back, but his focus has changed. In The Moral Landscape, he aims to convince you that we can figure out morality using scientific methods and principles. Sound like a mammoth task? An unlikely one? One that’s long overdue?

Check out The Moral Landscape today!

Burka-ing Up is Hard to Do!

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Freedom. Liberty. Choice. Religion. Power. Feminism. Exploitation.

Mention burkas, and these words won’t be far behind!

A burka is a garment worn by women – typically, but not exclusively Middle Eastern Muslims. This garment covers the entire body, and only the eyes are revealed – if anything is revealed at all.

It seems everyone has something to say about the burka. Men and women, religious folks and atheists, the well informed and the naive. Everyone wants to tell you why the burka ought to be banned, or not.

Your library is a wealth of information about religion and religious rites, festivals and garments! Use our encyclopedias (in your branch and online), search for news and magazine articles, gather statistics, find images, watch documentaries, and more! In a recent Living Library event, the Muslim “book” was one of our most popular; everyone had questions for her!

Wearing a burka is not easy – certainly not in a culture where most women don’t wear it. Before you decide whether a French-style ban is the answer, find out more about burkas, Muslims and Islam.

Where to start? My pick-of-the-moment is Sea of Faith, by Stephen O’Shea.

Ramadan 2010

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

August 11th or 12th (depending on one's location) marks the beginning of Ramadan, a religious festival in which millions of Muslims across the world will take part.

Visit your local library branch and learn more!

What do Muslims believe in? Why do Muslims fast? What’s the connection between Ramadan and the Hajj?

The Calgary Public Library has sacred books (like the Koran), as well as a wide variety of commentaries about Islam and issues in the “Muslim world” – if such a thing can be said to exist. We’ve got current statistics and magazines about Islam, too. Or, check out books about Islamic architecture (gorgeous!), or listen to music by Muslim artists.

Check out your local library and learn more about Islam, and every other subject you're interested in!

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