December 6, 2009

2010 World Religion Challenge

J.T. a la Bibliofreak has created the 2010 World Religion Challenge. I am so excited!

Here are the rules she lays out:

The Challenge will run from Jan 1st 2010 to Dec 31st 2010. There are four categories to the Challenge:

I decided to lift a note from Taoism by calling these Paths (Tao means "way" or "path") to Reading Challenge Enlightenment:

1. The Bare Bones Path (Also Know As: The *Technically* There's Only Three Path): Read something about what are *technically* the only world religions, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. (These are considered, by some scholars, to be the only World Religions because while Judaism and Hinduism have the numbers, they don't proselytize or really invite other people to join, making it more of an ethnicity).

2. The Penthouse Path (Also Known As: The Five Biggies Path): Read something about the five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

3. The Universalist Path (Also Known As: The Above and Beyond Path): Read something by all five of the major world religions PLUS more books about any or all of the following: Shintoism, Animism, Taoism, Confucianism, Wicca, Mythology, Atheism, Occult, Tribal Religions, Voodoo, Unitarianism, Baha'i, Cults, Scientology, Mysticism, Rastafarianism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Agnosticism, Gnosticism, Satanism, Manichaeism, Deism, Comparative Religion, Religious Philosophy, Jungiansim, Symbolism, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc., etc. etc. (you may also read about another aspect of one of the 5 Biggies)

4. The Unshepherded Path (Also Known As: The Don't Tell Me What to Do Path): Read as many books as you would like about whatever religions you want.

What to read?

religious texts

and if your eyeballs are ready to fall out of your skull:
watch a movie
see a play
listen to some music
attend a service
celebrate a holiday
perform a ritual
open the door when Jehovah's Witnesses come to call

Need some inspiration? Do the following:

Go to this post on my blog, and see where it is tagged "religion?" Click on the tag and it will take you to all of the myriad books I've tagged as "religion". In the next month and a half, I'm going to try to review a lot of other books I've previously read so as to add to the list.

Go to the bookstore, and browse around

Look up religions on Wikipedia

Ask me for advice

Steal from other participants' lists

Audio books and cross-overs from other challenges are encouraged.

Do you have to have a blog to join? Of course not! I'd be happy to post on here for you...or you can just leave a comment with the book you read.

Soo...Go make your lists!

Oh I am so all about this challenge! I love learning about religions and different pathways to God and spirituality. I am very excited.

Here is the list I have created. It was almost as fun making this list as it will be reading the books!

Of course I am doing The Unshepherded Path (aka The Don't Tell Me What to Do Path). I love that. J.T. is brilliant. This list is just a base for me. I reserve the right to change it as I go along if I so desire. That is the beauty of this path. :) I am positive I can't read this many books for this challenge anyway. But I do want to read them all.

Ideas for Books:


The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri

A Very Short Introduction to Hinduism


The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Universe in a Single Atom by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron

Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World by Lama Surya Das


A Very Short Introduction to the Apocryphal Gospels

Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid

Catholic Customs and Traditions by Greg Dues


A Very Short Introduction to Islam

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini


The I Ching, or Book of Changes

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Love and Sex by Jolan Chang

Tribal/Native American Religions

Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living by Joseph M. Marshall

Dancing the Dream: The Seven Sacred Paths of Human Transformation by Jamie Sams


God is Not Great: Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

The Case for God by Karen Armstrong

The Evolution of God by Robert Wright

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever by Christopher Hitchens

Earth-Based Religions

City of God by St. Augustine

The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman

Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with Energy Medicine of the Americas by Alberto Villodo

To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft by Silver RavenWolf

Don’t Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C. Davis

A Brief History of the Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis

World Religions/Comparative Religions

The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions by Huston Smith

Many Ways: How Families Practice Their Beliefs and Religions by Shelley Rotner

Comparative Religion for Dummies by William P. Lazarus and Mark Sullivan

1. Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan by Ali Eteraz (June 2010)
2. Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction by Kim Knott (June 2010)


  1. What an awesome challenge! I will definitely be signing up for this one and will most likely choose the Unshepherded Path.

  2. Good luck on this challenge Rebecca!!

  3. I totally know what you mean about making the list being almost as much fun.

    I've already picked up a few things to add to mine!

  4. I have always been fascinated by comparative religion. And I've sworn off any new reading challenges!! What are you doing to me woman?! :-D

  5. I'm going to give this one a try too ... I plan on being unsheparded as well!

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