Friday, 4 December 2009

World Religion Challenge: Introductory Post

World ReligionReligion fascinates me (much to my fathers horror). I grew up agnostic (I suppose) in a country that, during most of my childhood, was officially Christian, but is probably one of the more liberal and unreligious countries in the world. We studied religion in school and I always got a good grade (again, my father was horrified). I find religion so tightly connected to peoples culture and cultures are such a big part of who we are, and people are fascinating. As the world grows smaller and we meet people from different cultures and beliefs on a regular basis learning about each others cultures becomes so much more important. Because of this I knew I needed to take part in the World Religion Challenge put together by Bibliofreak. Here are the rules:

The Challenge will run from Jan 1st 2010 to Dec 31st 2010.  There are four categories to the Challenge:

She decided to lift a note from Taoism by calling these Paths (Tao means "way" or "path") to Reading Challenge Enlightenment:

1. The Bare Bones Path (Also Know As: The *Technically* There's Only Three Path): Read something about what are *technically* the only world religions, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.  (These are considered, by some scholars, to be the only World Religions because while Judaism and Hinduism have the numbers, they don't proselytize or really invite other people to join, making it more of an ethnicity).

2. The Penthouse Path (Also Known As: The Five Biggies Path): Read something about the five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

3. The Universalist Path (Also Known As: The Above and Beyond Path): Read something by all five of the major world religions PLUS more books about any or all of the following: Shintoism, Animism, Taoism, Confucianism, Wicca, Mythology, Atheism, Occult, Tribal Religions, Voodoo, Unitarianism, Baha'i, Cults, Scientology, Mysticism, Rastafarianism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Agnosticism, Gnosticism, Satanism, Manichaeism, Deism, Comparative Religion, Religious Philosophy, Jungiansim,  Symbolism, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc., etc. etc. (you may also read about another aspect of one of the 5 Biggies)

4. The Unshepherded Path (Also Known As: The Don't Tell Me What to Do Path): Read as many books as you would like about whatever religions you want.

I’m going for The Unshepherded Path since I am not sure how much time I will have this year but I want to take part. I haven’t decided on a final list but here are some of the books I am seriously considering.

List of Possible books

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose. This book was recommended by several book bloggers in the fall and when I realised that the author had interned with A. J. Jacobs who wrote The Year of Living Biblically which I loved (a very good option for this challenge for those who haven’t read it), I knew I had to read it. (Christianity)

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce. I first came across this book on Susan Wise Bauer’s blog and it seemed very interesting. The growth of the Christian evangelicals in America is something that I find very interesting. (Christianity)

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. This book has been on my reading radar for quite some time. It is a book about reading books. I love books like that. But in addition to this I am interested in it because of where it is set both with regards to country and to culture. (Islam)

Om Gud (About God) by Jonas Gardell. This book is in Swedish. The author is a stand up comedian and societal commentator. Gardell grew up in a Baptist family and is the brother of a famous religious scholar. Knowing this author it should be a very interesting read. (Christianity)

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I read Interpreter of Maladies last year for school and absolutely loved it, because of this I have wanted to read this for ages. This seems like the perfect opportunity too. (Hinduism)

Night by Elie Wiesel. Another book that has been on my radar for a while but I have never gotten around to reading. I find this rather surprising since I went through a phase in middle school when I read everything I could lay my hands on about the holocaust. I am surprised I missed this one. (Judaism)

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortensen. Really you had me at educating girls. Throw in another culture and I just have to read this book. It fits into this challenge because it is also about Islam. (Islam)

The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama. If you are going to read about Buddhism you might as well go to their spiritual leader. So a book by the Dalai Lama it is. (Buddhism)

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. This book keeps coming up as an influential book on peoples view of their own Christian faith. To me that is reason enough to read it. (Christianity)

The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad. Having recently listened to the audio book of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini I want to read more books set in Afghanistan. Although this book is written by a Westerner in Afghanistan I still think it will give an interesting portrayal of a facet of Islam. (Islam) 

Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey among Hasidic Girls by Stephanie Levine. I first saw this one on Eva of A Striped Armchair’s list of books for this blog and was immediately intrigued so I downloaded the sneak preview to my Kindle for PC and after just a few pages I knew I had to read this book. It looks amazingly good. (Judaism)

As you can see I’m a bit thin on some religions so if you have suggestions, please feel free to suggest away.

1 comment:

J.T. Oldfield said...

Welcome to the challenge! Your tentative list is awesome!