THE ARRIVALS: A NOVEL
NAOMI GLADISH SMITH Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2004 Library of Congress PS3619.M5923A88 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Flight 785 is bound for London and Brussels, but its passengers are destined to arrive at an unexpected destination. Theirs is a journey that will continue until they each find their true home and, in the process, uncover their innermost being.
Written by Naomi Gladish Smith, The Arrivals will intrigue readers from all walks of life and faiths and provoke discussion. We follow a small group of travelers---a husband and wife on their way to Ireland, a young woman beginning a fellowship at a prestigious British university, business people on their way to various conferences and meetings in Brussels, a minister coming to terms with his wife's desertion and his own fading faith, a small boy going to meet his mother in London---as they slowly unravel the mystery of the afterlife and learn that home is truly where the heart is.
The Art of Preaching
Siegfried Wenzel Catholic University of America Press, 2013 Library of Congress BV4222.W46 2013 | Dewey Decimal 251
Based on his wide-ranging knowledge of late-medieval Latin sermons from England as well as his editorial experience with medieval Latin texts, Siegfried Wenzel offers critical editions of five instruction manuals on the "art of preaching" dating from 1230 to the fifteenth century. Four of the texts are edited and translated for the first time; the fifth is re-edited from all extant manuscripts. Each of the five sermons is accompanied by a facing-page translation into English. The book aims to stimulate interest and new research in a field that still awaits closer analysis of the relationships among existing treatises and of their historical development.
Between Pagan and Christian
Christopher P. Jones Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress BR162.3.J66 2014 | Dewey Decimal 270.1
Who and what was pagan depended on the outlook of the observer, as Christopher Jones shows in this fresh and penetrating analysis. Treating paganism as a historical construct rather than a fixed entity, Between Christian and Pagan uncovers the fluid ideas, rituals, and beliefs that Christians and pagans shared in Late Antiquity.
In Blood Relations, Janet Adelman confronts her resistance to The Merchant of Venice as both a critic and a Jew. With her distinctive psychological acumen, she argues that Shakespeare’s play frames the uneasy relationship between Christian and Jew specifically in familial terms in order to recapitulate the vexed familial relationship between Christianity and Judaism.
Adelman locates the promise—or threat—of Jewish conversion as a particular site of tension in the play. Drawing on a variety of cultural materials, she demonstrates that, despite the triumph of its Christians, The Merchant of Venice reflects Christian anxiety and guilt about its simultaneous dependence on and disavowal of Judaism. In this startling psycho-theological analysis, both the insistence that Shylock’s daughter Jessica remain racially bound to her father after her conversion and the depiction of Shylock as a bloody-minded monster are understood as antidotes to Christian uneasiness about a Judaism it can neither own nor disown.
In taking seriously the religious discourse of The Merchant of Venice, Adelman offers in Blood Relations an indispensable book on the play and on the fascinating question of Jews and Judaism in Renaissance England and beyond.
A Publishers Weekly Best Religion Book of the Year
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title
For many Americans, being Christian is central to their political outlook. Political Christianity is most often associated with the Religious Right, but the Christian faith has actually been a source of deep disagreement about what American society and government should look like. While some identify Christianity with Western civilization and unfettered individualism, others have maintained that Christian principles call for racial equality, international cooperation, and social justice. At once incisive and timely, Christian delves into the intersection of faith and political identity and offers an essential reconsideration of what it means to be Christian in America today.
“Bowman is fast establishing a reputation as a significant commentator on the culture and politics of the United States.”
“Bowman looks to tease out how religious groups in American history have defined, used, and even wielded the word Christian as a means of understanding themselves and pressing for their own idiosyncratic visions of genuine faith and healthy democracy.”
“A fascinating examination of the twists and turns in American Christianity, showing that the current state of political/religious alignment was not necessarily inevitable, nor even probable.”
The Community of Believers offers the proceedings of the 2013 Building Bridges seminar, a dialogue between leading Christian and Muslim scholars under the stewardship of Georgetown University.
