Books shelved under “Religion”

16 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Paranoid Science

    Paranoid Science: The Christian Right's War on Reality

    by Antony Alumkal

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Hello, and in this instalment of “Ben continues to be behind on reviews and on NetGalley reviews in particular” we’re reviewing Paranoid Science: The Christian Right's War on Reality, by Antony Alumkal. I was drawn to this book in much the same way that other people are drawn to evangelical Christianity: the promise of answers. Of course, in this case, I was looking for answers as to why and how the Christian right continues…

  2. Book cover for Trigger Warning

    Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

    by Neil Gaiman

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I am slowly but surely running out of ways to review anthologies. It’s maddening, let me tell you. #firstworldproblems

    What can I say about Trigger Warning? It’s another anthology. It’s another Neil Gaiman anthology. Much like Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things, Trigger Warning has its moments, its trademark Gaimanesque departures into clever flights of fantasy—but it’s just not the form for me. Gaiman waxes poetic about short stories in his introduction; it…

  3. Book cover for Reason, Faith, and Revolution

    Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate

    by Terry Eagleton

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read the first 78 pages of this book so you don’t have to.

    I was trying to make it to at least 100, but I’m sorry. The body is willing but the mind is weak.

    I added this book to my to-read list after reading The God Delusion; it somehow coming up as a counterpoint to Dawkins’ atheistic arguments. I just went back and re-read my review of that book, and I’m pleased…

  4. Book cover for Why Rousseau Was Wrong

    Why Rousseau Was Wrong: Christianity and the Secular Soul

    by Frances Ward

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I really need to stop going into bookstores. With a title like Why Rousseau Was Wrong, how could I not buy it? It didn’t help that the author, is the dean of the local cathedral, was sitting behind the table with the last two or three copies, and engaged me in a nice conversation before offering to sign the book for me. I didn’t quite mention that I was an atheist. Perhaps she suspected…

  5. Book cover for God's Debris

    God's Debris: A Thought Experiment

    by Scott Adams

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Editor’s note (2020): Since writing this review in 2012, Adams’ behaviour has continued to deteriorate. He now regularly espouses views I find reprehensible, and as such, I can neither recommend nor endorse Dilbert or any of Adams’ other writings. This review remains for posterity.

    Scott Adams is an interesting figure. I'm an unabashed Dilbert fan; I have the massive, slipcase-clad twentieth anniversary book, and I particularly love the short-lived TV series. I don't regularly read…

  6. Book cover for The American Future

    The American Future: A History

    by Simon Schama

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as anti-American, but I will cop to having anti-American sentiments. I have plenty of American friends, but I chose to move to England before the United States—and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to live in the United States. There are just some ideas so apparently entrenched in American society that seem so backward to me. And I know my American friends understand—a lot…

  7. Book cover for The Faith Instinct

    The Faith Instinct: How Religlion Evolved and Why It Endures

    by Nicholas J. Wade

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Editor's note: Since I read this back in 2012, Wade has gone on to write more openly racist and eugenical books. For what it’s worth, I don’t think his views are so overtly on display in Before the Dawn. Nevertheless, as a result of his more recent writing, I do not recommend reading this book or any of Wade’s books. This review is preserved for posterity.

    There is a conciliatory tactic in the trenches…

  8. Book cover for The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace

    The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace: A History Of Space From Dante To The Internet

    by Margaret Wertheim

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Space is a difficult word to pin down. Colloquially, it probably conjures images of stars and supernovae, Jupiter and Saturn and Mars, and the shuttle hanging against the backdrop of clouds and the horn of Africa. It is—or was—the Space Age, when we were supposed to go forth and colonize the stars. It didn’t work out that way, but our association of the word with “not of Earth” continues. Space can also refer to a…

  9. Book cover for The Grand Design

    The Grand Design

    by Stephen Hawking

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I make no secret about the fact that I love science, and of all the sciences, I will make no secret about my love for physics, for theoretical physics, and for cosmology. These fields help us understand the universe, that crazy thing that’s all around us, and the fact that we have come so far is simply amazing. In The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow reflect upon how physics achieves…

  10. Book cover for Chasing a Mirage

    Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State

    by Tarek Fatah

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Fundamentalism scares me. Like, causes me to despair and lament the future of human civilization scares me. Fundamentalists seem so diametrically opposed to progress, freedom, and education that I fear what will happen if ever they attain a critical mass of power. Fundamentalism is universal in its appeal to the irrationality of our species: it is not just limited to any one religion. We cannot fight it by identifying a religion with its fundamentalist base…

  11. Book cover for The Evolution of God

    The Evolution of God

    by Robert Wright

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The Evolution of God comes close, in many ways, to my ideal Platonic conception of a "non-fiction book." It is thick and weighty (all the better to use against zombies, should the apocalypse happen while reading it). It is organized into a series of logical parts, which are in turn each organized into a series of logical chapters, providing convenient stopping points for a respite. Last, but not least, it has endnotes. Pages upon pages…

  12. Book cover for How the Irish Saved Civilization

    How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe

    by Thomas Cahill

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This book bored me. There, I said it. Perhaps the most damning phrase a reader may utter of any book. That I persevered is more due to the book's length and my own obstinacy than any particular virtue of How the Irish Saved Civilization. My interest began to wane well before I was halfway through. The first half consists of several anecdotes that set the stage for the history: the fall of Rome, the…

  13. Book cover for Descartes' Bones

    Descartes' Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason

    by Russell Shorto

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was ambivalent about the gimmick of basing the history around the journey of Descartes' bones. How interesting could it be? Much to my delight, Russell Shorto managed to surprise me. While this book isn't quite the "historical detective story" it advertises, it does contain some detective work. I was fascinated by the way various people treated Descartes' remains, particularly the skull. For most of the owners of the skull, the object was one of…

  14. Book cover for The Stillborn God

    The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West

    by Mark Lilla

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The impact of religion on politics—particularly the invocation of divine authority to justify a specific social order—is an issue both interesting and complex. In The Stillborn God, Mark Lilla promises an episodic presentation of the rise and fall of political theology from sixteenth century England to twentieth century Germany. While often interesting and thoughtful, the book ultimately fails to fulfil this promise, instead becoming mired in its exploration of the interaction among various philosophical…

  15. Book cover for Multiculturalism Without Culture

    Multiculturalism Without Culture

    by Anne Phillips

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    We used this book in the second half of my Philosophy and Gender course (the first book we discussed was Feminism: Issues and Arguments, by Jennifer Saul). It's probably one of the best discussions of multiculturalism I will ever read. Anne Phillips provides a marvellous survey of contemporary political and philosophical attitudes toward multiculturalism while simultaneously advocating her approach.

    Phillips' thesis is clear: she wants to keep multiculturalism but change how we understand the…

  16. Book cover for The God Delusion

    The God Delusion

    by Richard Dawkins

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I was brought up Christian (Protestant), although my family wasn't particularly observant--we went to church, less frequently as I grew up, and my dad would read from the Bible each Christmas (the nativity story, naturally). As I approach the third decade of my life and am shocked to find myself becoming an adult, not just legally but intellectually, I slide further and further along the scale from agnostic to atheist. Although I was…