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Edward T. Babinski "Edward T. Babinski" RSS Feed (Greenville, S.C.)

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A Diagram of Synoptic Relationships (Book & Diagram), 2nd ed.
A Diagram of Synoptic Relationships (Book & Diagram), 2nd ed.
by Allan Barr
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Way to Illustrate Gospel Relationships! But THEY NEED TO PRODUCE AN ONLINE VERSION so scholars can highlight boxes, September 11, 2013
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Nice charts, I can't believe this tool has not been made available in an online format yet where one could highlight specific boxes, such as just the parables, or just resurrection miracle stories in each Gospel, and follow the trajectory of those stories from Gospel to Gospel via highlighted boxes.

An online version could also link each box on the chart to a synoptic comparison page like this one, making it extra handy:

I would also suggest adding the fourth Gospel, so people can see where it overlaps the most with the previous ones. In fact one could draw lines showing how the beginning of Luke with its tale of the "miraculous great catch of fish " corresponds roughly with the chapter at the very end of the Gospel of John, where the miracle is repeated. Or it could show how the story of Jesus casting the money changers out of the Temple at the end of Luke is told instead in the beginning of John.

So I implore the producers of this chart to produce an online version that scholars would find oh so handy when delivering lectures, something they could highlight and show on a projector screen. The way stories are distributed is part of research on the synoptic problem.

I would also suggest than an online version arrange the Gospels in the order of Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, the order of Gospel composition that most scholars propose. But an online version, given enough flexibility, could arrange the Gospels in any order, which would be wonderfully handy, retaining the tell tale colors and the lines showing the connections. And don't forget the ability to highlight particular trails of boxes!

there was no Jesus, there is no God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism
there was no Jesus, there is no God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism
by Raphael Lataster
Edition: Paperback
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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise introduction to Jesus Minimalism/Mythicism, September 11, 2013
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Nice place to start for the basic ideas behind Jesus Minimalism/Mythicism. Not that anyone needs to be a mythicist to acknowledge the questions involved in historical Jesus research or to acknowledge that a variety of interpretations exist from Minimalism to Maximal Conservatism. Many of the questions raised in the book are standard ones raised by historical Jesus scholars and applicable to such research even if one is not a Mythicist.

It will be interesting to see what the reviewers have to say about Jesus Mythicism after Richard Carrier's forthcoming book on Jesus Mythicism (no title yet), and Bart Ehrman's forthcoming book, How Jesus Became God. Carrier is a Minimalist/Mythicist, while Ehrman is agnostic but a non-Mythicist. Ehrman's approach is that Jesus was an apocalpytist.

I sent the author, Raphael Lataster some comments, and expand a bit on them here:

You did a fine job outlining the Jesus Minimalist or Mythicist perspective, especially for an audience not very familiar with that point of view. Your summations are clear and concise.

I agree it is essential to stress how easily people fall into reading Gospel stories back into Paul's writings even though Paul's writings preceded such stories rather than the other way around. I agree that scholars must take into account the trajectory of development of stories told about Jesus and the questions raised by such a trajectory, not only when comparing Paul's earlier writings with those of the Gospel authors, but even when comparing the ostensibly earliest Gospel, Mark, with stories found in later Gospels.

I also agree with you that it is probably significant that "Instead of scoffing at the Jews who were demanding miracles (1 Cor 1:22), Paul could have mentioned the multitude of miracles that Jesus supposedly performed and which people found so convincing." In other words Paul could have responded that tales of Jesus' miracles were legion. Instead, Paul only mentions the resurrection, and also leaves out the "many raised saints" story in Matthew (as do the rest of the Gospels and Acts).

I wonder though, if the study of "Aramaisms" in each Gospel can provide a way to argue that the Gospels contain some earlier material that might be historical? Not to mention the "apocalypticism" in Mark, which might point toward some historicity in the Gospels. I suppose for most scholars it's not a matter of choosing between mythicism and maximal conservatism, but determining how much of the material is historical and how much questionable, a semi-historical, semi-mythical position.