These essays consider such themes as the Church as mystical body of Christ versus the Church as proclamation; the roots and uses of the term ummah and its development over time; Christian desires for communion, experiences of division, and approaches to unity; the history of Muslim disunity; twentieth-century Christian ecclesiology and its responses to a post-Christendom and post-Christian world; and the Arab Spring as a case study for contemplating accommodationism, conservatism, reformism, and fundamentalism as Muslim strategies to address the pressures of modernism. The volume also includes texts and commentaries used in the seminar’s discussions of each topic and a concluding essay summarizing the tone, content, and style of participant exchanges throughout the seminar.
When eight-year-old Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana (1590–1662) entered one of the preeminent convents in Bologna in 1598, she had no idea what cloistered life had in store for her. Thanks to clandestine instruction from a local maestro di cappella—and despite the church hierarchy’s vehement opposition to all convent music—Vizzana became the star of the convent, composing works so thoroughly modern and expressive that a recent critic described them as “historical treasures.” But at the very moment when Vizzana’s works appeared in 1623—she would be the only Bolognese nun ever to publish her music—extraordinary troubles beset her and her fellow nuns, as episcopal authorities arrived to investigate anonymous allegations of sisterly improprieties with male members of their order.
Craig A. Monson retells the story of Vizzana and the nuns of Santa Cristina to elucidate the role that music played in the lives of these cloistered women. Gifted singers, instrumentalists, and composers, these nuns used music not only to forge links with the community beyond convent walls, but also to challenge and circumvent ecclesiastical authority. Monson explains how the sisters of Santa Cristina—refusing to accept what the church hierarchy called God’s will and what the nuns perceived as a besmirching of their honor—fought back with words and music, and when these proved futile, with bricks, roof tiles, and stones. These women defied one Bolognese archbishop after another, cardinals in Rome, and even the pope himself, until threats of excommunication and abandonment by their families brought them to their knees twenty-five years later. By then, Santa Cristina’s imaginative but frail composer literally had been driven mad by the conflict.
Monson’s fascinating narrative relies heavily on the words of its various protagonists, on both sides of the cloister wall, who emerge vividly as imaginative, independent-minded, and not always sympathetic figures. In restoring the musically gifted Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana to history, Monson introduces readers to the full range of captivating characters who played their parts in seventeenth-century convent life.
Edited and with commentary by Joan Greatrex, this book makes available for the first time in printed form the sermon manuscript, MS Q. 18, which survives in its original home in the medieval cathedral library at Worcester. At first glance this small, untidy quarto-size manuscript appears to be merely an unremarkable collection of early fourteenth-century Latin sermons. However, their importance lies in the fact that they appear to be a rare, if not unique, example of working copies of sermons, providing us with a glimpse into daily life in a medieval monastic community.
As he goes about his milking chores on a cold October morning, Bishop Leon Shetler daydreams of escaping the Ohio winter and taking a bus to the Pinecraft Amish community in Florida for a vacation. His reverie is suddenly interrupted when young Crist Burkholder enters the barn, head down, hat in hand, to make a confession. ”I just killed Glenn Spiegle.”
“An Amish murderer?” Sheriff Robertson asks when he arrives on the scene. “Who will believe that?” But Burkholder is adamant about his guilt, fueled by the passion of his love for Vesta Miller, the young woman both he and Spiegle so desperately wanted to marry.
No sooner does the sheriff start his investigation than he learns of two more murders in the Pinecraft community, and a startling connection is made. There’s no way around it — Professor Mike Branden will have to put his research trip on hold and, along with detective Ricky Niell, travel south to investigate. There they discover the disturbing truth about Spiegle’s conversion to the Amish faith and the reason for the long–smoldering hatred that has reached into the secluded pastoral valleys of Holmes County.
In Harmless as Doves, P. L. Gaus takes the action to Florida in one of the most exciting mysteries in this series. This is Gaus at his best.
Jesse Crosse: a novel
Michael J. Moran Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2011 Library of Congress PZ7.M78824Je 2011
Mike Moran first attended Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys-all four years. On the basketball team, he was a point guard. Then, as "Mr. Moran," he taught English for forty years, also at Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys. Recently retired, Moran wrote the boys a novel. The tale revolves around a struggling small-town basketball team with a nerdy manager and a Walter Mittyesque coach. Presented with too few players to scrimmage in practice, the manager takes it upon himself to spread the word throughout the school: "We need you on the team." Three young students appear, diminutive in stature and with scrawny chests, unimpressive at first sight. But with the trio, and their fleet leader Jesse Crosse, the team first experiences shock, then inspiration and constant surprises. The team bonds, leading to stories that will be retold a very long time in a small, out-of-the-way town. It's not a long novel; like one's high school years, it goes by before you know it. Only the message is eternal.
