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How to Believe in God: Whether You Believe in Religion or Not Hardcover – March 31, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for How to Believe in God

"I learned a lot from How to Believe in God, which presents new and thought-provoking analyses of familiar scriptures."
—Jimmy Carter

How to Believe in God (Whether You Believe in Religion or Not) is a timely, beautifully crafted book. It’s especially relevant for Western seekers on either side of the biblical divide. For practicing Christians and Jews, the book will bring a stunning freshness to their understanding of the Bible. For those who have overlooked (or even rejected) the gospel of the Old and New Testaments, How to Believe in God will open hearts and minds to the profound treasures found within the Bible’s parables and lessons. And for those who have been trying to fill ‘the God-shaped hole’ with anything but religion, this book will be food for the soul without the dogmatic calories!”
—Elizabeth Lesser, author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow and The Seeker’s Guide and cofounder of the Omega Institute

“In How to Believe in God, Clark Strand turns humanity’s perpetual collective conflict over which religious text is the right one into the very key to enter life’s deepest mystery. It’s like watching a puppet show, in which the characters (including Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Abraham, Muhammad, and Strand himself) seem so real, until it dawns on you that Someone has to be holding the strings. Whether that’s true becomes a koan of biblical proportions that Strand’s book memorably guides you to resolve for yourself.”
—Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us

“You do not need to ‘believe in God’ to be able to experience God, and Clark Strand lets you know why in this courageous and honest book. This book could lay a new foundation for the reform of Christianity.”
—Richard Rohr, O.F.M., author of Everything Belongs

How to Believe in God is the book I have been looking for all my life.”
—Gail Godwin, author of Evensong

“In How to Believe in God (Whether You Believe in Religion or Not) Clark Strand—an astonishingly eclectic spiritual seeker—reads the Bible in an attempt to radically redefine religious belief for our Global Age, a time in which religion, with all its profound benefits and evils, is once again an inescapable fact. This is an audacious and surprising book.”
—Norman Fischer, author of Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms and founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation

About the Author

CLARK STRAND is a spiritual teacher and the director of the Koans of the Bible Study Group, an ecumenical, interreligious spiritual community. A former Zen Buddhist monk, he is a contributing editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and has written a variety of books and articles on spiritual practice. He lives in the Catskill Mountains with his wife and children. To find out more about How to Believe in God, please visit his blog WholeEarthGod.com..


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767920694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767920698
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In HOW TO BELIEVE IN GOD: Whether You Believe in Religion or Not, Clark Strand weaves a wonderful spiritual tapestry, as he unravels for us the timeless spiritual truths found hidden in the Bible, but that are, or so it seems, hidden in plain sight. Strand does this weaving in a purely original way.

The book is composed of thirty Bible passages, some as short as half a verse, others much longer, divided into three main sections - Belief, Practice and Revolution, and after each passage Strand weaves his magic.

"We live in a world on the brink of a great transition, and that transition, more than anything, concerns our idea of God," writes Strand.

A gifted storyteller, after sharing in the introduction some of his own struggle with finding "a God that he can believe in," Strand, with straightforward, yet poetic language, transports us into a world of mostly familiar Bible characters, such as Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Hannah, Joseph, Jesus, and others, sharing anecdotes and teachings from many other traditions along the way. Numerous personal anecdotes are also interspersed throughout the book. These all serve to enrich our understanding of the passages he writes about, and our understanding of ourselves.

So besides presenting us with fresh glimpses of old Bible characters, we also get to meet some of the colorful characters in Strand's own personal life, such as Josephine, his childhood nanny, Deh Chun, the eccentric Zen master, Silent Mark, and others, who embody "belief," as Strand defines it in his book. All the while, in doing so, we receive teachings on love, faith, compassion and on "universal salvation."

As the book unfolds, Strand shows us a mirror. He describes today's spiritual affliction as that of "half belief.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The audacious title of this book resonated with me: How to believe in God while my beliefs are being broken open by the seismic shift in our planet's evolving spiritual consciousness?

Are you struggling with a similar question?

It's got me looking for ways to bridge the widening gap between religion and my spirituality-how to believe in God in a way that sustains my connection to family and friends on either side of that chasm.

Clark Strand says, "It's OK to struggle for belief." In my struggle, I was grateful to find his HOW TO BELIEVE IN GOD to be a generous and liberating book that leaves behind those angry, ponderous scientific/intellectual debates that have little to do with the ordinary life I live. Strand states, "Going back to the Bible is the same as going back to ourselves." When I return to the Bible accompanied by his open-hearted, inclusive response to life and his moving and humorous personal stories, I'm more in touch with the God at hand in all our lives.

Whether I'm in conversation with a Boomer, a Gen-X or Y'er; someone who judges themselves a seeker, a sinner, or one of the lost or saved; a believer, half-believer, or non-believer, there's always something from this book that gets us talking together. It's given me both a new language for spiritual expression, as well as practices that help me listen to what's alive in me and what's alive in others.

HOW TO BELIEVE IN GOD also gives me a fresh way to open to the people in the Bible. They're no different than us. Strand shows us how they came to the belief in what catches them after they've fallen through their own broken-open believing systems. He says that in the moment they find their limit, they find God.

When I read the Bible with my own life, I can see. . .
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Clark Strand for many years. His articles in Tricycle, the Buddhist Review, have personally inspired me in my spiritual seeking. With the publication of this book; "How to Believe in God, Whether You Believe In Religion or Not," we have a fresh look at a very ancient subject, that only someone with Clark's extensive research and experience in so many varied religious practices could write.

In my opinion the audience for this book is very broad.

- Anyone who has wrestled with finding or believing in God while struggling with the idea of "organized religion," will love this book.

- Anyone who is an open-minded, earnest seeker of God will love this book.

- I think a lot of "lapsed" or "casual" Catholics will find comfort in this book.

- Those that have been abused in some way by religion would find a fresh faith through this book, however, the title may turn quite a few people off - if they do not read the flyleaf or skim through the contents.

WARNING: I have some former friends who are "Born Again Evangelical" in their affiliation. I'd hope they'd read this book, but I doubt it - hence, unfortunately, their status as "former" friends..... :( ...... so by way of a warning I'd suggest that if you're someone who believes that the Bible is the literal words of God - you may want to borrow this book from the library!!! If you do so though - you may be surprised, and want to buy a copy of your own!!

I personally found this book to be a treasure and wish that I had written it. It expresses so much of what I, and so many of my current friends who are "former" Christians have experienced about God, DESPITE the teachings of their particular branch of the Church.

I believe that given a chance this book could be a kind of 21st Century version of "Mere Christianity" - which is no mean comparison!!!
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