Richard Bauckham is fairly conservative compared with some (though no inerrantist, and he accepts Markan priority among the Gospels). He argues that Mark, the earliest Gospel. contains incidental names of people, names common to that time and place. Though a mythicist might respond that such names remained common for a long period of time, and their use might be a case of the author employing the idea of verisimilitude.

I also wonder about the "James" mentioned in a Pauline letter, and what that "James" believed, regardless of whether or not he was Jesus' literal "brother." The letter attributed to James does not appear to exhibit a very high Christology, nor a belief in a view of salvation based on what one believed about Jesus, but speaks more about the centrality of one's works. It certainly would be nice if we had first person writings from people other than Paul. And all that we have of Paul's first person testimony concerning Jesus are these, "he appeared to me." That's it. There aren't any other first person statements like that (aside from a brief statement in a letter questionably attributed to Peter).

One thought about your end note on the "women at the tomb" being "witnesses." Women were involved in rituals of mourning and anointing the body after death. That was well known to have been a job for women. And Mark's story of Jesus' death includes a very hasty burial, no time for anointing since the Sabbath as beginning soon, so the women go to anoint the body as soon as possible Sunday morning. Nor does Mark, the earliest Gospel, say the women say the risen Jesus. They were only witnesses to the empty tomb, not to the resurrection itself. And "they told no one" per Mark, so it's not a case of them being witnesses at all. Matthew who writes after Mark changes the story, because Matthew has added guards. So the women are no longer carrying items with which to anoint Jesus' body, and neither are they concerned with who will roll the stone to open the tomb for them as in Mark. That's because the addition of guards and a sealed tomb meant that the best reason Matthew could come up with was that the women were "going to see the tomb." And it is also in Matthew where one reads for the first time the tale about the risen Jesus appearing to two women outside the tomb, and Jesus in that case merely repeats the message of the angel sitting on the rock outside the tomb. So Mark's story truly has grown in the telling by the time Matthew as composed, and now there's a question for the first time of the women actually being witnesses to Jesus' resurrection. It's crazy of course how far Matthew took the tale, with an angel coming down out of heaven, the guards terrified, the stone moving away, and the angel sitting on top of it speaking to the women. Mark has none of that. He has one young man inside the tomb. No guards. And the women going to anoint the body. And the women don't see Jesus and they tell no one anything (the Greek is emphatic that they told no one anything).

Also, there is something called the "minimal facts" approach to arguing in favor of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. I don't think you mentioned that phrase in particular though you mentioned William Lane Craig in your work. Concerning that argument I would say that there is no agreed upon methodology that determines the historical facticity of documents whose provenance has not been universally deemed "historical" in the first place, such as partisan religious documents. And the only first person statement about the resurrection is found in Paul's writings, where he says, "Jesus appeared to me," with everything else being either Paul's non-specific talk about "spiritual bodies," or non-first person tales about the resurrected Jesus. Neither does the "minimal facts" approach deal with the trajectory of the documents, the development of the stories about the resurrection over time, from earlier vaguer mentions of "appearances" in 1 Cor. 15 to the later Gospel stories, i.e., the most solidly concretely bodily resurrected stories with the most details being found in works that most scholars agree were composed last, Luke-Acts, and John. As I said, it's questionable to read the last written stories of Jesus' resurrection back into Paul's earlier statements.

I suspect that if God really wanted to prove to the world Jesus was raised from the dead, He could have done so, proving it to everyone in Jerusalem. Instead, the so-called bodily resurrected Jesus appears way out in the boon docks of Galilee, and appears only to "brethren" then vanishes from the earth. And Paul says merely that he appeared to him, the only first person statement. Such stories did not do much to convince many Jews of Jesus' day, nor people with questions today. Instead, a belief in Jesus grew outside of Jerusalem, among Hellenic God fearers.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2014 6:03 PM PDT

Evolving out of Eden
Evolving out of Eden
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christian theology and evolutionary science are not easily reconciled, April 3, 2013
Evolving Out of Eden, jams between two covers a hefty number of questions concerning Christian theology's relationship to evolutionary science. The authors quote pro-evolution Christian theologians to demonstrate that little has been proven by their attempts to reconcile Christianity theology with evolution, and a flotilla of questions remain.

