Friday, August 24, 2007


I want to encourage people to read a post from John Alan Turner's blog called Conversations on an Airplane. It talks about a conversation he had with a philosophy professor, and the interesting thing is how much JAT talks about the other stuff he's read. Hume, among others.

The interesting thought for me and the question I want to pose to others is this: How much reading do we do outside of our own faith? For so long, we Christians have voluntarily ghetto-ized ourselves behind our theological walls and not dared to come out or even let others who don't share our beliefs in. But the truth of the matter is that if we really want to engage the world and have conversation with people who don't believe what we do, then we have to read outside of our walls. We have to be familiar with Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris, and Carl Sagan. I'm not very familiar. I'm more familiar with pop culture, TV, and movies. I haven't read any of the above authors.

So I'm curious. Who do you read that isn't a Christian? And do you feel that reading that helps your faith or weakens it?


Thomas+ said...

I heard an interview with the great film maker Werner Hertzog yesterday. He talked about how he watches pro wrestling and third-rate reality shows. He does it because he says the poet can not avert his eyes from the darkness of the human heart.

Karl Barth said we have to preach with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. Basically saying something similar.

Now, to toot my horn, I'll tell you I recently finished "In the footsteps of the Prophet" by Tariq Ramadan. Its about lessons from the life of Muhammad. In the past year I've read that, a big chunk of the Koran, a book by Marcus Borg and another by Matthew Fox (whom I completely disagree with theologically), two books from Zen masters, and one from Richard Rohr (whom I have a love/hate relationship with). Oh, and Harry Potter. Does that count?

Thomas+ said...

I also listen to podcasts that cover all sorts of religion and philosophy. For people who don't read all that much, "Speaking of Faith" with Krista Tippet, as well as many of Terry Gross' interviews on Fresh Air, oh and "Big Ideas" from Canada are all great ways to stay up on current thought from a variety of sources.

Brian said...

My non Christian reading includes The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Zen master), and the online Koran. The latter is so that I can have a better understanding of the Islamic scripture as opposed to the image of Islam presented by some radical fundamentalists around the world. Much like some Christians don't seem to give a good representation of the core truths of our scripture.

Scott said...

I read a lot of people that aren't members of the Church of Christ. That's what you mean by not Christian, right?

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