When it comes to unconditional love, Italian matriarch, Rose D'Orsi is deeply challenged. Nobody feels it more than Glory, her estranged 48-year-old lesbian daughter. Though Rose attracts the attention of Eli Fineman, a rich Bulgarian Holocaust survivor whose love, compassion, and wit affects people in unimaginable ways, he arrives too late in life to teach Rose how to be a good mother, even to Ricky, the child she favors. Meant to plant the seed where it needs to be planted most--with readers who might be believers--DeSio's award-winning debut novel, Rose's Will, is a fictionalized account of the bizarre circumstances surrounding her mother's death and the Bulgarian Holocaust survivor her mother left behind. Incidental to that, atheist and humanists should find it refreshing to see themselves in DeSio's characters.
"Rose's Will is a captivating family story, told from three very distinctive viewpoints. The author does a particularly great job of capturing the struggles and stresses of interpersonal relationships, especially when dealing with difficult family members. There were a number of times I literally said out loud, "Yes!" when relating to internal emotional conflicts and thoughtful observations about human behavior ... The chapters are relatively short, and you will find yourself justifying "just one more" chapter again and again. I'm really looking forward to reading other books and essays from this author."
"This is the kind of book that makes you laugh out loud and also brings frequent tears to your eyes. Told through the stories of three different people: a brother and sister, and their mother's "boyfriend" (odd to think of as he's in his 80's) but the real focus of the story is the mother, Rose. Each character is trying to do the best they can - I think - and some succeed better than others. I cringed at the flashbacks the sister has of the abuse she experienced as a child at the hands of the mother, and I admired the sister's continued efforts to connect with her mother. It reminded me of how we all just want unconditional love from someone, but mostly from a parent, and how hard it is to achieve sometimes. As a former Brooklynite, I loved the little glimpses of Brooklyn life in the 50's and 60's and wanted a bit more of that. It's a fast read and an easy read, but it's the kind of book that keeps you thinking about the characters and wondering what happens next."
"It was an enjoyable read and I was unable to put it down once at the half way point. This story relates so well to the many different levels of family dysfunction from sibling rivalry, divorce, mental health as well as the intimacy of final farewells in death. There are so many relatable facets to Rose's Will."
"I was not able to put down Denise DeSio's book, "Rose's Will", until it was finished. I was completely drawn into her story about a girl growing up with an abusive mom and the way she and her brother each dealt with it. Denise was honest and I liked what she said. The woman struggling to find a way to be in a healing relationship with mom rather than holding onto the pain, anger, fear, and shame."
"I believe Denise DeSeo has written a very compelling novel. Each character speaks in their own voice and Ms. DeSeo has developed the characters in a way that made the book feel very believable. The book delves into subject matter that hasn't been touched upon too often in the past. It's a breakthrough and I thoroughly recommend it."
"Rose's Will is an amazing book. It's well and thoughtfully written, and the story itself is fascinating. The language is precise and colorful. It's extremely funny, evokes a flurry of feelings and questions, and also great empathy for the protagonists. For a first book, this is a knockout! I am certain many people will thoroughly enjoy this book."
Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason is a well written autobiography told with humor and heart by an "average" person. It is the story lived by many thousands of people in America and around the World every day--a story that could very well be your story of doubt and loss of religious faith.
The reader will receive a first hand account of the experience of someone who was raised in a very Christian home by loving, devout, Christian parents in a majority Christian community, in the Bible Belt of Midwestern America and who, as an adult began to question his religious faith.
Those who have doubts regarding their religious faith and religious dogma will find solace in knowing that it is indeed ok to question what you have been instructed to think by your parents, pastors and priests.
The faithful will gain an understanding in simple terms as to why their loved ones and friends can and do quit their faith and turn away from religious dogma.
"'...and then Noah loaded the dinosaurs onto the ark.' Assertions like these seem comical until you realize that many Christian parents aren't kidding when they teach them to their children as facts. Every day, impressionable young minds are conditioned to blindly accept wild biblical tales of floating zoos, talking shrubbery, 900-year-old humans, the undead, curses, levitation, demon/human hybrids and men who obtain superhuman strength from the length of their hair. Allegiance to these teachings is expected, often demanded. Curiosity is muted. Doubt is frowned upon as a sin. And for those who dare to raise a dissenting hand, the threat of Hell looms ominously. A former religious radio host raised in the cradle of Christianity, Seth Andrews battled his own doubts for many years. His attempts to reconcile faith and the facts led him to a conclusion previously unthinkable, and this once-true believer ultimately became the founder of one of the most popular atheist communities on the internet, 'The Thinking Atheist.'"
