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Old 02-28-2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I am at a point in life where I need to develop some kind of spirituality.
I grew up as a born again christian. The church we went to was modestly conservative. I was very involved in the church, went on to a christian college. There, I saw alot of hypocrisy. I began questioning but got to real answers. I was pretty much done with the christian church when I was turned on for getting pregnant before I was married. When my BFF died in Oct. that was the last straw for me and I have pretty much lost all faith.

But....I feel like something is missing. Having some sort of belief system.
I would like to learn about a variety of spiritual/religious lifestyles. I am even open to reading about Christianity....has to be outside of the Bible though. Right now, the bible to me is comparable to Aesops Fairytales.

I want to be able to figure out what works for me. Not believe in something because someone told me to or believes thats just how it needs to be.

So...if you have any good book recommendations or websites etc..... I would love any info.

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #2
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

There's a book called "The Source of my Strength" by Charles Stanley that really helped me back to reconciliation with my faith...you may want to try that.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&camp=1789&tag=chrisficti-20&creative=9325&path=http://www.amazon.com/Source-Strength-Dr-Charles-Stanley/dp/0785205691[/url]
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

Have you checked out Unitarian Universalists? http://www.uua.org/aboutus/index.shtml

I love going to UU services b/c they discuss ALL religions. One days the service may be about a Bhuddist story, the next Muslim, the next Christian, etc.
http://www.uua.org/visitors/6798.shtml
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:54 PM   #4
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I love books by Beth Moore or Max Lucado.
I also think "The Case for Faith" or "The Case for Christ" are great books written by Lee Strobel.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:02 PM   #5
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I like Max Lucado, too---his children's books. I just found some little workbooks of his at the thrift store the other day. I bought the one about "the Love of God."

I've turned to the symbolism behind Christianity (and all faiths). That is how I feel connection. The myths of the sacred texts are really only meaningful to me when they represent ME and what happens inside my heart.

I really liked the books I read by Elaine Pagels. Some of it really touched me and some of it I kinda just read over for informations sake. The Gnostic Gospels, Beyond Belief and the Gnostic Paul were all enjoyable. She explains the symbolic or hidden meaning of the Bible from a more Gnostic pov, so it isn't a literal reading of scriptures.

The Power of Myth by Bill D. Moyers, Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell is excellent. It explores the symbolism of myths throughout history. It is done in interview style, which was surprising to me. I, personally, loved to see that there seems to be some universal symbols. Things that humans seem to need or crave or create. And the things we create are symbolic of us-of our beliefs and where are priorities are. Very fascinating!
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:50 PM   #6
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

Thanks Mama's. I am gonna check out the site listed and into the books you all recommended.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:33 PM   #7
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

I'm in the middle of The Shack by William Young. It's a fiction book, but it's great!
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:41 PM   #8
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

A bit long ... my apologies ...

Thank you for being so honest and for being willing to continue the search. The search for truth is the ultimate pursuit of life. Too many in our culture have given up on that pursuit and have settled for relative, universal thinking that says “everybody’s right”, “there are many ways to God”, and “all religions are basically the same”. We look and notice that all of these religions believe in love, goodness, kindness, etc. After all, they only disagree about creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, the nature of humanity, salvation, and destiny. But those are just details. Other than that, they are all basically the same

Every religion is exclusive at some point. Christianity gets the biggest blame for it, but all religions must at some level be. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Atheism, Universalism, and every other “ism” you can think of at some point needs to draw a line that says “This is what it means to be a __________.” Even someone who says “everything is acceptable” or “every faith has a little bit of truth” needs to draw a line when someone else says, “No, I don’t think every faith has some truth in it.”

That’s just a really long way of saying, keep pursuing truth. Also, good for you for not believing in something just because someone said so. My dh has a wonderful story about how his mom taught him this valuable lesson. Truth can be verified.

