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  • Title : Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby

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Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby Description

In a groundbreaking historical work that addresses religious conversion in the West from an uncompromisingly secular perspective, Susan Jacoby challenges the conventional narrative of conversion as a purely spiritual journey From the transformation on the road to Damascus of the Jew Saul into the Christian evangelist Paul to a twenty first century religious marketplace In a groundbreaking historical work that addresses religious conversion in the West from an uncompromisingly secular perspective, Susan Jacoby challenges the conventional narrative of conversion as a purely spiritual journey From the transformation on the road to Damascus of the Jew Saul into the Christian evangelist Paul to a twenty first century religious marketplace in which half of Americans have changed faiths at least once, nothing has been important in the struggle for reason than the right to believe in the God of one s choice or to reject belief in God altogether Focusing on the long, tense convergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each claiming possession of absolute truth Jacoby examines conversions within a social and economic framework that includes theocratic coercion unto torture and death and the friendly persuasion of political advantage, economic opportunism, and interreligious marriage Moving through time, continents, and cultures the triumph of Christianity over paganism in late antiquity, the Spanish Inquisition, John Calvin s dour theocracy, Southern plantations where African slaves had to accept their masters religion the narrative is punctuated by portraits of individual converts embodying the sacred and profane The cast includes Augustine of Hippo John Donne the German Jew Edith Stein, whose conversion to Catholicism did not save her from Auschwitz boxing champion Muhammad Ali and former President George W Bush The story also encompasses conversions to rigid secular ideologies, notably Stalinist Communism, with their own truth claims Finally, Jacoby offers a powerful case for religious choice as a product of the secular Enlightenment In a forthright and unsettling conclusion linking the present with the most violent parts of the West s religious past, she reminds us that in the absence of Enlightenment values, radical Islamists are persecuting Christians, many other Muslims, and atheists in ways that recall the worst of the Middle Ages With 8 pages of black and white illustrations Get A CopyKindle Store Online StoresAudibleBarnes NobleKoboApple iBooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryIndigoAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Or buy for Hardcover, 512 pages Published February 16th 2016 by Pantheon More Details ISBN 0375423753 ISBN13 9780375423758 Other Editions 5 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail edit details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about Strange Gods, please sign up

