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ATHEISM FOR MUSLIMS
A Guide to Questioning Islam, Religion & God for a Better Future
By Adam Wadi
This is the best book I have ever read on the Quran and its theology, and I have read many. Interestingly, the arguments against Quranic validity proffered by the author are equally applicable to Christianity. Nevertheless, the book is not only a primer on the Quran it is a logical and reasonable discussion of the purpose of its many rules, without bellicose attack.
The author is not Adam Wadi. That is the author’s pen name for safety, but from the writing and text of Atheism for Muslims, one can see that the author is highly intelligent and well educated. He poses the following for consideration:
“We’ve now reached a tipping point in the history of humankind. Just like the universe, human knowledge is expanding faster as time progresses. Our understanding of planet Earth and our Homo sapiens ancestors is more accurate than ever before. Justice systems and human rights laws have developed so substantially that they are unrecognizable from the ones we had a 100 years ago. So let's ask, what purpose do religions serve in keeping social order, which cannot be maintained by humans?
“But there are religions holding non-altruistic ideals which are also hindering us. Religious ideologies which withhold the rights of women and homosexuals, religious doctrines which declare the Big Bang Theory and Evolution blasphemy, and religious creeds which condemn those who don’t believe what’s written in their holy books.
“Depending on our faith we may believe some, all, or no gods are fictional. But it doesn’t matter which because any suffering or discrimination caused by those gods was 100% real. This is why it is important to strive towards distinguishing between fiction and reality. Religions were so successful at keeping social order because people believed they had divine legitimacy. This is what made people conform, not question their political leaders, and foster an insular groupthink environment. So we can keep exclusively relying on religions to enforce goals and regulate humanity in the same way it did thousands of years ago. Or, we can adapt and find a middle ground before the social order and structures religion creates does more harm than good to humanity in the next 10, 100 and 1,000 years.”
This book leads by way of logical thinking and examples. Even if you are not interested in reading the part applicable to the Quran, all other parts are well worth the read.
Atheism for Muslims is highly recommended, and Twogaa thanks the real author for his bravery! Truth always has a difficult time surfacing, but this is a very good start.
GODLESS CITIZENS in a Godly REPUBLIC
By R. Laurence Moore and Isaac Kramnick
This book presents a sharp and convincing work on how avowed atheists have been derided since the founding of the nation. Nonbelievers have often had a second-class legal status and have had to fight for their rights as citizens. It took until 1961 for the Supreme Court to ban religious tests for state officials, despite Article 6 of the Constitution. Religionist judges have a habit ignoring what they don’t like in the Constitution or constitutional history.
Why have historians traditionally ignored the role of nonbelievers in American history? In a nation dedicated to the separation of church and state, we have seen furious battles over compulsory school prayer, discrimination against nonbelievers, and continuing efforts to declare this to be a “Christian nation,” when it is not and never was.
Our demographics are increasingly secular, while religious conservatives are trying harder than ever to define the nation’s law and politics in their terms. They have already stacked our courts from top to bottom. While secularism is under vicious attack, nonbelievers are standing up and speaking out as never before.
This very readable and well-documented book puts into focus what First Amendment protectionists are experiencing.
Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
By Oren Harman
Oren Harman is a scientist with a poet’s soul. This book is a must read.
Evolutions brings life to the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the Earth and Moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking Mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind's struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.
Often assigning character from a third-person point of view to some player along the evolutionary path, Harman gives the reason as to why the path exists at all. Mixing prose with a poetic brush not only simplifies what science has brought us but makes this book delightfully readable.
Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate
By George Lakoff
This is the quintessential know your competitor, know your enemy for progressives. It covers the issues that define our future: climate change, inequality, immigration, health care, and more.
Once you understand what is behind Republican and conservative rhetoric, i.e., the mind-set, it begins to make more sense why they propose or oppose what they do. Once you understand the “Strict Father Morality” syndrome, much of the confusion in the mind of the progressive listener goes away. That helps in a “Why” understanding in the conversation. It doesn’t offer a remedy or compromise to the problem, but it is a first step and takes some of the pressure off.
The author, George Lakoff, has written on subjects of preconditioned mindset, linguistics and the effects of framing the debate for years. Don’t Think Of An Elephant is clear, concise and written in everyday common, understandable language. If you are a progressive, you should have this book in your personal library. Among other insights to the conservative mind, Lakoff covers what conservatives want because of their preconditioned learning in the areas of moral order, morality, economics, government, education, health care, same-sex marriage and abortion, nature, corporations, regulation, rights and more…
It all becomes so clear, as the author organizes what conservatives are about. It is not a conservative bashing, and he makes no judgement. It is about understanding and recognizing where conservative philosophy comes from, so that while the progressive is still asking questions on an issue in the conversation, the conservative already has a prejudgment vocalized in short order.
However, in conclusion, Lakoff reminds us about the extremes:
“Remember once more that our goal is to unite our country behind our values, the best of traditional American values. Right-wing ideologues need to divide our country via a nasty cultural war. They need discord and shouting and name calling and put-downs. We win with civil discourse and respectful cooperative conversation. Why? Because it is an instance of the nurturant model at the level of communication and our job is to evoke and maintain the nurturant model.
Respond by framing
Think and talk at the level of values
Say what you believe”
House of Spies
By Daniel Silva
Arabs and Africans by ethnicity, Europeans by passports, all had spent time in the caliphate of ISIS.
From different countries and on different airlines they trickled into London unsuspected. Each cell, one for Luton, Harlow, and Gravesend, met for a final meal and, afterward, each member ritually prepared their bodies for death.
The death toll of the independently timed attacks was horrendous. All of London was now on edge. What will happen next and where?
