Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Annotated Table of Contents: Religion

Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II confronts the most persistent questions about religion, including, “Why does God permit suffering?”

 Penséees. Blaise Pascal. The first half of Pascal’s Pensées is profound. At one point, I considered Pascal’s Pensées to be the counterpoint to Islam’s Koran, “the only book needed in the world.” The second half of the book, arguing that the Catholic Church is the answer to the conundrums and dilemmas of humanity, is interesting, but less profound.

Under the Banner of Heaven. Jon Krakauer. A study in extremism. While this book is primarily about Mormon fundamentalists (read, believers in polygamy, which mainstream Mormons do not accept today), it is also a history of Mormonism. Hard to believe that people would be credulous enough to accept Joseph Smith’s account of the Angel Moroni and the golden plates which he translated from Egyptian hieroglyphics by means of magic glasses and a magic stone. But, along with Islam, Mormonism is one of the fastest growing world religions. Mormon fundamentalists believe that God gives his orders directly to  individuals and this leads to often bizarre behavior.

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