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Lists with This Book Non Fiction Listed on LitHub s Bookmarks Part II 100 books 5 voters Fresh Air 2016 130 books 26 voters More lists with this book Community Reviews showing 1 30 Rating details Sort Default Filter Jan 26, 2016 George rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves lacpl ebook, non fiction, susan jacoby ERUDITE, RECONDITE, INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE Religious conversion is an irresistible subject for a secularist or an atheist precisely because so much human energy, throughout recorded history, has been expended on persuading or forcing large numbers of people to replace belief in one supernatural mystery with another Kindle Locations 410 412.Susan Jacoby is one of my favorite contemporary freethinkers Her books always illuminate, always elucidate, and always make me wish I d studied har ERUDITE, RECONDITE, INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE Religious conversion is an irresistible subject for a secularist or an atheist precisely because so much human energy, throughout recorded history, has been expended on persuading or forcing large numbers of people to replace belief in one supernatural mystery with another Kindle Locations 410 412.Susan Jacoby is one of my favorite contemporary freethinkers Her books always illuminate, always elucidate, and always make me wish I d studied harder and was smarter than I am Especially on the subject of religious history.Reading Strange Gods A Secular History of Conversion helped some with the feeling smarter part It offers a very well researched introduction to religious history, and to the role that conversion forced, spiritual journey, and of convenience has played over the millennia.I especially enjoyed the last three chapters Part VII The Way We Live Now particularly the stories of Muhammad Ali s conversion, when he joined the Nation of Islam, and of the personal exchanges between him and Bertrand Russell in the late 1960s These chapters raised my rating.Recommendation I suspect the secular perspective is an acquired taste, and might be offputting for some That said, Strange Gods is a great choice for all freedom of conscience fans, and it might just whet the curiousity Nullius in verba, take no one s word for it Kindle Locations 4205 4206.Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group Kindle Edition, 512 pages, 9208 Kindle Locations flag 6 likesLike see review Dec 13, 2015 Ryan Bell rated it it was amazing Shelves 2016 list Here is a link to my conversation with the author flag 5 likesLike see review Dec 14, 2016 Ayman Fadel rated it really liked it Full review with hyperlinks formatting here you, like me, grew up receiving religious education, you likely encountered conversion stories For Muslims, an important topic of our weekend school education in the United States is the siirah biography, gospel of the Messenger Muhammad It is replete with stories of how courageous and noble individuals, beginning with his wife Khadija and cousin Ali, recognized him as God s Messenger Implicit Full review with hyperlinks formatting here you, like me, grew up receiving religious education, you likely encountered conversion stories For Muslims, an important topic of our weekend school education in the United States is the siirah biography, gospel of the Messenger Muhammad It is replete with stories of how courageous and noble individuals, beginning with his wife Khadija and cousin Ali, recognized him as God s Messenger Implicitly and explicitly, those who rejected him were cruel and venal.Susan Jacoby examines how European Christians told stories about conversion, which, under the scrutiny of modern historical method, reveal how those stories concealed varying degrees of coercion, and how the post fascist Catholic Church has attempted to shift blame away from itself for the most grievous period of coercion, the enslavement and murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany.She ends the book discussing the United States s contemporary attitude towards conversion and implications for atheists like herself While the number of practicing professing atheists has grown rapidly in the 21st century, Jacoby is concerned that a far greater number of Americans, particularly those who self identify as No religious affiliation or Spiritual but not religious are in fact atheists who are coerced into concealment She hopes that of these people will declare for atheism and educate their children about religion so that they will not, as low information consumers, fall prey to religion later in life.Being accused of intending to murder our non Muslim neighbors, we Muslims often point to this passage of the Qur an There is no compulsion in religion.There are other texts which also urge Muslims protect the rights of non Muslims.Nevertheless, I assume that a historian could follow Jacoby s methodology and write a similar history of coerced conversions to Islam from the time of the Messenger through the era of decolonization and post independent states It particularly galls me that many Muslims preachers in the United States will claim that the existence of a Muslim majority in Indonesia is proof that Islam never spread by the sword Of course, none of these preachers know anything about the history of Southeast Asia, especially East Timor and the killings targeting Chinese largest non Muslim minority in 1965 Were they to learn of these atrocities, the majority of whose victims were non Muslims, they would claim they were the result of Muslims following secular ideologies, not Islam Sounds familiar to the Catholic Church s claims regarding the Holocaust, doesn t it While I don t believe Islam mandates these gross human rights violations, and while I don t consider the actions of the so called Islamic State Daesh to be in conformity with my understanding of Islam, after reading this book I ve decided not to argue the point with the proselytizers of atheism as long as they don t advocate USA militarism I have decided to be a voice arguing for disestablishment of religion in the United States, where I live, and if anybody from a Muslim majority country asks me, I d recommend it follow the path of the United States government in avoiding establishment of religion and restricting its practice flag 1 likeLike see review Apr 28, 2016 Jill Meyer rated it really liked it review of another edition Susan Jacoby s Strange Gods A Secular History of Conversion , is a bit of a mish mash Now, that s not said in a bad way Jacoby tries to cover the topic from Augustine to Mohammed Ali and his daughter, with stops in England, France, Spain, and Egypt, in between What Jacoby is trying to say, I think, is that as long as there have been religious belief, there have been conversions both to and away from those beliefs And if she s not right, then I don t know what would be the point of the book Susan Jacoby s Strange Gods A Secular History of Conversion , is a bit of a mish mash Now, that s not said in a bad way Jacoby tries to cover the topic from Augustine to Mohammed Ali and his daughter, with stops in England, France, Spain, and Egypt, in between What Jacoby is