"Seth, like most atheists I know, did not make his decision lightly. His book tells his readers where his quest for the truth took him. I have followed Seth since his beginning into atheism and found his book to show his, honesty, compassion, courage and wit. I highly recommend this book. I started reading it and couldn't put it down until I finished it."
"One of the very best of the genre of believer-to-atheist books I have read. Seth knows how to tell a story, his story. Genuine, honest, open, kind to believers but never to belief. A privilege to read."
"I finished reading Seth's Deconverted the day I got the book in the mail. I was impressed seeing how long the process was for Seth as he went from televangelist radio host to the host of The Thinking Atheist. I admire Seth being able to move on and not be angry with people who made him the Evangelical he once was. This book is a great eye opener seeing the way the mind can change and how leaving religion inspired Seth to help many others leave their own religious beliefs ... This book is a great read and I suggest it even for the religious folks who are curious about the way nonbelievers view things or for a person struggling with their own faith."
Upending Christianity's popular notion of Jesus the comforter, the good shepherd, the Lord, and the Savior, this completely new exploration of Mark's Life of Jesus reexamines the image presented in this earliest of the New Testament gospels--the mysterious stranger, the singular, abandoned, and solitary figure--and rethinks the current role of Western culture through a radically altered view of Christianity. The existential Jesus has no interest in sin, and his focus is not on an afterlife. He is anti-church, anti-establishment, anti-family, and anti-community; a teacher, with himself his only student, he gestures enigmatically from within his own torturous experience, inviting the reader to walk in his shoes and ask the question, "Who am I?"
This book argues that Jesus is the West's great teacher on the nature of being. Incorporating a new translation of the Gospel of Mark from its original Greek, this radical reinterpretation identifies the philosophical and cultural significance of Jesus in the modern world, based on his life, actions, and reflections.
"Awesome, awe-inspiring ... The Existential Jesus is a work of genius."
-- Zygmunt Bauman, author, Consuming Life
"Testifies to the need for our culture to grapple once again with the Jesus of the New Testament. John Carroll is right. This task is inescapable if we wish to understand our history and the significance of our civilisation."
-- Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
"This is the Gospel of Mark as you've never read it before, but Carroll's interpretation of Mark's Jesus suddenly makes sense. It's a scholarly but not forbiddingly academic study, for Carroll writes like a novelist, his passionate almost frantic style lending conviction to the story."
-- Alison Cotes, journalist and arts critic, Brisbane, Australia
This is a powerful book. John Carroll is a wonderful writer, in the crazed literary critic mode, not that of the pedantic theologian, digging deep for new connections, unafraid of over-stretching the simple truths of Mark. Which he does, often. He has discovered themes, parallels, motives, metaphors and allegories that never would have occurred to me upon five readings of Mark.
-- Stuart Schulz, Sacramento, CA
Opponents attack the president of the United States for not being a real Christian. Bitter arguments erupt over whether the United States is or should be a Christian nation. Sound familiar?
These contentious issues are not just recent developments but were also the topics of fierce debate in the late eighteenth century. President Thomas Jefferson had to contend with accusations that his religious convictions were questionable. Against complaints that the writers of the Constitution did not invoke God, John Adams replied, "It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods."
In Freedom We Trust covers these and other issues from the two-centuries-long debate over religion and secularism in America. Taking an unabashedly atheistic point of view, authors Edward M. and Michael E. Buckner argue that everyone--from evangelical Christian to ardent atheist--needs a secular America, and separation of church and state. They examine the decidedly unchristian roots of the Fourth of July, the important difference between "tolerance" and "toleration," the misleading confusions related to the difference between "public" and "governmental," the value of secular schooling, the erroneous contention that atheism is equivalent to immorality and therefore dangerous, and a host of other contemporary and historical topics.
