What’s so great about Christianity? Book Review by Dr. Shoeb Amin

BOOK REVIEW by Dr. Shoeb Amin

 

Title: What’s so great about Christianity?

Author: Dinesh D’Souza

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-2601-6

I just finished reading this book recently; it is one of those books I’ll have to read a second time. It is so full of important facts and novel perspectives on many of the issues about religious and atheistic beliefs, it is hard to digest and remember it all after one reading – at least it was for me.

A word about the author: Dinesh D’Souza is an Indian American, a Conservative who worked as a policy adviser for Ronald Reagan, and is affiliated with American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution and is considered a Christian apologist. Most of us have heard some unsavory things about him including a charge for illegal political contributions to which he pleaded guilty. But don’t let the above introduction turn you off of this book.

A word about the title: Even though it is about defending Christianity, you could use some of the same arguments the author makes in the book to defend any religion. So again don’t let the title turn you off. of the book.

I’ve read a couple of books that deal with the same issues; this was much easy to read, based more on logic and science and less on esoteric concepts and metaphysics . This is evident in chapters like “Christianity and Reason: The Theological Roots of Science; From Logos to Cosmos: Christianity and the Invention of Invention; Paley (referring to William Paley who propounded the “watchmaker” argument) Was Right: Evolution and the Argument from Design. In this last chapter he actually describes evolution as more correct than the biblical account; and there are many other examples where he favors the scientific explanation over religious dogma, which I found refreshing, coming from somebody with his credentials.

I’ll just let some of the reviews listed in the book do the talking. Michael Shermer, publisher of “Skeptic” magazine writes: “But he is a first-rate scholar whom I feel absolutely compelled to read…..  and although non-Christians and non-theists may disagree with some of his arguments, we ignore him at our peril. D’Souza takes the debate to a new level. Read it”. Dallas Willard, author of “the Divine Conspiracy” writes: “Pastors, teachers, believers, and the sincerely perplexed will find this book indispensable”. I might add atheists to that list too.

My opinion: Read it!

 

Shoeb Amin

 

Mother, Son, Schizophrenia

BY THE NEW YORKER

 ( Shared by Nasik Elahi)

There is a lot of suffering in this house,” the Indian photographer Sohrab Hura writes in a note printed at the beginning of his photo journal “Life Is Elsewhere.” In 1999, when Hura was seventeen years old, his mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and in the following years the house they shared was overtaken by her illness. In the book, which Hura self-published last month, he describes her screaming obscenities, obsessively changing the locks on the door, beating him with a stick, and at times disbelieving that he was her son. “Our initial years were spent hiding from the world,” he writes. “Hers out of paranoia and mine out of embarrassment and anger towards who she had become.”

From the anguish of this situation, Hura—who last year became the second Indian photographer ever to become a nominee member of Magnum Photos—created a loving and assiduously candid photographic portrait of his mother. Produced between 2005 and 2011, his images show her isolated and claustrophobic existence: a nightgown she was wearing when forcibly hospitalized dangles alone in the frame; wrinkles ripple darkly across the sheets of an empty bed. But the house is also a space of tentative safety and tranquility. In a photo from 2008, Elsa, his mother’s dog and primary companion, stares at the camera from the halo of a cone collar; behind her, on the bed, Hura’s mother sleeps peacefully.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/mother-son-schizophrenia?mbid=social_twitter

 

‘Discpntent And Its Civilizations’ By Mohsin Hamid

Worth reading book review by Jake Lamar.

Whatever Pakistan’s faults, the war on terror only further rent its fragile social fabric. In “Osama bin Laden’s Death,” Hamid writes: “Crowds are justifiably celebrating bin Laden’s death in downtown Manhattan, where a decade ago al-Qaeda terrorists infamously massacred nearly three thousand people. But since the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan, terrorists have killed many times that number of people in Pakistan. Tens of thousands have died in terror and counterterror violence, slain by bombs, bullets, cannons, and drones. America’s 9/11 has given way to Pakistan’s 24/7/365.”