trying to say, I think, is that as long as there have been religious belief, there have been conversions both to and away from those beliefs And if she s not right, then I don t know what would be the point of the book.Susan Jacoby, herself the daughter of a man who converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism upon marrying Susan s mother, looks at how conversions can be of coersion by threats of death Spain or opportunity , where the ease of shedding an old religion in this case Judaism in 19th and 20th century Europe will give the converter entrance into higher social and economic rank Or, like Jacoby s father his conversion was an attempt to make a family together with his wife But, and this is a big but, conversion to a dominant religion doesn t always bring safety Edith Stein is only one of many Jewish converts to Catholicism whose new religion didn t protect her from being sent from the convent straight to Auschwitz But the Jewish Christian conversions are not the only ones she covers She links history with societal events to make her points.I m giving Jacoby s book four stars instead of five only because I think she does try to cover too much Her writing is lively and I found the book quite interesting And, curiously, she and I both had Jewish fathers at Dartmouth at the same time flag 1 likeLike see review Feb 22, 2016 Grace rated it liked it There was a lot of powerful information and useful perspectives on conversion and social and economic reasons for conversion, rather than just the spiritual I particularly liked the chapter on Muhammad Ali Nonetheless, some of the language and rhetoric tended toward the bombastic, which I didn t need to appreciate that religion has done a lot of damage, and some of the parallels seemed overextended I also wondered if the author should apply that same reasoning economic and social and enviro There was a lot of powerful information and useful perspectives on conversion and social and economic reasons for conversion, rather than just the spiritual I particularly liked the chapter on Muhammad Ali Nonetheless, some of the language and rhetoric tended toward the bombastic, which I didn t need to appreciate that religion has done a lot of damage, and some of the parallels seemed overextended I also wondered if the author should apply that same reasoning economic and social and environmental issues to the Islamic extremists she decries in the Conclusion Is there not an argument to be made about why people cling to extremism power and success when you do not have any other way to get it that she makes about the converts in the rest of her book It s definitely worth reading, but there are some holes flag 1 likeLike see review May 14, 2016 Ted Sibly rated it liked it In each chapter, I searched for the point she was trying to make A simple introductory paragraph would have helped Apparently her target was the simple traditional view of a specific person s conversion Her goal was to show many other factors driving that event She presented a mountain of scholarly evidence to support her thesis, but it was difficult for me to find the specific thesis in each chapter Her overview of history in a specific time and place was very interesting The three big he In each chapter, I searched for the point she was trying to make A simple introductory paragraph would have helped Apparently her target was the simple traditional view of a specific person s conversion Her goal was to show many other factors driving that event She presented a mountain of scholarly evidence to support her thesis, but it was difficult for me to find the specific thesis in each chapter Her overview of history in a specific time and place was very interesting The three big headlines of 1492 Spain were very helpful flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 13, 2017 Kate Elliott rated it liked it Shelves history, 2017 Fairly good history, but what a condescending tone She doesn t really respect the emotional nuance of religious experience This tightness makes her approach brittle The book could have been much dynamic if she had railed less and took time to seek to understand flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 08, 2017 Amy rated it it was ok Shelves non Ok, I didn t read it I just am checking it off my list I tried the first couple chapters since the subject matter is interesting to me, but it s too darn academic to wade through Maybe I ll try again later flag Like see review Feb 27, 2017 Susanne Doorn added it Read the full review at book is not about the cruel middle ages It is still very relevant to make yourself aware of the power entangled with religion The liberty to choose any religion as well as no religion at all is a sign of civilization and liberty flag Like see review Feb 28, 2017 Tim Jones rated it liked it This is a very advanced book that I do not recommend for most people It was a struggle to complete it flag Like see review Jan 27, 2016 Wise_owl rated it really liked it Shelves non fiction Strange Gods is a deeply interesting historical work, and Susan Jacoby should be commended for producing it Unlike most looks at conversion, which treat the subject as one of personal choice or external enlightenment, this books looks at the social dynamics at play Essential to this is that this is a secular history, which disregards the underlying truth claims of the faiths in question, to bring in the myriad reasons why conversions happen beyond a change in belief From the shift of Pagans Strange Gods is a deeply interesting historical work, and Susan Jacoby should be commended for producing it Unlike most looks at conversion, which treat the subject as one of personal choice or external enlightenment, this books looks at the social dynamics at play Essential to this is that this is a secular history, which disregards the underlying truth claims of the faiths in question, to bring in the myriad reasons why conversions happen beyond a change in belief From the shift of Pagans to Christianity in Ancient Rome, the Forced Conversion of Jews and Muslims in 15th Century Spain, the Conflicts of the Reformation and the shifts of America s changing religious landscape in the 20th century, the book shows us that there are many, many reasons for Conversion That religion, religious belief, has as much a cultural and political dimension as a personal one That the very idea of the cafeteria religion popular in North America take a little of this, a little of that, oh I m not religious, I m spiritual is grown from a history of limited political power for any dominant religion and things like intermingling, intermarriage, and the growing power of secularism.I would say Jacoby does, especially on the sections on America, fall into some historical traps Generalizations about the world based on American experience, or the uniqueness of American experience are one example That America is the larger and most powerful of the Colonial states, established not by a native population but by immigrants, is undeniable But it is hardly the only such state Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Falkland Islands, etc are all such states There are others in which the native