The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (And Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It)
The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (And Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It)
by Thom Stark
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.10
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thom makes communicating questions raised by biblical scholarship look easy, November 21, 2011
Thom demonstrates that he is well aware of the shortcomings of the "inerrancy" hypothesis held by many conservative Christians today. He demolishes that hypothesis and even dismantles moderate versions of Evangelicalism. What's left in the final chapter of his book are his personal liberal religious views that are a bit of a mystery to those who do not share them. But that's fine. He's done an excellent job of enumerating some of the most essential ethical, theological and historical questions raised by biblical studies scholars.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2011 1:55 PM PST

Clumsy Construction in Mark's Gospel: A Critique of Form and Redaktionsgeschichte (Toronto Studies in Theology)
Clumsy Construction in Mark's Gospel: A Critique of Form and Redaktionsgeschichte (Toronto Studies in Theology)
by John C. Meagher
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A few reviews from scholarly magazines below, April 1, 2010
"'Clumsy construction' may describe the Gospel of Mark, bit it certainly does not describe this brief, provocative, and persuasive book [that is] written with unusual elegance and considerable verve..."
- Science Religieuses - Studies in Religion

"...engagingly written...A joy to read..."
- Interpretation

"..uncommonly good prose...a discerning and sophisticated literary analysis based on a negative proposition: that Mark is not the systematic thinker he has been made out to be, but a so-so narrator whose tracks can be more or less uncovered by a keen literary eye uncluttered with assumptions about unswerving evangelical purpose."
- Journal of Biblical Literature

"If, as is said, God learned Greek to speak to mankind [in the gospel of Mark], then it is a pity he did not learn it better."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Is Christianity Good for the World?
Is Christianity Good for the World?
by Christopher Hitchens
Edition: Hardcover
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8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wilson's analogies made my brain-mind FIZZ, September 23, 2008
Wilson imagined he was scoring debate points when he argued (if I may paraphrase): "If there is no God and we're just a bunch of organic chemical reactions, that's all we are doing...we're just fizzing."

Doesn't Wilson know that trying to make the other person's view appear absurd by comparing it to something absurd is not the same as proving that your view is "more rational?" He has merely employed a rhetorical technique, the "nothing but" technique, like comparing the violin works of Fritz Kreisler to nothing but the "scrapping of cat's entrails." Or like comparing marvelous books and the stories they contain to nothing but "ink stains on train-track-flattened tree guts." But in reality one's fellow human beings (whether theistic or atheistic) when listening to Fritz Kreisler's violin music or reading books, are getting more out of them than the "ad absurdum" description Wilson might suggest! The question therefore is not whether atheists and theists both can have similar feelings and interests that lay in the human realm (THEY INDEED DO) but whether or not the everyday human realm is connected partly or wholly with some other realm that theists claim exists.

Theists (Wilson) think their view is "superior" because it can explain everything in the human, animal and physical realms, all the feelings, all the books, all the knowledge, all the atoms. But notice the explanation provided by theism, i.e., "God did it." God made the brain-mind, beauty, music, atoms, everything, "God did it." But some are not as impressed as others with such an explanation. They ask, isn't saying that "God did it," like saying, "It is like it Is?" And how exactly does that differ from an atheist saying, "It is like it Is?"

And why is "God" used to "explain" the stuff we already agree we "like/enjoy" in a common human sense? Things like sunsets, beauty, kindness, long life, health, etc. But what about the stuff we agree we "dislike?" If "God" is being used to explain "all" then you can't stress only the things we all "like," since you're leaving out extinctions (including mass extinctions), natural disasters, cosmic disasters, the way we each begin our lives ignorant as did our species, and how our species had to exert itself for centuries to slowly gain knowledge via trial and error, learned to make fire, the wheel, simple machines -- and we have to learn much individually too from birth to adulthood. And don't leave out the part about growing older, losing mental agility, losing health, and losing knowledge toward the end of each of our lives, how our sufferings grow, and every living thing dies, we all get to see and know such things with the utmost certainty. (As for what happens AFTER death, people hold diverse and argumentative opinions.)