True religious faith cannot be confirmed by any external proofs. Rather, it is founded on a basic act of trust—and the common root of that trust, for Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, is a belief in the divine creation of the universe. But with Learning to Trust in Freedom, David B. Burrell asks the provocative question: How do we reach that belief, and what is it about the universe that could possibly testify to its divine origins? Even St. Augustine, he points out, could only find faith after a harrowing journey through the lures of desire—and it is that very desire that Burrell seizes on as a tool with which to explore the origin and purpose of the world. Delving deep into the intertwinings of desire and faith, and drawing on St. John of the Cross, Edith Stein, and Charles Taylor, Burrell offers a new understanding of free will, trust, and perception.
More than forty years ago in the state archives of Lucca, Italy, musicologist Reinhard Strohm noticed that bindings on some of the books were unusual: they consisted of the pages of a centuries-old music manuscript. In the following years, Strohm worked with the archivists to remove these leaves and reassemble as much as possible of the original manuscript, a major cultural recovery now known as The Lucca Choirbook.
The recovered volume comprises what remains of a gigantic cathedral codex commissioned in Bruges around 1463 and containing English, Franco-Flemish, and Italian sacred music of the fifteenth century—including works by the celebrated composers Guillaume Du Fay and Henricus Isaac.
This facsimile of the choirbook includes all the known leaves, ordered according to their proper placement in the original codex. In the introduction, Strohm tells the fascinating story of this choirbook, identifying its early users and reconstructing its travel from Bruges to Lucca.
Donated in the late fifteenth century to the papal choir, the musical manuscript Cappella Sistina14 reflects a new style of mass composition used by some of the era’s most noted composers. Masses for the Sistine Chapel makes the complete contents of the Cappella Sistina14—held in the Vatican Library—available for the first time.
Featuring fifteen masses and four mass fragments, this volume includes works by such composers as Guillaume Du Fay, Johannes Ockeghem, and Antoine Busnoys. In a comprehensive introduction and critical commentary on each work, Richard Sherr places the choirbook in its historical context, describing its physical makeup as well as the repertory. Sherr’s critical edition of this celebrated manuscript finally provides the insight necessary to inform future performances and recordings of its influential contents.
Mourner's Bench: A Novel
Sanderia Faye University of Arkansas Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3606.A965M68 2015 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
At the First Baptist Church of Maeby, Arkansas, the sins of the child belonged to the parents until the child turned thirteen. Sarah Jones was only eight years old in the summer of 1964, but with her mother Esther Mae on eight prayer lists and flipping around town with the generally mistrusted civil rights organizers, Sarah believed it was time to get baptized and take responsibility for her own sins. That would mean sitting on the mourner’s bench come revival, waiting for her sign, and then testifying in front of the whole church.
But first, Sarah would need to navigate the growing tensions of small-town Arkansas in the 1960s. Both smarter and more serious than her years (a “fifty-year-old mind in an eight-year-old body,” according to Esther), Sarah was torn between the traditions, religion, and work ethic of her community and the progressive civil rights and feminist politics of her mother, who had recently returned from art school in Chicago. When organizers from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to town just as the revival was beginning, Sarah couldn’t help but be caught up in the turmoil. Most folks just wanted to keep the peace, and Reverend Jefferson called the SNCC organizers “the evil among us.” But her mother, along with local civil rights activist Carrie Dilworth, the SNCC organizers, Daisy Bates, attorney John Walker, and indeed most of the country, seemed determined to push Maeby toward integration.
With characters as vibrant and evocative as their setting, Mourner’s Bench is the story of a young girl coming to terms with religion, racism, and feminism while also navigating the terrain of early adolescence and trying to settle into her place in her family and community.
Music and the Wesleys
Edited by Nicholas Temperley and Stephen Banfield University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress ML410.W51M87 2010 | Dewey Decimal 781.71700922
Providing new insight into the Wesley family, the fundamental importance of music in the development of Methodism, and the history of art music in Britain, Music and the Wesleys examines more than 150 years of a rich music-making tradition in England. John Wesley and his brother Charles, founders of the Methodist movement, considered music to be a vital part of religion, while Charles's sons Charles and Samuel and grandson Samuel Sebastian were among the most important English composers of their time.