population was not so wholly displaced or overwhelmed These don t take away from the over all narrative of the text, but I found these sections a little weaker than the earlier parts.Over all a splendid look at a subject not always examined with the fearful honesty history demands It serves as a great book on it s subject, and a great leaping off point for a variety of interesting periods in history flag Like see review May 07, 2016 Judith rated it really liked it Jacoby writes well, and I found her personal comments insightful, funny, and intriguing She reviews the history of conversion by looking at the famous conversions in history, beginning with Augustine, continuing on through the Spanish converses and morons, etc The last few chapters concern conversions in the contemporary US, e.g conversion because of intermarriage, conversion to atheism, Islamist religion, religious but unaffiliated She does not discuss in depth conversion in contemporar Jacoby writes well, and I found her personal comments insightful, funny, and intriguing She reviews the history of conversion by looking at the famous conversions in history, beginning with Augustine, continuing on through the Spanish converses and morons, etc The last few chapters concern conversions in the contemporary US, e.g conversion because of intermarriage, conversion to atheism, Islamist religion, religious but unaffiliated She does not discuss in depth conversion in contemporary Europe I m not sure that Europe, as unaffiliated with denominations as it is, is really a phenomena of conversion conversion from what, after all The book could also be titled A History of Intolerance, as conversion was sometimes forced, and converts often tortured and killed the lucky ones just got killed Jacob points out that the US is different from Europe in that there is no state religion here, not that some religionists aren t trying to establish one An important book to read, especially the last chapters on the current religious milieu in th US flag Like see review Aug 28, 2016 Kelly Wagner rated it really liked it Part history, part memoir, in that Jacoby was inspired to write this book because of an incident of secret conversion in her family s background The book covers not only conversions such as Saul s to Paul, but mass conversions, forced conversions the Conversos in Spain , and religious revivals intended to draw in converts She also discusses at length the peculiarly American trait of converting than once attributing to our freedom of religion the instances of interfaith marriage where o Part history, part memoir, in that Jacoby was inspired to write this book because of an incident of secret conversion in her family s background The book covers not only conversions such as Saul s to Paul, but mass conversions, forced conversions the Conversos in Spain , and religious revivals intended to draw in converts She also discusses at length the peculiarly American trait of converting than once attributing to our freedom of religion the instances of interfaith marriage where one partner converts to the other or where they both agree to convert to a third religion that neither of them belonged to before Harry Reid She also touches briefly on conversion where politics becomes a religion the Stalinist atheists Whittaker Chambers conversion to Communism It s a broad ranging book, although focused on the US once there is a US.Suggestion read it back to back with Stephen Prothero s Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars, which is mostly about the US s history of religious intolerance and how each wave of intolerance has resolved flag Like see review Apr 11, 2016 R.J.Cicisly Jr rated it it was amazing I read this book because I enjoyed reading SJ s previous books I was baptized Catholic My dad told me early in my youth, if I didn t want to go to church, he want going to force me He went through Catholic School until the 8th grade My mom wasn t baptized Catholic until she turned 18 in 1949 She grew up not being baptized I always found her reason for wanting to be baptized peculiar She would always say , all her friends were baptized Then I read a book about how religiously the USA was I read this book because I enjoyed reading SJ s previous books I was baptized Catholic My dad told me early in my youth, if I didn t want to go to church, he want going to force me He went through Catholic School until the 8th grade My mom wasn t baptized Catholic until she turned 18 in 1949 She grew up not being baptized I always found her reason for wanting to be baptized peculiar She would always say , all her friends were baptized Then I read a book about how religiously the USA was in the 40 s and 50 s then her reasons made sense Kinda like what SJ mentioned in the book My current peculiarity is in regards to non religious parents who enroll their children in private religious schools. This was also non specifically touched on in SJ s book Social Status I often wonder how many non practicing Catholic parents had to settle for a Christian school because they couldn t get their kids into Catholic school, due to the fact that they never go to church themselves flag Like see review Mar 04, 2016 Jean Kelly rated it really liked it A very interesting book that deals with the history of forced conversions worldwide as well as personal conversions famous and not The author has been an atheist since the age of 16 and while most to the book is filled with fact based stories involving conversions she seems not to able to control at bit of superiority as she outlines some of the religious beliefs she finds hard to imagine anyone believing On the whole though she shows respect for those who have made such life changes though A very interesting book that deals with the history of forced conversions worldwide as well as personal conversions famous and not The author has been an atheist since the age of 16 and while most to the book is filled with fact based stories involving conversions she seems not to able to control at bit of superiority as she outlines some of the religious beliefs she finds hard to imagine anyone believing On the whole though she shows respect for those who have made such life changes though her major view seems to be the conversions when not forced are very often done to advance a person in their profession, society or for purposed of intermarriage as opposed to true philosophical religious reasons flag Like see review Apr 23, 2016 Lance rated it it was amazing I enjoyed this review of the history of religious conversion in the Western world since the time of Jesus, and I learned a lot about a wide span of history from Jacoby Included in that were several interesting tidbits that Bertrand Russel and Mohammed Ali became friends over their shared anti war experiences WWI and Vietnam respectively and the Flushing Remonstrance.She ends with a strong condemnation of forced conversions, comparing the behavior of ISIS today to the anti Semitic acts of th I enjoyed this review of the history of religious conversion in the Western world since the time of Jesus, and I learned a lot about a wide span of history from Jacoby Included in that were several interesting tidbits that