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intro and question about historical literature on Christ / Christianity

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi I do not believe in teaching religion. Though I hold spiritual / religious beliefs quite deeply I do not attempt to transmit these to my child. If she sees me praying and expresses interest I am happy to share and involve her but I do not expect her to do or believe anything particular - it is up to her to find her path, and agnosticism / atheism are compatible with other forms of belief / disbelief. We haven't talked specifically about God, whether there is / is not one / many (to me very insignificant distinctions).

Of course others do talk about God.

I think I am in a similar predicament as an unschooler who has to deal with the fact that one is surrounded by a culture of schooling and expectation that children go to school so that one who doesn't feels that one "doesn't" go to school. Of course children who don't have a garden aren't made to feel that they "don't" garden. Or eat pomegranate, do yoga, whatever.
But somehow school has achieved this status where the population is divided btw those who do and those who don't. So one needs to have a name for what one does, call it homeschooling or unschooling or SOMETHING where as what you wanted to be doing was just whatever you were doing - cooking, gardening, reading, etc.

I now wonder if there is something similar I have to deal with regarding religion. Conventionally there is a name for the spectrum of religious tradition that influences me most and which is associated with my socio-cultural-ethnic background, but I have little or no use for the label.

Now the question arises since the rest of the world is not free of labels.

Especially with Christmas everywhere my dd (6yo) has taken interest in trees, ornaments, advent counter, etc. I feel that I ought to offer some resources for her to understand more about what Christmas is. I can explain to some extent myself, but I was wondering if there were any books you might know of that discuss the life and work of Jesus Christ and other influential people of the time without a religious thrust. Also any books that discuss the Christmas festival as it relates to and builds upon non Christian festivals that preceded or co-evolved with it. While you are at it I would be interested in any books about this period in history and how the various kinds of religious beliefs evolved.
post #2 of 6
I'm moving this over to Religious Studies... I think you'll find a lot of great ideas there for a more "academic" discussion of historical people, places, and religious movements!

Have you considered something like the Jefferson bible?
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reference. How are the two forums meant to differ? Apart from the "academic" question, I was also hoping to connect with people who shared my sense of spirtuality, which is not necessarily separate from academic inquiry.

Thanks again for the reference, it looks quote interesting.
post #4 of 6

Spirituality is a "support only" forum, with specific guidelines intended to keep discussions focused on shared practice and belief. Religious Studies is more open with the focus on the academic or foundational side of the equation. I tend to think of Spirituality as "how do you do..." and Religious Studies as "why do you do...", but that's just me. Here are the Spirituality guidelines:

The Spirituality board is a forum of support, respectful requests of information and sharing of faith and practice. To uphold this purpose the board will not host discussions of debate or criticism. Disagreements about spiritual issues should be set aside out of respect for the diversity and varying interpretations and beliefs that we hold as a community.

While we will not restrict discussions to persons of the faith being discussed we will be active in discouraging an individual from posting for the purpose of disagreement, with no interest in practicing the faith or belief in discussion, or to prove a faith or a belief to be wrong, misguided, or not based on fact. Proselytizing, to convert to a faith or from one, will not be permitted. Controversial subjects of discussion related to spiritual and religious beliefs and origins can be found elsewhere on the internet and we invite you to seek out other sites for that purpose.
Since you're looking for books and articles about people and events central to various religions but presented outside the context of the applied religion, you'll probably get more feedback here in RS.

Please feel free to PM me (or any mod) with further questions or concerns about forum organization, and good luck finding the sorts of books you're looking for!
post #5 of 6
are you just looking for books to better explain it on a kid's level? or an adult level that you can then explain to her?

there is a bunch of books for adults - I have one called "History of Christianity" that goes through everything from Jesus Christ to modern day. it's not a relgious book - it's a history book about Chirstianity. if you go to Border's a library you can usually find a bunch of them. most are HUGE! I usually just find the areas I"m interested in at the moment and read that section.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Just to share, I found an informative series of books on Christianity written by historian Garry Wills:
What Jesus Meant
What Paul Meant
What the Gospels Meant

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