Musings on the meaning or purpose of faith can be found in this month’s new books – encompassing philosophy, faith through a scientific lens, or an active faith on the streets of Sydney or US.
The soul of the world, by Roger Scruton.
Philosopher Roger Scruton defends the experience of the sacred against today’s fashionable forms of atheism. He argues that personal relationships, intuitions, beauty, and aesthetics in art or music hint at dimensions that cannot be understood solely through scientific eyes. This is not so much an argument for the existence of God, but a thoughtful musing that a quest for ‘the sacred’ is essential to humanity.
Limitless sky : life lessons from the Himalayas, by David Charles Manners.
The author was trekking in Nepal when he stumbled upon the mountain home of a jhankri, or Nepalese shaman. The jhankri accepted him as his pupil, and so began the next stage of David’s extraordinary journey. In this book, he shares the wisdom and insights he learnt from those transformational days in the Himalayas.
Keeping the faith without a religion, by Roger Housden.
Faith is not something received from a religion, nor must we abandon it in order to become rational. Housden asks the reader to keep faith not in God but in life. This does not exclude but also does not assume a God.
Angels and saints : a biblical guide to friendship with God’s holy ones, by Scott Hahn.
Are angels and saints different to ordinary people? Some art would have us believe that they are, very different. But what does the Bible say? Jesus has united heaven and earth closely and we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses.” Their prayers rise to God, in the Book of Revelation, like the sweet aroma of incense. This book shares the stories of several saints and angels who are no strangers to real life, but are grounded and motivated by the spiritual life that every person is called by God to live.
Blood moons rising : Bible prophecy, Israel, and the four blood moons, by Mark Hitchcock.
In 2014 and 2015, there will be four blood moons falling during Jewish feasts – which has only happened before in 1493-94, 1949-50 and 1967-68 (significant dates in Jewish history). This discusses the prophetic significance of the moon darkening and appearing as blood. The library has also received Blood moons : decoding the imminent heavenly signs, by Mark Biltz which discusses the same phenomenon.
The book of chakras & subtle bodies, by Stephen Sturgess.
Learn about chakras, nadis, and kundalini with the in-depth section on Yoga philosophy, then follow Stephen’s variety of practices and techniques for removing any obstacles that may be standing in the way of uniting with your true nature. The book includes Hatha Yoga techniques using asanas, mudras, bandhas, pranayama, and kriya purification, as well as Raja and kriya Yoga techniques – mantras, concentration and meditation. (drawn from the publisher’s description)
Culture and the death of God, by Terry Eagleton.
Since the Enlightenment, religion has been undermined and replaced by various philosophies e.g. modernism, cultural forces and postmodernism. On the one hand, many people no longer feel a need to be redeemed, but interestingly this is accompanied by a renewal of religious fundamentalism across the world. Because, Eagleton points out, “religion provides … a degree of spiritual depth to otherwise shallow lives.”
A nun on the bus : how all of us can create hope, change, and community, by Sister Simone Campbell, with David Gibson.
“Campbell – activist, attorney, and nun – mixes autobiography with a strong call for justice in this brisk-paced, crisp, inspiring account. … Under her leadership, NETWORK advocated health care reform, work that garnered censure from the Vatican, which claimed that NETWORK was devoting too much time and energy to social justice. “Well, yes, social justice is what Catholic sisters do,” Campbell tartly writes. In order to advance the organization’s mission in the wake of this Vatican censure, Campbell and other nuns took a nine-state bus tour, highlighting the struggles of low- and middle-income people…” (Publisher Weekly)
Love over hate : finding life by the wayside, by Graham Long.
Long writes of his life journey – from social worker to postman, to pastor and CEO of The Wayside Chapel in Sydney’s King Cross. Love Over Hate explores the day-to-day life in Kings Cross. This community often judged for its problems, and the struggles faced by the homeless, those who’ve suffered abuse or battled alcoholism or drugs are not glossed over. But there are also encouraging examples of perseverance and fortitude, joy, and kindness.
Why science does not disprove God, by Amir D. Aczel.
Mathematician Aczel argues that Dawkins and his New Atheist allies have misrepresented scientific methods and findings of science e.g. proving God’s non-existence based on probability theory fails under robust scrutiny. He accuses them of over-simplifying complexities in metaphysical thinking. Aczel concludes with a realisation of the extent of fascinating mysteries, such as the stunning vistas of infinity. “Such mysteries may not signify the presence of the divine, but they will surely stir deep wonderings.” (Booklist)