Bertrand Russel and Mohammed Ali became friends over their shared anti war experiences WWI and Vietnam respectively and the Flushing Remonstrance.She ends with a strong condemnation of forced conversions, comparing the behavior of ISIS today to the anti Semitic acts of the Crusaders a century ago.This book is a good reminder of how fortunate we who have grown up in a Secular United States truly are flag Like see review Apr 18, 2016 Hadrian rated it it was ok Shelves history, religion theology, nonfiction By history of conversion, Jacoby here means a history of the reasons why persons throughout history converted For the most part, Jacoby is skeptical of the process of conversion, and often attributes it to outside forces a need for personal improvement, survival during periods of political repression, marriage, an affirmation of identity, forcing ideological conformity, etc The book is thick with historical anecdotes and some insights, wide but not deep, and is pockmarked by bizarre and contr By history of conversion, Jacoby here means a history of the reasons why persons throughout history converted For the most part, Jacoby is skeptical of the process of conversion, and often attributes it to outside forces a need for personal improvement, survival during periods of political repression, marriage, an affirmation of identity, forcing ideological conformity, etc The book is thick with historical anecdotes and some insights, wide but not deep, and is pockmarked by bizarre and contradictory tangents Jacoby goes on about how conversions have political causes, and then lambasts Susan Armstrong for making the same argument What gives flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 06, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it Susan Jacoby is one of my favorite contemporary secular freethinking authors and Strange Gods is her best, a must read for folks interested in the secular history of conversion Neither a New Atheist thank goodness treatise nor a boring academic history, Strange Gods addresses detailed histories of conversions within social, political and economic frameworks from Augustine of Hippo to Muhammad Ali It s illuminating and relevant and her writing is, as always, brilliant sans pretension Susan Jacoby is one of my favorite contemporary secular freethinking authors and Strange Gods is her best, a must read for folks interested in the secular history of conversion Neither a New Atheist thank goodness treatise nor a boring academic history, Strange Gods addresses detailed histories of conversions within social, political and economic frameworks from Augustine of Hippo to Muhammad Ali It s illuminating and relevant and her writing is, as always, brilliant sans pretension flag Like see review Feb 03, 2016 Christen rated it it was amazing Shelves read agains, xx female author, physical book, 2016 With changing times, comes changing of religious preference Some people change for marriage, some because politically it is better to be one religion than another and other are forced into conversion because they fear for their lives and finally, some do convert because they felt they that they needed to change religions.Jacoby takes a non religious view on the history of conversion and notes that mass conversion of people is usually against some political change or event that changes the world With changing times, comes changing of religious preference Some people change for marriage, some because politically it is better to be one religion than another and other are forced into conversion because they fear for their lives and finally, some do convert because they felt they that they needed to change religions.Jacoby takes a non religious view on the history of conversion and notes that mass conversion of people is usually against some political change or event that changes the world Are all conversion as spiritual as one believes flag Like see review Mar 03, 2016 Regina rated it liked it Shelves history, nonfiction, religion I would actually give this one a 3.5 if I could I love Susan Jacoby but this one was not my favorite The first half seemed to drag a bit but the second half was much better So really, it s a 3 for the first half and a 4 for the second half Of course, it could also be me I seem to be a bit worn out on religion lately I probably should have waited to read it It s hard to wait when it s a favorite author, though flag Like see review Feb 20, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing Shelves history, religion The erudite Ms Jacoby presents a comprehensive history of religious conversion from a secular viewpoint, which basically means that it s unbiased Some notable conversions are covered, such as St Augustine, John Donne and Muhammad Ali She also gives a thorough look at the persecution of Jews through history, and covers why slave owners decided to convert their slaves Strange Gods is fascinating and witty I guarantee that you will walk away smarter than when you started the book flag Like see review Apr 08, 2016 Brian Kehler rated it it was amazing No recent book on religious history tells the truth about religious conversion powerfully than this book It was a bracing and illuminating read I can t recommend it highly enough I hope it sets a much needed trend in popular histories, as it exemplifies a standard of excellence in scholarship which refreshingly avoids academic post Foucault hand ringing and smashes through the now monolithic right wing rewrite of history dominating our education system in America flag Like see review Mar 03, 2016 Maria added it if you are looking for a detailed survey on the subject or take pleasure in densely packed historicalrecounting of why and how of religion, then this is for you Couldn t get too far into it, hence the rating of 3 flag Like see review Sep 16, 2016 Debra added it Shelves not interested in finishing I remember a sense of pride at having entered into a grown up world although I certainly understood that the same grown ups who had been willing to admit, Yes Susan, there is no Santa Claus, would not have been delighted to agree with me that there was no God flag Like see review Jul 03, 2016 Kenzie Townsend rated it really liked it The author contributes a solid narrative on one of the pillars of any civilization Her thoughts on Augustine were enlightening flag Like see review Mar 23, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing This book was, like most books I read, immensely fascinating and pretty depressing flag Like see review Jun 03, 2016 Shana Dennis rated it it was amazing Very detailed account of why people have chosen to change religions over the centuries, as well as an admonition of different major religions for the sins of their past flag Like see review Jan 28, 2016 Tony rated it liked it Who burns a man does not defend a doctrine, but only burns a man flag Like see review Randy rated it liked it Oct 19, 2016 Heidi rated it liked it May 27, 2016 previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 next new topicDiscuss This Book There are no discussion topics on this book yet Be the first to start one Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Readers Also Enjoyed.



Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby Reviews

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
George

ERUDITE, RECONDITE, INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE Religious conversion is an irresistible subject for a secularist or an atheist precisely because so much human energy, throughout recorded history, has been expended on persuading or forcing large numbers of people to replace belief in one supernatural mystery with another Kindle Locations 410 412.Susan Jacoby is one of my favorite contemporary freethinkers Her books always illuminate, always elucidate, and always make me wish I d studied har

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Ryan Bell

Here is a link to my conversation with the author

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Ayman Fadel

Full review with hyperlinks formatting here

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Jill Meyer

Susan Jacoby s Strange Gods A Secular History of Conversion , is a bit of a mish mash Now, that s not said in a bad way Jacoby tries to cover the topic from Augustine to Mohammed Ali and his daughter, with stops in England, France, Spain, and Egypt, in between What Jacoby is trying to say, I think, is that as long as there have been religious belief, there have been conversions both to and away from those beliefs And if she s not right, then I don t know what would be the point of the book

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Grace

There was a lot of powerful information and useful perspectives on conversion and social and economic reasons for conversion, rather than just the spiritual I particularly liked the chapter on Muhammad Ali Nonetheless, some of the language and rhetoric tended toward the bombastic, which I didn t need to appreciate that religion has done a lot of damage, and some of the parallels seemed overextended I also wondered if the author should apply that same reasoning economic and social and enviro

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Ted Sibly

In each chapter, I searched for the point she was trying to make A simple introductory paragraph would have helped Apparently her target was the simple traditional view of a specific person s conversion Her goal was to show many other factors driving that event She presented a mountain of scholarly evidence to support her thesis, but it was difficult for me to find the specific thesis in each chapter Her overview of history in a specific time and place was very interesting The three big he

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Kate Elliott

Fairly good history, but what a condescending tone She doesn t really respect the emotional nuance of religious experience This tightness makes her approach brittle The book could have been much dynamic if she had railed less and took time to seek to understand.

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Amy

Ok, I didn t read it I just am checking it off my list I tried the first couple chapters since the subject matter is interesting to me, but it s too darn academic to wade through Maybe I ll try again later

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Susanne Doorn

Read the full review at

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Tim Jones

This is a very advanced book that I do not recommend for most people It was a struggle to complete it.

thumbnail Title: Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
Author:Susan Jacoby
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Reviewer: 515 Reviews
Description: In a groundbreaking historical work that addresses religious conversion in the West from an uncompromisingly secular perspective, Susan Jacoby challenges the conventional narrative of conversion as a

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