This book explores the conflicts faced by the Wesleys but also celebrates their triumphs: John's determination to elevate the singing of his flock; the poetry of Charles's hymns and their musical treatment in both Britain and America; the controversial family concerts by which Charles launched his sons on their careers; the prolific output of Charles the younger; Samuel's range and rugged individuality as a composer; the oracular boldness of Sebastian's religious music and its reception around the English-speaking world. Exploring British concert life, sacred music forms, and hymnology, the contributors analyze the political, cultural, and social history of the Wesleys' enormous influence on English culture and religious practices.
Contributors are Stephen Banfield, Jonathan Barry, Martin V. Clarke, Sally Drage, Peter S. Forsaith, Peter Holman, Peter Horton, Robin A. Leaver, Alyson McLamore, Geoffrey C. Moore, John Nightingale, Philip Olleson, Nicholas Temperley, J. R. Watson, Anne Bagnall Yardley, and Carlton R. Young.
Navigator of the Flood
Mario Brelich Northwestern University Press, 1991 Library of Congress PQ4862.R42N3813 1991 | Dewey Decimal 853.914
Mario Brelich, a Hungarian author writing in Italian, was a superb ironist. In his three novels, of which this is the first, he explored central episodes of the Old and New Testaments with unsparing wit and intelligence. In Navigator of the Flood, Brelich's Noah is a man laboring under a burden of responsibility by a Lord who appears from time to time to "correct"--at man's expense--His own foreknowledge and omniscience. If Noah finds God's commands at times cruel or incomprehensible, if he still sees beauty in a life now under threat of extinction, and wonders why he and his family should be chosen to survive while all others are condemned to perish, he remains the dutiful and upright patriarch who submits to the role assigned to him.
Prayer: Christian and Muslim Perspectives
David Marshall and Lucinda Mosher, Editors, Afterword by Rowan Williams Georgetown University Press, 2016 Library of Congress BP172.B834 2011 | Dewey Decimal 248.32
Prayer: Christian and Muslim Perspectives is a rich collection of essays, scriptural texts, and personal reflections featuring leading scholars analyzing the meaning and function of prayer within their traditions. Drawn from the 2011 Building Bridges seminar in Doha, Qatar, the essays in this volume explore the devotional practices of each tradition and how these practices are taught and learned. Relevant texts are included, with commentary, as are personal reflections on prayer by each of the seminar participants. The volume also contains a Christian reflection on Islamic prayer and a Muslim reflection on Christian prayer. An extensive account of the informal conversations at the seminar conveys a vivid sense of the lively, penetrating, but respectful dialogue that took place.
Introducing modern readers to the riches of preaching in later medieval England, distinguished scholar Siegfried Wenzel offers translations of twenty-five Latin sermons written between 1350 and 1450. T
Italian sermons tell a story of the Reformation that credits preachers with using the pulpit, pen, and printing press to keep Italy Catholic when the region’s violent religious wars made the future uncertain, and with fashioning a post-Reformation Catholicism that would survive the competition and religious choice of their own time and ours.
The Relic: A Novel
José Maria De Eça De Queirós Tagus Press, 2012 Library of Congress PQ9261.E3R413 2012 | Dewey Decimal 869.33
The Relic is an irreverent fictional autobiography narrating the picaresque adventures of Teodorico, a Portuguese playboy determined to be the sole heir of his absurdly pious, sexually repressed, and tyrannical Auntie. Sent to the Holy Land, he returns with what he presumes is the "relic of relics" in hopes of persuading Auntie to bequeath her vast fortune to him. While in Jerusalem, Teodorico has a vision in which he witnesses Christ’s trial and crucifixion and the founding of Christianity—with a twist.
This book presents for the first time in English the fully documented history of the Gregorian chant restoration which culminated in the publication of the Vatican Edition ordered by Pope Pius X at the dawn of the twentieth century. It is based upon archival documents in the Abbey of St. Pierre de Solesmes.
