History of Religion and Culture
Exploring the origins of our belief systems
How and why did our various cultural mythologies and religions develop and what was/is their purpose (and contribution to our societies)? Can we solve our current challenges in regards to radical Islam in the world today (and extreme religious views in general)?
How and when did language, music and art forms evolve? Why?
What are the answers today and expected results tomorrow?
Recent Articles of Interest
Magazine and Online Resources
In my quest to find answers to these questions I have found the following resources extremely useful:
- Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia, for a wide range of general and specific scientific inquiries (www.wikipedia.org)
- The Teaching Company Courses (www.teach12.com)
- Scientific American Magazine, as above plus the latest research reports (www.sciam.com)
- Scientific American Mind Magazine, for neurological (neuroscience and neuropsychology) scientific research reports (www.sciam.com/sciammind/)
- National Geographic Magazine, for general inquires into our environment and man's place within it (www.nationalgeographic.com)
These books, amongst many others that I have read, stand out for me as providing the most concise and readable information relating to the above questions. I am not personally endorsing any of these books in a manner that says I agree with the authors positions on every point that they posit, but I find their dialog invigorating, mind expanding, and refreshing.
In particular, I do not want to insult people of religious faith who may find atheist-oriented subject matter offensive - these books cover important topics from a scientific/logical perspective and highlight many of the important issues surrounding popular belief systems:
- A Mind of its Own/How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives, Cordelia Fine (click here for a review)
- The Pathology of Man/A Study of Human Evil, Charles Thomas
- A History of Knowledge/The Pivotal Events, People and Achievements of World History, Charles van Doren
- Guns, Germs and Steel/The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond (click here for a review)
- The End of Faith/Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Sam Harris
- The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins
- Breaking The Spell/Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Daniel Dennett