A None’s Story: Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam

Corinna Nicolaou. Columbia Univ., $35 (336p) ISBN 978-0-231-17394-0
Nicolaou, hoping to learn what the faithful know and discover the positive aspects of religion without focusing on one single faith, makes her way through the tenets of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Over four years, she creates her own spiritual blueprint, an assemblage of different practices and shared sentiments without fidelity to any one worldview or ethos. Admittedly nonacademic in nature, the book presents Nicolaou’s unassuming narrative of theological explorations across the faiths. It is a journey of appreciation and understanding and ends up feeling like an experiential course in religious literacy. Believers will take interest in Nicolaou’s account of the “un-churched” or “un-mosqued” who come to places of worship, as she explains what catches their interest, compels them, or pushes them away. The nonreligious will appreciate Nicolaou’s frankness concerning critical questions about the four religions and discussions of the differences that divide them. At times, the understanding of religious beliefs, practices, and material elements is unrefined, but this is not the story of an academic researcher or a devoted practitioner. Perfect for those looking to ground themselves in the overlapping but often contradictory morals of the world’s major religions, Nicolaou’s book vividly and respectfully unpacks the nature of spiritual practice. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/11/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
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Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-231-17395-7
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