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need book recommendations: world's religions and spiritual journey in general

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

to keep this short, i'm looking for some good books to read as i attempt to begin a spiritual journey - born & raised catholic, kids are baptized catholic, and now i'm not even sure if i hold Christian beliefs!

i have no idea where or  how to start, but i really want to learn about the different religions of the world as well as discover more about my own beliefs.

what books/dvds/etc would you recommend?

post #2 of 5

If you are looking for a "user friendly" take on Christian beliefs I recommend "An Anchor for the Soul" by Ray Prichard.

post #3 of 5

Huston Smith's is a renowned religious studies scholar.  His Illustrated World Religions book is an excellent introduction to world religions. 

post #4 of 5

here are the first things that come to mind:

 

i enjoy learning about various religions from the point of view of ordinary practitioners, who are feeling out how to live their beliefs in daily life (spiritual memoir books, i guess).  a favorite of this genre:

Things Seen and Unseen: A year lived in faith by Nora Gallagher

She is Episcopalian.  one of my favorite books of this decade. through her searching and wrestling, serving in her community, she uncovers for herself her core beliefs. 

 

 

my favorite book for explaining the core beliefs of Buddhism:

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Naht Hanh

(Buddhism for some is their primary religious path, while other people of different faiths can benefit from Buddhist teachings on the practice of meditation.)

 

 

Islam: The Straight Path by John Esposito gives a very good introduction and is likely available in your library.

 

 

trying to remember the exact title for my fave Judaism book....all i'm thinking of are heavy books.

 

i am interested in (but have not yet read) The Faith Club, about 3 mothers, one Muslim, one christian, one Jewish.  i expect it would reveal the commonalities and differences among these faiths.

 

best wishes in your seeking and learning.

post #5 of 5

I highly highly highly recommend "Beginner's Grace" by Kate Braestrup.  She is UU... but the book isn't overtly UU, or anything... it does reference the bible a lot... but is also friendly to non-Christian persuasion.

 

It is basically a book about beginning a practice of prayer.  It is beautiful, insightful, accessible, and fairly easy to read.

 

I just went on a women's retreat where Kate was our keynote speaker and then she preached at our church service last Sunday.  She is engaging and brilliant.

 

ETA:  The reason that I recommend this book is that you asked for something that would help you begin a spiritual journey... and that's exactly what this book is helping me with.  It hasn't helped me to define my beliefs further, but it has inspired me to start praying again... and it has made the idea of prayer a lot more simple that I ever thought it was.  Even though she references the bible, the idea of prayer in this book is not necessarily tied to any particular belief system.  So basically, you don't have to know what you believe in order to begin a spiritual journey/practice

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