cover image Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious

Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious

David Dark. IVP, $20 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8308-4446-3

Belmont University theology professor Dark (The Sacredness of Questioning Everything) fears the mention of religion is now a taboo that shuts down conversation, and he wants to “crack it open again.” With candor and humor, he synthesizes a broad range of cultural voices alongside his own “attention collection” of personal influences to create an argument against the thought that we can escape religion. He begins by positing that many wish to distance themselves from being “religious” and all the associated connotations with violence, brainwashing, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy, preferring instead to be thought of as “spiritual.” But Dark asserts that religion actually encompasses all the controlling stories that make up a person’s belief system. Through references to science fiction novels, Wendell Berry, Thomas Merton, and Daniel Berrigan, Dark sheds light on how thoughts are handed down to us, what we judge to be essential, and the ways in which we can begin to unlearn all that we have unwittingly inherited. Dark’s argument couched in a memoir is a persuasive, well-grounded case for religion’s place in modern society. (Feb.)