With a list of key dates related to the history of secular America, notes, bibliography, and glossary, In Freedom We Trust offers important facts and arguments for secular humanists and anyone with an interest in freedom of conscience.
"Edward and Michael Buckner know what they are talking about, and they bring the full force and depth of that knowledge to this extraordinary book. At turns passionate and reflective, serious and light, In Freedom We Trust is a major contribution to understanding how religion and government intersect in the United States--and how they do not and must not. Most of all, the Buckners make a powerful case for the importance of getting this right, in the interest of all Americans--religious and nonreligious alike."
-- Dale McGowan, Ph.D., Professor and author of Parenting beyond Belief and Atheism for Dummies
"Edward and Michael Buckner have written a rousing, lucid, and highly entertaining guide to why the United States is, and should continue to be, a secular nation that protects all its citizens' free- doms equally--be they of this religion, that religion, or no religion at all. The Buckners do a thrillingly effective demolition job on the myths and lies peddled by those who want to turn America into yet another theocracy, and spell out exactly why they are, in reality, deeply un-American."
-- Stephen Law, Senior lecturer in philosophy, Heythrop College, University of London, and author of Believing Bullshit
"In this readable, well-documented book, both seasoned debaters and inquiring minds will find solid arguments for why we can be either a free nation or a Christian nation--but not both--and why the religious liberty of each individual can be protected only if everyone's religious or nonreligious liberty is equally protected."
-- Herb Silverman, Founder and president of the Secular Coalition for America and author of Candidate without a Prayer
"Writing with a clear voice and a generous spirit, the Buckners provide a much-needed reminder of the core value of religious freedom--including the right not to believe. This rousing defense of secular government deserves wide dissemination. I wish someone would read it to Pat Robertson!"
-- Rob Boston, Senior policy analyst, Americans United for Separation of Church and State
"A must-read book for the secularist who wishes to argue on a factual basis, but even more relevant for those open-minded religionists (they are out there) who may disagree with the Buckners about the import of faith but share their priority to defend the separation of church and state."
-- Massimo Pigliucci, Professor, City University of New York
An essential work on historical methods.
Almost all experts agree that the Jesus of the Bible is a composite of myth, legend, and some historical evidence. So what can we know about the real Jesus? For more than one hundred fifty years, scholars have attempted to answer this question. Unfortunately, the "Quest for the Historical Jesus" has produced as many different images of the original Jesus as the scholars who have studied the subject. The result is a confused mass of disparate opinions with no consensus view of what actually happened at the dawn of Christianity.
In this in-depth discussion of New Testament scholarship and the challenges of history as a whole, historian Richard C. Carrier proposes Bayes's theorem as a solution to the problem of establishing reliable historical criteria. He demonstrates that valid historical methodsâ€”not only in the study of Christian origins but in any historical studyâ€”can be described by, and reduced to, the logic of Bayes's theorem. Conversely, he argues that any method that cannot be reduced to Bayes's theorem is invalid and should be abandoned.
Writing with thoroughness and admirable clarity, Carrier explains Bayes's theorem in terms easily understandable to historians and lay people alike, employing nothing more than well-known primary school math. He then explores the theorem's application to history and addresses numerous challenges to and criticisms of this application. Common historical methods are analyzed using the theorem, as well as all the major "historicity criteria" employed in the latest quest for the historical Jesus. The author demonstrates not only their deficiencies but also ways to rehabilitate them.
Anyone with an interest in historical methods, epistemology generally, or the study of the historical Jesus will find Carrier's book to be an essential work.
"Proving History is a brilliant lesson in the proper proportioning of belief to evidence. Even minimal attention to Bayesian probability theory reveals just how much of Jesus scholarship confuses 'possibly true' with 'probably true.' The only miracle Richard Carrier has left to explain is why so few appreciate that extraordinary claims require extraordinary support."
â€” Dr. Malcolm Murray, author of The Atheist's Primer
"Carrier applies his philosophical and historical training to maximum effect in outlining a case for the use of Bayes's Theorem in evaluating biblical claims. Even biblical scholars, who usually are not mathematically inclined, may never look at the 'historical Jesus' the same way again."
â€” Dr. Hector Avalos, Professor of religious studies, Iowa State University, and author of The End of Biblical Studies