Additional counter points to Wilson's arguments...

Counter Point 1) Two people arguing with one another DO seem to "react" to one another's points in a reflex-like fashion based on well worn ruts (or intricately tangled tendrils) of thought formed during each person's respective life times of unique experiences, readings and ponderings. One point provokes a response which provokes a counter, ad infinitum, like ping pong reflexes on display, and neither person seems to need to think very hard to keep the game going indefinitely.

Any fresh evidence marshaled in support of each point is likewise dealt with in a summary fashion, the mind being flexible enough to invent ways to question the new evidence, or invent a special rule or corollary as an exception in which to fit the new evidence, or it can stretch one's overall views just a tad in one direction to make the new evidence fit one's overall brain-mind pattern, or it can toss up a point that it finds more "fundamental" and hence more worth focusing upon and stuff the new evidence into a "less fundamental" side compartment to examine later or forget about.

So each mind is flexible enough to be able to do all the imaginative and inventive "adjustments" I mentioned above, and most minds will chose to make such minor adjustments rather than take the immense time and effort needed to switch over completely to a whole new system of mental architecture. In that sense we are all relatively conservative once we have a well worked out system with grooves worn into our mind-brains.

(For one example of the brain-mind's conservatism one may note the case of the "soft" atheist, Antony Flew, who, though he came to question his former atheism that he had developed in books for decades, still told his Christian friend, Habermas, that he had not necessarily come to believe in a personal deity, nor in an infallible holy book, nor in the Christian religion. I also read of another similar instance in Christianity Today, in an article that stated that most Evangelicals convert in their teens, and that every year past the age of twenty that a person lives and does not convert to Evangelical Christianity, that that person has an increasingly less chance of doing so later in life.)

Counter Point 2) Another difficulty is that our brain-mind functions in a three-dimensional fashion with neurons connected to neurons in all directions and likewise with thoughts connected one with another in equally deep and wide fashion, such connections being forged over each individual's unique lifetime of experiences and learning. Yet we are restricted by nature to communicating with each other via a LINEAR process that consists of a whittling down of our three-dimensional understandings into a thin stream of words. It's little wonder that people find it difficult to fully express what's in their three-dimensional brain-minds to one another, and it's little wonder that people with differing views do not often come to agree with one another during "debates."

More counter points...

If "God" is a greater mystery than the cosmos but is used to explain the cosmos, then isn't that like explaining one mystery with an even greater mystery?

And how does the use of any single word, including "God," or "chemicals," provide "the answer?" The inexpressible individual moments of each person's life appears richer than the ability of any single word to encompass.

Lastly, if you believe in "God" then by definition that "God" is perfect and was the only Being that ever existed eternally. Nothing existed before God or apart from God, no pre-existent eternal "matter." And that means that literally everything you see and touch came directly and solely out of the power and will of a perfect Being. But how could NOTHING BUT "absolute perfection" produce something that came out of it that was as imperfect, and contained suffering, ignorance, and death everywhere? This is a tough question for me to answer because I see -- and I know everyone else sees --the imperfections, the suffering part, natural suffering, we see how all creatures with bigger brains begin life ignorant and have to learn much simply to get by in life, not make dumb mistakes, and survive life with all of its harsh, relentless, emotionally-charged, sometimes soul-crushing demands, and our lives aren't especially long, and we see death, we see it in all living things. We see destruction in inanimate things too, comets and asteroid colliding with planets, stars exploding, galaxies colliding, black holes sucking matter and probably planets away from stars. I am honestly more sure about death than anything else, and from that realization I find myself siding with a philosopher who once said, "Be kind to others, for everyone is fighting a great battle." We sure are, both physically and psychologically, every day.