Often called the musical equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Trent codices have dramatically broadened our understanding of Renaissance music. Much has been written about this collection of fifteenth-century music manuscripts, most of which were discovered in the Cathedral at Trent, but none of the seven codices--generally called Trent 87 through Trent 93--has ever been published in its entirety. Thus Rebecca Gerber’s edition of Trent88, which took more than a decade to prepare, will be the first to appear. As such, this volume is a landmark in the publication of early music.
Trent88 comprises an extensive anthology of 145 compositions tailored to the ceremonial and daily religious services of the period. The international scope of the collection is both impressive and significant: early English, French, German, and Spanish mass cycles appear alongside simple hymns and Magnificats. Music by renowned composers—including Guillaume Du Fay, Johannes Ockeghem, Johannes Cornago, and John Bedingham—is joined here by an even larger repertory of anonymous compositions with great aesthetic and historical value. Edited to accommodate both scholars and performers, and augmented with Gerber’s expert introduction, this volume will significantly deepen existing knowledge of a crucial period in the history of music.
Set in the Middle Ages but written in the early twentieth century, Eça de Queirós’s novella, Saint Christopher, is a powerful indictment of those who profess the value of morality but who do not practice it. The narrative is just as relevant today—when issues of religion, hypocrisy, and social justice are more urgent than ever—as it was when it first appeared in 1912. Written as though it were the product of a dialogue between Jesus and Proudhon (whose theories animate much of the narrative), Saint Christopher challenges today’s ethically motivated reader to do what the narrative’s protagonist does, that is, take up the cause of the wretched and abused of this earth.
NAOMI GLADISH SMITH Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2011 Library of Congress PS3619.M5923S43 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
The third book in Naomi Gladish Smith’s acclaimed series about souls in the afterlife follows a new group of seekers on their journey to heaven—or hell.
Kate Douglas, who spent a lifetime on earth teaching young students, in death finds herself at the Academy, a school for new arrivals in the afterlife. Barely accustomed to her new existence, she’s confronted with the soul of her troubled nephew Dan, who took his own life. Dan struggles to find his path in this new world, encountering the innocent Birgit, who in life was an abused girl, and the beautiful Pegeen, who draws him into the dangerous territory bordering hell. But even as Kate teams up with her friend Frank and budding angel Percy to try to help Dan face his inner demons, Kate must deal with her own issues: her helplessness at watching her husband Howard, still on earth and dying of a degenerative disease; her attraction to Frank; and an assignment to guide a particularly difficult new arrival named Janet. Their fates intertwine as each searches within to discover whether they ultimately bound for heaven or hell.
Inspired by Emanuel Swedenborg’s descriptions of the afterlife, Smith paints a vivid picture of the world of spirits, a spiritual realm between heaven and hell where inner truths are revealed and the distance between any two people is no more than a thought.
Saint Leo the Great Catholic University of America Press, 1995 Library of Congress BR60.F3L42 1995 | Dewey Decimal 252.014
It would be practically impossible to understand this monumental transition from the Roman world to Christendom without taking into account the pivotal role played by Leo the Great. In this regard, his sermons provide invaluable data for the social historian. It was Leo--and not the emperor--who went out to confront Attila the Hun. It was Leo who once averted and on another occasion mitigated the ravages of barbarian incursions. As significant as his contribution was to history, Leo had an even greater impact on theology.
Many of America’s greatest Protestant preachers—Paul Tillich, William Sloane Coffin, Barbara Brown Taylor, Fleming Rutledge, Peter J. Gomes, Billy Graham, and others—have spoken powerfully from the pulpit of the “great towering church” that is the spiritual and architectural center of Duke University. This collection of fifty-eight of the most notable sermons proclaimed from that pulpit commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the groundbreaking for Duke Chapel. It is a sweeping panorama of sermons selected and edited by Bishop William H. Willimon, Dean of the Chapel for twenty years and one of the most widely read writers on preaching in America.
Opening with the sermon preached in June 1935 at the dedication of the Chapel and closing with one by Willimon delivered at the beginning of the 2003–4 school year, this volume presents Protestant Christianity at its most eloquent and prophetic. Some sermons are pure meditations on biblical texts; others are period pieces in the best sense of the term, reflecting on such contemporary concerns as civil rights, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and the wars in Europe, Vietnam, and Iraq. Willimon provides a brief introduction to each sermon, commenting on the work and thought of the preacher. Diverse in subject and style, the sermons collected in this volume are a treasure for those who love fine preaching, a resource for those studying the history of homiletics, and a light to rekindle the memories of those who have worshiped in the Chapel over the years.
