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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Book review pre-warn

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This will be a short post – the filler type when Walski can’t conjure up more than the allotted 24/7. And when work takes precedence over other things he’d prefer to be doing. Blogging being one of ‘em.

In any case, over the past few weeks, Walski has also managed to read a few book that he thinks are important, and which he considers must-reads for all Malaysians. Especially bearing in mind some of the trends he’s seeing that will shape our nation’s future.

Politics aside (and boy have we had more than our fair share, huh?), it’s the growing religious conservatism that Walski’s seeing. But more than just conservatism, it’s the exclusivist undertones (and overtones) that come with it.

In fact, generally touching on this subject, there are 2 books in particular that Walski has just finished reading (one of them a re-reading).

These 2 books are important because they point to the fact that there is A LOT of commonality when it comes to faith, nevermind which one.
(the 2 reviews coming your way soon, and more, in the full post)

The first book is by internationally renowned writer Karen Armstrong. “A History of God” is an international best seller, but more importantly, one of her books that’s not banned in Malaysia.

The book looks at all three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – tracing the development of each one’s theology and philosophy, and looks at the role each one has played on the development of the others.

Walski feels that this is a very important read for many reasons, which he will go into more detail when he posts the actual review.

Suffice it to say, for now, that all three faiths have enjoyed a symbiotic coexistence over the centuries, and more importantly, makes us realize that rather than being divinely ordained, each faith’s claim to exclusivity is entirely man-made.

In other words, all three monotheistic faiths have many things in common.

Which brings us to the second book whose review Walski will unleash upon you folks within the next week or so: Syed Akbar Ali’s “Things In Common”.

Like Ms. Armstrong’s work, Things In Common touches on all three Abrahamic religions, but looks at them from a very different angle. To elaborate any more than this would be to kinda spoil the review.

Well, okay, Walski will add that he’d done a report on the book launch, which took place about a month ago here in Kuala Lumpur.

Again, the idea of Islam as being such an exclusive (as opposed to inclusive) faith is debunked. In a way, it provides an interesting context to Karen Armstrong’s book, that is, about how cross-polination has shaped religions to what they are today, as opposed to the time of their initial revelation.

But if you’re really curious, and have not yet read the book, Walski’s blog buddy (and real life friend) Nizam Bashir has done a review, which you can read here.

So, there you have it – a preview of what you can expect to be posted here at myAsylum over the next calendar week or so. Stay tuned…


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