Read It: Letter To A Christian Nation

Letter to a Christian Nation

Letter To A Christian Nation by Sam Harris

This book is the author’s way of addressing current topics in connection between religion, science and humanism. He challenges the influence of faith(religion) to advancement in science and politics.

Talking about religion is a difficult topic because no matter how careful you are to justify things, some people may easily get offended. Reading the book, I can say that I agree with some of Harris’ points and some not really. His arguments not are entirely new to me but he makes valid points. Here are some of his statements that made me wince and nod:

  • “It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail.” 
  • “The truth, however, is that the conflict between religion and science is unavoidable. The success of science often comes at the expense of religious dogma;the maintenance of religious dogma always comes at the expense of science.”
  • “We might also wonder, in passing, which is more moral: helping people purely out of concern for their suffering, or helping them because you think the creator of the universe will reward you for it?”
  • “I have no doubt that your acceptance of Christ coincided with some very positive changes in your life. Perhaps you now love other people in a way that you never imagined possible. You may even experience feelings of bliss while praying. I do not wish to denigrate any of these experiences. I would point out, however, that billions of other human beings, in every time and place, have had similar experiences – but they had them while thinking about Krishna, or Allah, or the Buddha, while making art or music, or while contemplating the beauty of Nature, There is no question that it is possible for people to have profoundly transformative experiences. And there is no question that it is possible for them to misinterpret these experiences, and to further delude themselves about the nature of reality.”
  • “Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”
  • “Indeed, religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are highly immoral – that is, when pressing these concerns inflicts unnecessary and appalling suffering on innocent human beings. This explains why Christians like yourself expend more “moral” energy opposing abortion than fighting genocide. It explains why you are more concerned about human embryos than about the lifesaving promise of stem-cell research. And it explains why you can preach against condom use in sub-Saharan Africa while millions die from AIDS there each year.”
  • “You are using your own moral intuitions to authenticate the wisdom of the Bible – and then, in the next moment, you assert that we human beings cannot possibly rely upon our own intuitions to rightly guide us in the world.”
  • “Religious moderation is the direct result of taking scripture less and less seriously. So why not take it less seriously still? Why not admit the the Bible is merely a collection of imperfect books written by highly fallible human beings.”
  • “We can either have a twenty-first-century conversation about morality and the human well-being – a conversation in which we avail ourselves of all scientific insights and philosophical arguments that have accumulated in the last two thousand years of human discourse – or we can confine ourselves to a first-century conversation as it is preserved in the Bible.”
  • “An average Christian, in an average church, listen to an average Sunday sermon has achieved a level of arrogance simply unimaginable in scientific discourse — and there have been some extraordinary arrogant scientists.”
  • “There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: the creator of the universe takes an interest in me, approves of me, loves me, and will reward me after death; my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain the best statement of the truth until the end of the world; everyone who disagrees with me will spend eternity in hell….”
  • “Clearly, it is time we learned to meet our emotional needs without embracing the preposterous. We must find ways to invoke the power of ritual and to mark those transitions in every human life that demand profundity— birth, marriage, death—without lying to ourselves about the nature of reality. Only then will the practice of raising our children to believe that they are Christian, Muslim, or Jewish be widely recognized as the ludicrous obscenity that it is. And only then will we stand a chance of healing the deepest and most dangerous fractures in our world.”

**I am raised in a Catholic family, went to a Catholic school from preschool to college. I can say that almost my whole life, I have been surrounded with the values and morals taught in a tight-knit Catholic community and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I learned the basic do’s and don’ts and the rest was up to me whether I try to pull it all off in life outside my home and my school. I cannot say I am a religious person nor can I confidently say that I am faithful (because religiousness and faithfulness are entirely different things) but I try to do what I believe is good,necessary and beneficial for me and those around me. I don’t have a problem with organized religion and I know people from different religious organizations, they are as human as I am – imperfect. We all have different beliefs and ways coping up with life and I think the best gift we can give one another is respect.

Read It: Love Walked In

Love Walked In

Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos

TFG: February Book Discussion

I promised myself that I’ll try to be more active in TFG discussions and I will start with with the February Book Discussion. I like trying out books from authors I haven’t read yet and joining in TFG helps a lot with it. :)

Cornelia’s real life started when a handsome stranger walked into the coffee shop. His name was Martin Grace and she fell for him right away. Little did she know that when he walked in, big changes are about to come her way.

Clare’s life turned upside down and it all started when her mom bought home ten full sets of towels – in different colors. She knew right then and there that something was wrong. Mom isn’t mom now and as much as she did not want to, she calls her father for help.