Daniel Silva is the absolute master of spy thrillers and has numerous kudos as a New York Times best seller. In House of Spies, the London attack brings together from diverse evidence sources the unlikely allegiance of Israeli, French and British intelligence services, each working on critical time urgency to avoid another attack, this time with a dirty bomb.
This is great entertainment if you are into spy novels, and Silva’s ability to develop each character in a way that you feel you actually know them, both good and dysfunctional, is a unique talent. He, as all good fiction writers, suspends disbelief with just enough factual research to establish actual validity, while then taking the reader on a fictional tour.
Book by Dan Brown
Whoever You Are.
Whatever You Believe.
Everything is about to change.
Edmond Kirsch is a futurist and scientist. He has invited his once Harvard teacher and now close friend, Robert Langdon, professor of symbology and religious iconology to Spain and the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for an announcement. This discovery, this presentation “will change the face of science forever.” Kirsch is famous for his high-tech inventions and audacious predictions, but the astonishing breakthrough he is about to announce will answer two fundamental questions of human existence.
There are several hundred guests who find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, but before the long-sought answers to human existence are revealed, chaos suddenly erupts, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Avoiding arrest and imminent danger, Langdon must escape Bilbao. With him is the elegant museum director, Ambra Vidal, who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona and Kirsch’s apartment with capture warrants outstanding against them in a perilous quest to locate the cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s discovery to the world.
Langdon and Vidal run into violent and powerful religious resistance whose shadowy figures stop at nothing to prevent their quest. That resistance seems to be further enforced out of Spain’s Royal Palace itself. The only way to keep the world from knowing this discovery is to capture Langdon and Vidal before they can find the password to Kirsch’s computer. The truth lies within the discovery, and Langdon and Vidal know that it must be revealed, if only that can be accomplished before they are captured.
This is an exciting novel full of anticipation of what is to happen next but also imparts truths that all should consider.
You will not want to put PROOF down. This is a new legal thriller author who is also an appellate lawyer.
She has already won awards for writing and no wonder. Her protagonist is Caroline Auden, now an inexperienced street lawyer after initially being hired by a large prestigious law firm that didn’t work out.
When she chases down a nursing home attendant who stole her grandmother’s very expensive watch just before she died, this new to the street lawyer uncovers a huge not-so charitable corporation, administrating a vast scam and cover-up of numerous nursing homes convincing patients to will their estate to the corporation. As she investigates further, her questions and intrusion are not well received and her life becomes endangered.
Fortunately for Carolyn, before law school she was an IT engineer and had learned hacking from her father. This tool and being befriended and hidden by the homeless of Los Angeles give Carolyn a fighting chance of exposing the corporation before their hitman does her in.
This is one of the best legal thrillers I have read in quite a while. Highly recommended. Tight on character development. Fast moving plot. I guarantee you will like it!
“In the hours after midnight, Indian Springs suddenly appears to weary travelers as a glowing miniature galaxy, strewn in a south to north arc across that desolate corner of the universe known as the northernmost edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. Overhead, the real stars are mere pinpricks of light fixed above that faint beckoning shimmer.”
Thus begins the Prologue of a murder thriller that keeps the reader glued. But first, you have to immerse yourself into the feeling of a small, scantily populated town, Indian Springs, whose existence (older seedy motels with blinking “vacancy” lights and one Kwik Stop gas offering) is because of the confluence of five major highways. The closest city of any size being a six hour drive.
Initially, you meet Paisano County Chief Deputy Matt Ridgeway sitting in his patrol car around midnight and parked around a corner where he can observe the Kwik Stop. He sees the newly hired reporter, Evan Blaine, for the twice-weekly Indian Springs Dispatch leaving the store with a six pack. Evan is running from lost love in his home of Montana. You get to know him and what has marked his feelings, as the plot moves forward centering on several murders.
Sitting in his patrol car, Ridgeway starts thinking about his Sheriff, Sheriff Leo Blunt, and a jail break they had. It was the only jail break in the 25 years that Blunt was Sheriff, if in fact you could call it a break. One of the regular drunks just walked out. Blunt never locked the cells for the drunks, “Sober ‘em up, send ‘em on their way.” Nobody had ever been stupid enough to break out when they weren’t locked in. But in the middle of thought, the Chief Deputy notices a new beige Oldsmobile with Florida plates pull into Kwik Stop for gas. Two men get out. The driver walks to the back left tire, runs his hand over it, then brings his fingers to his mouth and lickes his fingertips. Deputy Ridgeway sees this as an odd thing to do and becomes more interested. Not only that, but the driver is clearly in a state of anger as filled with gas. The tire seems to be low or flat.
After filling with gas, the Oldsmobile heads down to the Rock Motel, and the two men check in for the night. As the light goes off in the room, Ridgeway runs the plate. There was an alert from Florida out on the plate, something about a fire with a couple of burnt bodies in it.
As you follow the intriguing plot, you learn that these two brothers are named Dink and Del, both terribly dysfunctional, Del being the stronger and just out of prison. Del is taking the Oldsmobile to Riverside, California for an inmate he met in prison. As it turns out, before they had reached Indian springs and at the insistence of Dink, but while Del is asleep in the passenger’s seat, they pick up a hitchhiker headed for California. Angione. This is the young man’s first trip thumbing it. He is about to find out that inexperience and naiveté on the road is a dangerous combination.
While these events are developing, a threesome, one of which is an employee, are planning on robbing the Rock Motel, a plan of tragic consequences. What I’ve told you here about the novel is only the fast moving beginning. The three cases ultimately converge into a fast moving law enforcement chase with high danger on all fronts.
Waltz Against the Sky is well written with good character development, plot sequence and timing. I highly recommend the novel, but here is the catch. The only place the book can be purchased is online at walking3bartpublishing.com.
Author Glen Larum is a retired newspaper editor.
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