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Publisher’s Overview:

Like it or not, religious language is embedded in our daily discourse. To explore its deeper meanings is to discover common ground—not only between people of different religious traditions, but between those who consider themselves “religious” and those who don’t.

Masquerading as a lexicon designed to make sense of the world’s spiritual vocabularies, FaithSpeak is both an adventure in comparative religions and a foundation for inter-religious understanding. It is also an insightful, down-to-earth companion for the reader’s ongoing spiritual journeys, whether alone or in community.

For author and “interfaith activist” Mark Haskett, faith and religion are two different things. While “faith” is a subjective quality denoting an individual’s attitudes and behaviors, “religion” is the objective repository of words, stories and rituals designed to shape, maintain, or completely overhaul those attitudes and behaviors. Which means different religions often produce very similar faiths, and different faiths can always be found among members of the same religion.

In Part One of FaithSpeak, the author presents a convincing case for this counter-intuitive, if not radical, view. In Part Two, a 300-word Lexicon, Haskett goes on to explore the more universal meanings behind the most important terms (and people) in both the world’s historic religious traditions and newer spiritual movements. You’ll find answers—or at least plentiful food for thought—to such questions as:

  • How the word “Christ” functions not only in Christianity, but represents a process embodied by virtually all religions.
  • Why prayer is the most universal spiritual practice, and how it can help connect us to powerful resources for personal development… or stunt our development.
  • What the word “spiritual” points to, and why it’s still such a handy word for talking about certain issues.
  • How to understand jihad within Islam, and how its “greater” meaning expresses a challenge all of us face.
  • Why “heaven” and “hell” are so common among religious traditions, and why they’re real… even if they aren’t!
  • How the figure of Mary recaptured the feminine aspect of divinity forcibly removed by Western religion, even as Eastern spirituality preserved it.
  • Why sex has always been such a hot topic for most religions… and should be.
  • How the term “belief” is commonly misused, and why it’s essential to connect it with behavior.
  • Why fundamentalists of all stripes aren’t being fundamental enough.
  • How contemporary science is giving us new ways to understand concepts religion has grappled with for millennia, and why “outdated” religious language can still serve a purpose.

FaithSpeak: Reading Between the Lines of Religious Language will change the way you think about faith and religion, and about the spiritually-loaded words we often hear (and use) without really knowing what they mean. Whether you ultimately agree with all of Haskett’s 300 word analyses is less important than your commitment to take these words seriously… and to listen not so much for what religious people merely say, but what they’re communicating on a deeper level.


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