  1. This was an  interesting read. Cornelia and Clare are 2 girls of different age experiencing a longing for love in an entirely different perspective. Cornelia, looking for romance and a love that would last forever. Clare, longing for familial affection and a steadfast home. Usually, when I read novels in multiple POVs, the 2 characters are more or less searching for each other and are romantically involved so reading this was intriguing.
  2. I liked that every chapter shows which character POV I am going to read. It helps to understand the story more.
  3. Clare is a lovable girl. Her penchant for orphaned fictional characters shows that she wants to be a strong girl despite the problems she is facing at home. She considers herself as an almost orphan since her mom left her and her dad is unattached to her.
  4. Cornelia is a hopeless romantic. She dreams of finally meeting Mr. Perfect and when she does, she falls head over heels for Martin Grace.
  5. I love the fact that the two girls unexpectedly meet in the coffee shop and the circumstance behind it got me off guard. It was a really nice twist.
  6. Martin Grace is as dashing a bachelor can be. He is described as a gentleman and a good looking fellow (according to Cornelia). He embodies a man who girls can easily fall for. As a father to Clare, he sucks. He doesn’t know what to do (even if it is obvious) and does not seem to make an effort to comfort Clare and be close to her. I think he regards Clare as a burden.
  7. The events that has happened after Cornelia and Clare’s meeting shows that love is not all about romance. It comes in all shapes and sizes and you can find love in unexpected times and circumstances. I really want to discuss more but doing so would spoil a lot of the story’s plot.

Read It: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

“I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me “weird” and “different,” were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me ME.”

  1. I must admit this was pretty funny. A lot of the things that has happened made me question if these events were really possible and then there were photos. So I guess, it verifies my questions. It is a light and quick read, something to cheer you up at the end of a tiring(or stressful) day.
  2. There wasn’t really a chronological order of events in the chapters. It was confusing at first but I made a mental note to treat each chapter as a different story altogether.
  3. I feel like I was reading someone’s blog. Or maybe more like, I feel like I was listening to a close friend telling a story about what happened during her day. I can imagine myself that at the end of the day I am on the phone (or in a coffee shop) with a friend and she goes on and on what happened to her for the last 24 hours. She tells things as they are and then jumps to another thought and then goes back to the original story.
  4. And I think Victor is a cool partner because he keeps up with Jenny’s oddities.

2015 Reading Challenge

imageI have been participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2011 and I think it is about time I try something new. For the past years I have been challenging myself to read more and more books and trying to push myself to finish my designated number. It is hard by the way, because I often end up speed reading by the fourth quarter of the year just to finish everything but I succeed anyway (giving myself a pat in the back here).

Anyway, while I was browsing Pinterest, I saw this pin (see image) and thought it might be a good idea to incorporate the 2 challenges together. I have upped my Goodreads Challenge to 50 books in a year- which I know is still a few books compare to other super readers out there. And this Reading Challenge, which also sums up to 50 books, calls for reading variety. I think this will be interesting since I’d be able to discover other genres which I have been neglecting.

So far, I have finished 7 out of 50 books since January but I have yet to check which genres I have to tick off from the list. Maybe I’ll post a monthly challenge update for this. Lets see.

Moon+Reader

imageI have been reading more ebooks lately mainly because of convenience. It is easier to bring an e-reader, phone or tablet around and the number of books you can store in it is just endless (depends on your device’s storage capacity). Another thing I like about reading an ebook is I can read while laying down on my bed with the lights off (I know this is bad for my eyes but laziness always kicks in when it comes to having to stand up just to turn off the lights, hehe). Anyway, I have tried a lot of apps but Moon+Reader takes the spot for the best ebook reader, at least for me.

Things that I like:

  • Supports an array of formats – epub, mobi, chm, cbr, cbz, umd, fb2, txt, html, rar, and zip. I was really happy to see that it supports cbr files because now I don’t have to download another app to read comic books.
  • Variety of visual options – It has preset themes (day and night theme) you can use and customize to your liking which is great because you can set it according to your reading preference. You can change the background and font colors as well as adjust the font size and brightness so you don’t have a hard time reading your favorite books.
  • Scrolling – You can also customize the way you scroll through pages (tap screen, swipe or use volume keys)
  • It also has a reading time out. It notifies you when you have been reading for an hour and sets a countdown timer (a minute) reminding you to rest your eyes.
  • It allows you to input notes, highlight texts and add bookmarks which you can review in summarized bullet form.
  • It shows your reading progress – how much you finished in a book, time spent reading (including the day you started) and calculates your reading speed (words/minute)
  • It is also free for download in Android.

I like the convenience of ebooks but traditional reading is still more euphoric – the smell of new(and old) books, pure bliss.

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