Some theists frame that "battle" almost solely as being a "battle with the devil," but personally I'm not so sure of that. It appears to me to be a battle with ignorance, with having to learn all the basic lessons in life just to take care of yourself and not trip up, in a world where even a little error like answering a cell phone while driving can lead to the suffering of yourself and/or others; and always seeing and knowing that you will die since you see age and death all around you in nature and others. If instead, people were popping out of graves fairly often, and I got to meet some of them I'd feel happier, more secure. Perhaps that's why theists of the Christian persuasion put a lot of stress on one particular instance of a bodily resurrection and keep saying it's better to believe without seeing. Personally, I have my doubts concerning theism, and I have met theists with doubts similar to mine who are not afraid to admit they too have uncertainties.

Did you get my points above? I tried expressing them in as best a linear fashion as possible, but they are just a tiny narrow spigot of water compared to what's flowing in three-dimensions through my head after my particular individual lifetime of questioning, exploring and reading, and I doubt we can mind-meld and join all that info in my head with yours to discover where the closest 3-D overlaps occur, where we can most profitably discuss further individual points and issues. "God" or evolution just didn't "make" us able to say more than that, or communicate more than that.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2010 3:13 PM PST

C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason
C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason
by Victor Reppert
Edition: Paperback
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy Only Takes One So Far, August 6, 2008
Victor Reppert is a friend who read my book -- Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists -- contacted me & shared his own book on Lewis and the AFR, and who remains a philosophy blogging buddy. Vic admits his argument is shy of being considered proof. There's a host of factors and counter factors, views and counterviews to be considered when speaking about the brain and the mind and the questions their connections raise, and Christians hold to a variety of such views, i.e., not all Christians are brain-mind substance dualists like Vic. (See for instance, In Search Of The Soul: Four Views Of The Mind-body Problem, published by InterVarsity Press)

Vic concentrates on atoms and the predictable regularity of their behavior, contrasting that with the way reasoning works -- which he points out is a fuller and more fluid process than the bouncing of atoms against one another. He plays up the contrast between how atoms work and how the brain-mind works.

On the other hand, naturalists play up something that Vic does not, namely that after you look up from the tiny atomic scale, to atoms joined together as molecules, molecular systems, tissues, organs, and finally to that unique organ known as the "brain" that functions unlike other organs, ELECTRO-CHEMICALLY, and that is part of a nervous system with its accompanying sensory organs, then you realize that the brain and nervous system are taking in large scale phenomena, and thus are being driven by those large scale sensations and interactions with things, and hence the brain-mind does not function solely in the sense of atoms bouncing against one another, but also functions in a wider more fluid sense of large scale sensations, memories, basic recognitions, seeing similarities and differences between large scale things, and reacting to such things on a macro-scale.

For example, the atoms in each cell in our bodies are wooshing around inside each cell due to the overall dynamics of the molecules to which each atom is attached, based on that molecule's part that it plays in chain reactions within the cell, so those atoms are not solely determining the cell but the cell itself and its overall dynamics on a large scale are determining where those atoms wind up and how they are used and moved about from molecule to molecule and cell to cell.

When you get to the level of whole organisms it is the entire organism with its nervous system, brain-mind, feeding habits, social interactions, etc. that move the entire organism about, including moving about all the atoms of which that organism is made up. So you can't say that everything is atoms without also recognizing that atoms by themselves are not everything.

So, naturalists are not surprised that nervous systems and brains feature unique qualities such as sensory recognitions, comparisons of those sensations, feedback loops, and learning curves, all of which differ immensely from the qualities of mere individual atoms. But Vic and C. S. Lewis remain surprised. Can philosophy by itself decide between the two options of Vic's substance dualism or naturalistic emergence? I don't think so. And there are as I said, even Christian philosophers and members of the Evangelical Philosophical Society who opt for naturalistic emergence rather than substance dualism.

Google by title my online article with inks to related articles:

C. S. LEWIS'S "Argument From Reason," vs. Christians Who Reject Mind-Body Dualism and Accept the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence, Even "Born Again" Machines!

