The belief in deities is ancient, and early texts such as the Vedas bear witness to this belief. The evolution of religion has led to clashes which still continue. Scholarly opinion is divided, with strong backing on whether God exists or not. The question of faith, however, is a personal one and can only be decided by individuals for themselves. The books listed below are about different facets of beliefs and their evolution.
1. A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong The three religions covered in this comprehensive work are all monotheistic. The author has documented the social impact of these religions.
2. God At War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict by Gregory A. Boyd The author states that believers accept pain and suffering as part of a Divine plan. He suggests that they should acknowledge the presence of evil and fight against it.
3. The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss by David Bentley Hart Modern philosophers have put forth a number of arguments to back the statement that God is a delusion. This book is a rebuttal to that claim. The author has brought together philosophies from all the major religions to present the ways that people experience divinity.
4. The God who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence by John Sanders The author has dealt with difficult subjects like free will and suffering. He asserts that God is responsive to our prayers. He theorises that God’s omniscience is dynamic.
5. Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God by Paul Copan Christians find it hard to accept that the God in the Old Testament is the same God of love that the New Testament presents. The author picks the most controversial passages to help believers to reconcile the two images.
6. Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller This pastor has addressed the doubts that trouble many believers. He explains that faith is a choice made by rational people using the power of their intellect. Many of the questions are relevant in these troubled times.
7. Glimpses of God: Finding the Father who Fills Your Every Need by Steven R. Mosley The author urges readers to expand their concept of God’s nature. He presents examples which demonstrate conflicting values like justice and mercy. In the book of Ezekiel, sinners are doomed to destruction whereas in the book of Isaiah, God is the tender nurturer.
8. God by Pandit Usharbodh Arya The author is the president of the Sadhana Mandir Trust ashram in Rishikesh and director of a meditation centre in Minneapolis. He equates God with truth, and believes that there is only one reality. People can realise this through meditation.
9. The Shack by William Paul Young The author has been through trauma and personal loss from his childhood to adulthood. Through this work of fiction, he deals with his disillusionment and goes through a process of spiritual healing.
10. No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan The author depicts the background against which the prophet Muhammad proclaimed the word of God. He tells of the struggles that ensued after his death, leading to the formation of sects. He also relates how Islamic communities reacted to the spread of colonialism.
11. Paths to God: Living the Bhagwad Gita by Ram Dass The Bhagwad Gita is contained in the epic, the Mahabharat. In this sacred text, the god Krishna advises Arjun to follow his spiritual path by doing his duty. Though it has been considered a spiritual guide for Hindus, it is difficult to follow in modern times. Author Ram Dass has provided insights on how these teachings can be relevant today.