This revised and updated edition provides sympathetic descriptions of the various traditions, explaining how they work “from the inside,” which is a big reason why this cherished classic has sold more than two million copies since it first appeared in 1958.
In this anthology of twenty-six essays and other writings, Huxley discusses the nature of God, enlightenment, being, good and evil, religion, eternity, and the divine. Huxley consistently examined the spiritual basis of both the individual and human society, always seeking to reach an authentic and clearly defined experience of the divine. Featuring an introduction by renowned religious scholar Huston Smith, this celebration of "ultimate reality" proves relevant and prophetic in addressing the spiritual hunger so many feel today.
As Stephen Hawking is to science; as Peter Drucker is to economics; and as Joseph Campbell is to mythology; so Huston Smith is to religion. Tales of Wonder is the personal story of the author of the classic The World’s Religions, the man who taught a nation about the great faiths of the world, and his fascinating encounters with the people who helped shape the 20th century.
In his most personal and passionate book on the spiritual life, renowned author, scholar, and teacher of world religions Huston Smith turns to his own life-long religion, Christianity. With stories and personal anecdotes, Smith not only presents the basic beliefs and essential teachings of Christianity, but argues why religious belief matters in today's secular world.
Though there is a wide variety of contemporary interpretations of Christianity—some of them conflicting—Smith cuts through these to describe Christianity's "Great Tradition," the common faith of the first millennium of believers, which is the trunk of the tree from which Christianity's many branches, twigs, and leaves have grown. This is not the exclusivist Christianity of strict fundamentalists, nor the liberal, watered-down Christianity practiced by many contemporary churchgoers. In exposing biblical literalism as unworkable as well as enumerating the mistakes of modern secularists, Smith presents the very soul of a real and substantive faith, one still relevant and worth believing in.
Smith rails against the hijacked Christianity of politicians who exploit it for their own needs. He decries the exercise of business that widens the gap between rich and poor, and fears education has lost its sense of direction. For Smith, the media has become a business that sensationalizes news rather than broadening our understanding, and art and music have become commercial and shocking rather than enlightening. Smith reserves his harshest condemnation, however, for secular modernity, which has stemmed from the misreading of science—the mistake of assuming that "absence of evidence" of a scientific nature is "evidence of absence." These mistakes have all but banished faith in transcendence and the Divine from mainstream culture and pushed it to the margins.
Though the situation is grave, these modern misapprehensions can be corrected, says Smith, by reexamining the great tradition of Christianity's first millennium and reaping the lessons it holds for us today. This fresh examination of the Christian worldview, its history, and its major branches provides the deepest, most authentic vision of Christianity—one that is both tolerant and substantial, traditional and relevant.
Drawn from his masterful presentation of Islam in the bestselling book The World's Religions (over two million copies sold), Huston Smith offers a revealing look into the heart of a tradition with more than one billion adherents worldwide. Dispelling narrow and distorted notions about the nature of Islam and featuring a new introduction by the author, this book compellingly conveys the profound appeal of Islam, while addressing such timely issues as the true meaning of jihad, the role of women in Islamic societies, and the remarkable growth of Islam in America.