Skepticism

Spring and Summer Reading

If you want to get a head on reading some fun and interesting books, here’s a reminder of what’s coming up:

I’ll be posting the interviews and reviews of I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheist’s Eyes by Hemant Mehta and Nothing: Something to Believe In by Nica Lalli mid month.

This month, our main reading selection is Ten Zen Seconds: Twelve Incantations for Purpose, Power and Calm by Eric Maisel. During the month, I’d like to talk about the self-help and coaching genre, and examine how and why it is so often mired in woo and superstition. Eric takes the genre and elevates it to a rational level, and I’ll be interviewing him as part of his blog book tour on May 28th.

Next month, we’ll be reading the e-book, Gormglaith, a non-magical fantasy by Heidy Wyss. I plan to talk with Heidi about magic in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. According to her website, “The writer was born (1975) in Geneva, Switzerland and educated there and in the UK. She has worked as an histologist and technical writer. Heidi says she likes raves, gardening and bats.”

In addition to our May and June main reading selections, I’ll also be interviewing Randall Balmer, an evangelical Christian and author of the book Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical’s Lament which is a scathing critique of the religious right and its distortion of Christian values. I think it’s an interesting and thought provoking counterpoint to Sam Harris’s idea that moderates provide cover to fundamentalists by not allowing religion to be criticized. As an evangelical, Balmer may not even qualify as a moderate. He’s certainly liberal politically — and unabashedly critical of his own religion.

For those who don’t have experience inside evangelical Christianity, Randall’s book and related PBS series, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America would be well worth your time. It’s availble in paperback and DVD on amazon.

writerdd

Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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5 Comments

  1. I’ll also be interviewing Randall Balmer, an evangelical Christian and author of the book Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical’s Lament which is a scathing critique of the religious right and its distortion of Christian values. I think it’s an interesting and thought provoking counterpoint to Sam Harris’s idea that moderates provide cover to fundamentalists by not allowing religion to be criticized.

    I certainly hope more of him start showing up. Too many of the 'moderates' I've seen tend to be apologists and apathists who provide said cover.

  2. Sounds interesting, Writerdd, though looking at the Amazon bites on Mehta's book I have to wonder about his experience at Second Baptist in Houston. At least at Lakewood Church, what I've heard from people who go there (customers at past job), is that it is very community oriented. It is 2 minutes away from me and shares a garage with a Landmark Theater; I've never felt the need to check it out since it moved into the old Rockets stadium, but perhaps I should just as I used to…ahem…check out other things to get my own evidence. (Harper's magazine had an extensive article about a visit to Ted Haggard's church in the May 2005 issue. It's interesting especially as membership has risen in the megachurches.)

    The slef-help book genre…grrr. In the bookstore I'd like to politely shuffle people over to the literature section. ;-)

    Looking forward to your discussions.

  3. "During the month, I’d like to talk about the self-help and coaching genre, and examine how and why it is so often mired in woo and superstition."

    Ive always seen this as fairly obvious – because you can promise quicker and more powerful results if you use magic.

    Sure theres other issues as well, but thats the main problem in my view.

    Otara

  4. This has nothing to do with this post, but I'm having a problem with my RSS newsreader and its subscription to this blog. It hasn't shown me any updates in at least the last week (if not more), and when I just tried to resubscribe, it told me it couldn't find any feeds for this blog.

    Is anyone else having this problem? My newsreader is bloglines, in case that's important.

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