Believe It or Not

Is it a fit of nerves about the coming millennium? A sneaking suspicion that there is more to life than money, success, and a great hairdo? Or is it a genuine desire for communion and transcendence? Whatever the source, Americans’ search for spiritual meaning is well under way.

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The World of Religion According to Huston Smith” Religion is an energizing force for good and the “winnower of the wisdom of the human race,” says renowned theologian Huston Smith in an interview with Marilyn Snell. He adds that the world’s faith traditions give us another realm to live in — one that fulfills our need for values, meaning, and purpose.

Unfaithful” How has organized religion adapted to a rapidly changing world? Cheryl L. Reed’s yearlong investigation into the struggle between the Catholic Church and an increasing number of its clergy over the touchy topic of earthly love.

“The $100 Christmas” Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben is a nice guy who’s not very popular these days among merchants in his small upstate New York town. The reason? His campaign to trim America’s Christmas shopping spree.

“Faith: Marianne Williamson Is Full of It” If no-fault redemption and do-it-yourself salvation are what you want, start at the self-help and New Age sections of any bookstore. Chances are they’ll be filled with Marianne Williamson’s best-sellers. Lynda Gorov explains the wild popularity of New Age’s high priestess.

“Why Einstein Wasn’t an Atheist” Noted evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins maintains that, no matter how you look at it, religion is a virus. However, writer Gordy Slack has found that some of science’s heaviest hitters (a Nobel laureate and a cutting-edge geneticist among them) use their religious faith to inform their science — and vice versa.

“Does the Bible Tell Me So?” Americans, says Ann Monroe, read the Bible as a giant Rorschach test: It looks one way to the politically left, and quite another to those on the right. Both miss the point — and the Bible’s promise. Also “Lost in the (Biblical) Translation” by Seth Sanders.

See HotMedia for more resources. Statistical research compiled by Gary Thill.

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