Hovering at the Non-Fiction Paperback Table
For the first time in months, I engaged in the ever-so enjoyable activity of hitting the local bookstore – which for me is Davis-Kidd Booksellers, within easy walking distance — for over an hour of perusing and exploring the nonfiction paperbacks I find most interesting. Davis-Kidd in Green Hills (South Nashville) has a special table set aside for paperback nonfiction near the registers, which is where I spend most of my time at the bookstore. As usual, the most compelling titles – those that I picked up and scanned – were those detailing the reasoning and evidence behind the authors’ journeys of religious belief, religious disbelief, and spiritual practice.
As usual, I found myself drawn most to the arguments and reasoning toward mysticism and Deism. I was somewhat repelled by a couple of books attempting to make the case for fundamentalist-style, literalist-leaning religious interpretations.
I zeroed in on a most interesting book called There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind with which a famous U.K. atheist named Antony Flew has recently made waves (not without controversy) with his startling change of mind in favor of something like Deism. Even more surprising for someone who has spent almost six (6) decades promoting and defending atheism is his inclusion of Appendix B — a scholar’s argument for Christ entitled The Self-Revelation of God in Human History: A Dialogue on Jesus with N.T. Wright — which certainly ventures beyond Deism toward Christianity. It’s very interesting. I read the entire appendix, though it was a rather quick read since the bookstore was closing.
(And speaking of closing… along with my family, I was extremely disappointed to read the bad news in the Tennessean: due to bankruptcy, Davis-Kidd in Nashville is closing in December… THIS December! Wow, what short notice. Gail Kerr, I wholeheartedly join you in holding out hope for a rescuer in the form of a well-off, book-loving, big-hearted, nostalgic Nashvillian! Won’t somebody step up to the plate, acquire Davis-Kidd Nashville, and turn it around? Hunger strike, anyone?)
I experienced some different feelings and attitudes about my recent writings on religious subjects. More than anything, however, I resolved to continue my own personal quest for the truth, including ongoing study of those fascinating areas where empirical evidence, such as history and science, intersect with religion, Christianity in particular — but also to make a fresh effort to abstain from being critical, negative, or derisive about the religious views of others.
Of course, virtually everyone includes religion in the category of notoriously touchy subjects for discussion, and this particular quality has seriously dampened my designs toward publishing some related material. However, according to Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite modern spiritual teachers, this type of avoidance makes for a poor excuse for the stalling of one’s aspirations. On a positive note, this circumvention is definitely contributing to increasingly prolific writing in other subjects that are the focus of my intense passions, such as hiking and other experiences and conditions relating to our natural environment. And there’s always politics…
I shall further contemplate the precise themes and purposes of my religious writings in progress, and make the emendations necessary to maintain the alignment of that material with the basic purposes of those writings. In writing about religion, the most significant challenge remains: refraining from criticism in favor of a positive, uplifting, unifying message!
Resources for Friday Night at Davis-Kidd Bookstore
Wikipedia on Antony Flew
Wikipedia on Roy Abraham Varghese
Amazon.com – There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
New York Times Book Review – There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
The Tennessean – Gail Kerr: Davis-Kidd needs rescuer so book doesn’t close on store