THE QUEST FOR GOD AND THE GOOD: WORLD PHILOSOPHY AS A LIVING EXPERIENCE
By Diana Lobel
Published by Columbia University Press, $26.50
We don’t often think about the extent to which philosophical frameworks guide both our religious quests and our everyday lives. Who or what is God? How are God and the world related? What is the good? How is our human conception of the good related to the ultimate Good? Do happiness, goodness and religiousness coincide? What is the relationship between the active life (in pursuit of the good) and the contemplative life (reflecting on God)?
GOD IS NOT ONE: THE EIGHT RIVAL RELIGIONS THAT RUN THE WORLD
By Stephen Prothero
Published by HarperOne, $16.99
In a world rife with religious conflict and militant fundamentalism, the temptation is strong to emphasize the unity of religions. On one side, those hostile to religion will blame all religions for similarly perpetuating ignorance and violence. For these people, the world would be a safer place without religion. On the other side, those eager to promote interreligious harmony will argue that religions are really different paths up the same mountain. For these people, the world would be a safer place if only people could understand that, basically, all religions are saying the same thing.
TREASURES OLD AND NEW
Edited by Thomas H. Groome and Michael J. Daley
Published by Orbis Books, $22
I was born in 1975, well after the Second Vatican Council. My Catholic parish in the suburbs of St. Louis was a vibrant place of contemporary Christian music, Marian devotions, progressive dinners, eucharistic adorations and adult Bible studies. It was a mix of old and new, tradition and innovation.
THE SEARCH FOR MEANING: A SHORT HISTORY
By Dennis Ford
Published by the University of California Press, $16.95
Over the course of our lives, we inevitably ask the question “Why?” Whether we seek to understand the purpose of our sorrows and joys, or whether we wonder if we will have any lasting significance, we all desire to understand the meaning of life. In his book, Dennis Ford, author of Sins of Omission: A Primer on Moral Indifference (Fortress Press), provides a helpful introduction on classic and contemporary approaches to meaning for those interested in this enduring human quest.