Voices of the Magi explores the popular Catholic musical ensembles of southeastern Brazil known as folias de reis (companies of kings). Composed predominantly of low-income workers, the folias reenact the journey of the Wise Men to Bethlehem and back to the Orient, as they roam from house to house, singing to bless the families they visit in exchange for food and money. These gifts, in turn, are used to prepare a festival on Kings' Day, January 6, to which all who contributed are invited.
Focusing on urban folias, Suzel Ana Reily shows how participants use the ritual journeys and musical performances of the folias to create sacred spheres distinct from, yet intimately related to, their everyday world. Reily calls this practice "enchantment" and argues that it allows the folia communities to temporarily make the social ideals of mutual reciprocity and equality embodied in their religious beliefs a reality. The contrast between their ritual experiences and the daily lives of these impoverished workers, in turn, reinforces the religious convictions of these devotees of the music of the Magi.
NAOMI GLADISH SMITH Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2007 Library of Congress PS3619.M5923W36 2007 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
What might a spirit feel on first awakening in the afterlife? Fear, confusion, denial?
When Maggie Stevens, a former world-class gymnast, first awakens in a hospital bed, she is amazed that her body is pain-free. After all, she fell off a balance beam during a competition and crashed head-first onto the auditorium floor. What Maggie doesn't at first realize is that the hospital is like no place on earth. She meets other newly arrived "patients": Kate Douglas, a no-nonsense academic who suffered a heart attack; Ryan James, a handsome musician, who is recovering from a motorcycle crash; Frank Chambers, an ex-cop from Chicago, and Patrick Riley, a church organist, both of whom arrived from a Swiss cancer clinic; and Claire and Swen, a young couple running away from the army. When they all learn that they didn't recover from their illnesses and injuries, they go on an adventure to discover the nature of their new reality. Each must discover that their earthly choices and intentions paved the way for their final destination.
This book presents a correspondence between two friends who disagree about how to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” Crosby argues that Christians understand themselves as hearing a definitive word of revelation spoken by God and intended for all human beings. But Betty sees Christianity as one of several options, usually the preferred way for those born in the faith, but no more unique or special than Hinduism or Buddhism. It is a debate over the kind of initiative the Christian God takes, or does not take, toward human beings. Throughout the debate Crosby alleges that Betty’s God is a very finite god, an all-too-human god, and for that very reason is something different from the God venerated by Christians, while Betty maintains that his theism remains within the Christian orbit and is a much needed corrective to a religion with exclusivist tendencies.
The debate between the two friends is presented here in the form of a correspondence they conducted over a period of two years (and did not originally intend for publication). It has undergone very little editing and revision; the authors have wanted to preserve the spontaneous give and take of their exchange. Together they have produced a work of philosophical dialogue that is unusually fruitful in its ability to clarify some fundamental issues of religion.
Www.Here I Am
Russell Stannard Templeton Press, 2002 Library of Congress PZ7.S79314Ww 2002
Sam didn't think much of religion. What with science being able to explain almost everything about us and about the world we live in, there didn't seem much point to believing in God any more. But then came the day Sam was exploring the Internet, and stumbled across God's website! At least, that was what it claimed to be.
Sam decides to investigate, and becomes engrossed in conversations with the mysterious person on the other end. Together they explore the great questions arising out of evolution, astronomy, cosmology, the laws of nature, and the possibility of miracles. Not that Sam knew much science. Fortunately the stranger was able to explain the science from scratch in a way that Sam could understand. They also tackled the problems of evil, suffering, and death; that really set Sam thinking.
Readers will be challenged to form their own personal responses to the issues raised based on a listing of forty questions at the back of the book. Sample questions include:
•What do you hope to achieve in your lifetime?
•Does belief in God play a part in that?
•Do you believe in evolution—that you came from animals?
•Do you think there is life on other planets?
•If so, does that make human beings less important?
•Do the world religions contradict each other, or are they simply talking about the same God in somewhat different ways?
•How should belief in an afterlife affect the way you live this life?