Also google by title this piece:

C. S. Lewis Resources, Pro and Con (compiled by Edward T. Babinski)

And besides the Christian philosophers who have not been convinced by Vic's AFR, also google the names Richard Carrier and Victor Reppert together to read their interactions concerning the AFR.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 6, 2011 7:39 PM PDT

The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
by Michael J. Behe
Edition: Hardcover
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31 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Behe's "God-mutated ape" theory deserves three bananas!, July 24, 2007
Behe at the Discovery Institute, probably won't deny that experiments have shown human beings and chimpanzees to be as close to one another genetically speaking as two near-identical sibling species of fruit fly.

Behe's latest book amounts to God spicing up evolution with a couple mutations every now and then, and leaving nature, including natural selection, to take her course. (Neither is Behe's view original as it was Asa Gray's theistic evolutionary view as well, a scientist, minister, defender of Darwin and friend of Darwin who wrote and taught as a professor during the mid-to-late 1800s.)

So Behe in effect believes we are "God-mutated" apes (my turn of phrase). God-mutated cousins of Koko the gorilla. Add to that the fact that many ancient species of primitive apes, upright hominids and homo species (as seen in the fossil record), went extinct throughout geological time before our homo-species was mutated by God into existence, making Behe's Intelligent Designer resemble a genetically-opportunistic tinkerer over geological time--most of whose past tinkerings didn't turn out so well.

Journeys in belief (Unwin forum, 2)
Journeys in belief (Unwin forum, 2)
by Bernard Dixon
Edition: Hardcover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Read If You Enjoy Learning About Other People's Changes in Belief, June 21, 2007
The book features interesting testimonies of people who converted from Catholicism to Judaism, from Christianity to skepticism, from skepticism to Christianity, etc.

Also check out the following similar works:

Amazing Conversions: Why Some Turn to Faith & Others Abandon Religion (testimonies of some "amazing believers" and some "amazing apostates" contrasted and compared).

Leaving The Fold: Testimonies Of Former Fundamentalists by Edward T. Babinski (thirty-three testimonies from "narrow bibliolators" who converted to either moderate/liberal Christianity, the wiccan religion, eastern mysticism, agnosticism, or atheism; including the testimony of evangelist Chuck Templeton, Billy Graham's closest friend, who became a "reverent agnostic").

What I Believe: 13 Eminent People of Our Time Argue for Their Philosophy of Life (featuring the sincerest beliefs of Albert Einstein, James Thurber, Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, et al.).

The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court (the beliefs and convictions of Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama, Andrew Greeley, Harold Kushner, Jim Henson, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Mario Cuomo, et al.).

The Door Interviews (interviews with Christians who are theologians, novelists, musicians, and politicians, and whose beliefs run the gamut from fundamentalism to liberalism and mixtures of both).

William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (Library of America) by the noted psychologist William James (who compares "once-born" and "twice-born" Christians).

Once-Born, Twice-Born Zen: The Soto and Rinzai Schools of Japan (about a school of Zen Buddhism whose descriptions of "satori" resemble being "born again").

The Inner Eye of Love: Mysticism and Religion (a Catholic priest and scholar in Japan compares Christian agape love with Buddhist karnua compassion; and compares devotion to Christ with devotion to the compassionate Amida Buddha).

Marriage of East and West: A Sequel to The Golden String (a Catholic priest and scholar who founded a Christian-Hindu ashram in India, who was also a close friend of C. S. Lewis, talks about his inter-religious discoveries).

The Spirituality of Comedy: Comic Heroism in a Tragic World, The Comic Vision and the Christian Faith: A Celebration of Life and Laughter, And God Created Laughter: The Bible as Divine Comedy, and, The Laughing Buddha: Zen and the Comic Spirit (books about the spirit of comedic grace shared by both Christians and non-Christians).

Cosmic Trigger I : Final Secret of the Illuminati, Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth, Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death (wild transcendental experiences as seen through the eyes of a "transcendental agnostic").

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