One could say, with no snark intended, that back in the year 2000, twenty-nine-year-old Mohsin Hamid was the ultimate bourgeois bohemian. He had just published a well-received first novel. He lived on lovely Cornelia Street, in a corner of the West Village once inhabited by artists and writers but, by the dawn of the twenty-first century, affordable mainly to investment bankers and management consultants. As it happened, this debut novelist was also a management consultant. And in a deal of sugar-shock sweetness, his employer, McKinsey & Company—famous for overworking its bright young climbers—allowed this graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law three months off per year to write fiction. This guy, as Frank Sinatra might have crooned, had the world on a string, the string around his finger.

But even back then, before the twin towers came tumbling down, Hamid felt the sting of Islamophobia in New York City. In “International Relations,” one of the many superb pieces in his first collection of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations, Hamid describes how he was made to squirm every time he went to the Italian consulate in Manhattan to receive official clearance to visit his then-girlfriend in her European homeland. Hamid’s passport “runs suspiciously backward, the right-hand cover its front, and above the curved swords of its Urdu lettering . . . reads, ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan.’ Words to make a visa officer tremble.”

For Hamid, life in the Big Apple would turn sour fast. As he writes in another essay: “The 9/11 attacks placed great strain on the hyphen bridging that identity called Muslim-American. As a man not known for frequenting mosques, and not possessing a US passport, I should not have felt it. But I did, deeply. It seemed two halves of myself were suddenly at war.” He arranged to have McKinsey transfer him, indefinitely, to London. All was well there, at least for a while: “Like many Bush-era self-exiles from the United States, I found that London combined much of what first attracted me to New York with a freedom America seemed to have lost in the paranoid years after 9/11.” In London, Hamid met the love of his life: “She and I had been born on the same street in Lahore.” He quit McKinsey. He published his mesmerizing second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which became an internationally acclaimed best seller. Marching with a million other people in Hyde Park to protest the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Hamid thought: “I am one of them. I am a Londoner.”

http://bookforum.com/inprint/021_05/14162

Posted By F.Sheikh

 

 

 

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

> On Jan 27, 2015, at 18:41, editors@thinkersforumusablog.org wrote:
>
>
> Subject: book review
> From:    “shoeb amin”
> Date:    Tue, January 27, 2015 8:59 am
>
> BOOK REVIEW
> Name: Being Mortal
> Author: Atul Gawande, MDPublisher: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt
> Co.,LLCISBN: 9780805095159
> What should one do when faced with a terminal illness when routine
> treatments are either not available or have not worked? Should one go on
> and take drastic measures, no matter what the cost, side effects and go
> through at least temporary hell? Or should one accept the inevitable and
> spend the rest of the time left doing what is important? In other words do
> you choose to add years (or months) to your life or to keep life in your
> remaining years.
> And what are one’s choices when one is old and unable to care for him or
> her self? What are the choices besides a traditional nursing home?
> These are some of the questions this book wrestles with. The author is a
> surgeon out of Boston who is known for his other book “Checklist
> Manifesto” in which he proposed solutions to minimize errors in the
> medical field.
> The book describes the evolution of hospitals, nursing homes, assisted
> living facilities; how they were originally devised as a solution to an
> existing problem and how they became money making machines with no
> consideration for what the “residents” in those facilities most wanted.
> The author then goes on to describe people who came with clever and
> simple  ideas; how they bent the rules to improve the lot of the
> residents.
> The author seems to practice what he tries to preach in this book; He
> details a very personal story of his own father, who was also a doctor,
> who in his seventies was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord tumor. His
> choices were grim; surgical treatment carried the risk of quadriplegia; no
> treatment could lead to the same. Their decision making process, which
> focuses mostly on how to add life to his years is interesting.
> Some readers might find the book depressing because it lists a lot of
> cases of folks with terrible illnesses. But one gain a new perspective as
> to how to handle such asituation if one is faced with such a situation.
> Shoeb Amin
> <untitled-[2].html>

Subject: Re: [Fwd: book review]
From:    “Nasik Elahi”
Date:    Thu, January 29, 2015 10:29 pm

End of life is an issue most of us avoid until such time as disease or
events force us to confront.  DNR – do not resuscitate – is one of the
more popular modern  refrains.  It is an expression of the limits a body
should undergo to sustain the illusion of life by modern scientific means.
I had the occasion to exercise such judgment for my late sister a few
years ago and hope that my family will extend a similar judgment on my
behalf.  It is a painful choice and dr Atul Gawande does well in his book
to raise public awareness of an issue we all have to face.

Nasik elahi