I am just finishing a book called Already Gone which actually seems to describe where you are coming from … people who grew up in a Bible believing church, who went to Sunday School regularly, and grew up in solid homes but who for one reason or another leave the church. Some eventually come back and some never come back. There was a lot of research done for the book interviewing these types of people, and the two big reasons they found for folks leaving were:
1. Hypocrisy of people in the church
2. Lack of belief in the Bible (that it is actually accurate and can be believed)
So that said, you are certainly not alone. Many folks are where you are, and it seems that churches are only starting to realize this and address it.

I’m sorry to hear about the poor response of Christians towards you when you became pregnant. Jesus spoke the harshest words against sin but he had the greatest love for sinners. He spoke out against stealing but embraced Zacchaeus who stole from people as he collected taxes. He spoke out against adultery yet defended the woman caught in adultery. Sometimes his followers get that confused and in an attempt to hate the sin they end up coming off as if they hate the sinner instead. So, I’m sorry that happened. It is not right.

I am also sorry to hear about the death of your BFF. Dealing with death is never easy. I lost my grammy when I was young and had many difficult questions for God. My dh lost his mother when he was a teen and had some questions for God. So again, you are not alone.

As for pursuing future study and research, here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Look to the founders – I know you mentioned not wanting to read the Bible and comparing its validity with Aesop. That’s understandable, but I’d encourage you to read the scriptures of the religions you are wondering about ... even if you read them all like stories at first. I’d read the Torah, an English translation of the Koran, and the Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John … get a good readable translation … NIV and NRSV are pretty good … New Living Translation may be more readable for you). Perhaps read some of the eastern scriptures as well. What this allows you to do though is to compare religions based on the founders rather than based on the followers. Followers can mess things up but founders know what they were thinking.

2. OK, that said, I can understand wanting non-Bible resources at this point in your search. Here are some ideas for non-Bible resources:
a. When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson (this may help with your dealing with the death of your BFF … ignore what the media say about him. He’s just a Christian trying to help families)
b. Ravi Zacharias is a Christian who grew up a Hindu in India, became an aethiest, turned to Jesus Christ, and is now a preacher. He speaks around the world, has a radio program, and has published many books. He is very respectful of people from other faiths and worldviews and understands that we are all grappling with difficult issues. He wrote a book called Jesus Among Other Gods. He also wrote several books in a conversation style that deal with different figures. They include: New Birth or Rebirth (Jesus and Krishna), Sense and Sensuality (Jesus and Oscar Wilde), and The Lotus and the Cross (Jesus and Buddha).
c. Names like Josh McDowell, Billy Graham, Lee Strobel, Charles Stanley, Beth Moore, etc. will give you some good perspectives on Christianity.
d. Finally, I’d be careful with more liberal writers who talk about Jesus. They tend to have huge flaws in their thinking. A few of these folks include Karen Armstrong, John Crossan, Elaine Pagels, and other folks you might see in most PBS, Discovery Channel, and History Channel type shows when they air shows about the real Jesus. My dh has read many of their writings, and I’ve seen them on TV. It’s great to read them to understand another perspective, but so often they “reinterpret Jesus”, misrepresent His beliefs, take other Gospels at face value but constantly question Gospels in the Bible, fail to address the serious questions about other Gospels, or simply misinterpret or misrepresent.

I hope this list of resources didn’t overwhelm you. I just wanted to give you a few thoughts and help as I could. Again, I am so glad to hear you are pursuing truth. If you pursue it honestly, you will find it. I’ll be praying for you as you continue to cope with the loss of your BFF. That’s never easy. Please feel free to PM me at any time.
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Last edited by knlrachel; 02-28-2010 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:45 PM   #9
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado is good. If you're looking between Max Lucado and Lee Strobel... I like them both but Strobel is a much "heavier" writer.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:48 PM   #10
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Re: Spiritual/Religious Books...recommend some

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebentrup24 View Post
He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado is good. If you're looking between Max Lucado and Lee Strobel... I like them both but Strobel is a much "heavier" writer.
Max Lucado is good too ... yeah, Strobel is heavier ... The Bible Answer Man may also be another resource.
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