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Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine

by Eric Weiner

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1797153,409 (3.94)8
After a health scare, an atheist travels the world searching for an experience of the divine, from meditating with Tibetan lamas in Nepal and unblocking his chi in China, to studying the Kabbalah in Israel.
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Edifying and entertaining. I recommend this book for those who like to read and think about profound ideas. ( )
  JGL53 | Jul 4, 2022 |
Wonderfully informative and personal. I gave it to two other people before I'd finished listened to the CDs and they both loved it, too. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
This concept has been an idea of mine for years, but I have this in-the-way thing called a day job, and I can't abandon my religious practice to fully engage in another. I had to leave the job to someone else. Mr. Weiner took up the task, though I would have done things differently. Firstly: eight religions are too few, and the subsets are too small. Secondly: I'd spend more time investigating each, both physically and on the page. Taoism and Wicca are left practically unexplored. However, what is in the book is nonetheless entertaining, albeit mostly jocular, and not anywhere bordering on scholarly. The reading is perfectly hilarious through his aching neurosis, so what this lacks in sound and erudite investigative journalistic reporting, it makes up for with the lens of achy-breaky humor through which the tale is told. One insight towers above all for me: remove the origin story of any religion, and practice seems sane; include it, and practice seems quite the opposite. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
Eric has a scary visit to the hospital and a nurse asks him "Have you found you God yet?" This sends him on a tour of religions in search of his god. Each chapter starts with a personal ad: CWM seeks forbidden deity. Looking for a crazy love. Take me for a spin, and let's see where our hearts lead. Are you my hidden treasure? This ad starts off the chapter on Sufism. Eric makes a great effort to learn as much as he can about the history of each religion reading all the books he can find on the subject. He also tries to put aside his natural skepticism to absorb as much of the experiences as he can. In a Sufi workshop he learns to whirl like a dervish, in Raelism he shaves he legs and dresses like a woman. He spends hours walking around a stupa he affectionately calls the Giant Marshmallow, he learns qi gong, he discovers his spirit animal and he practices walking meditation on the Sabbath. Eric travels all around the world and looks into eight different religions (Sufism, Buddhism, the Franciscans, Raelism, Taoism, Wicca, Shamanism, and Kabbalah). What he brings away from this journey is that instead of looking for God, "he must construct, assemble Him". I learned quite a bit about religion and this book makes me want to create my own personal ad for God.

February 2013 ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
One man's search for God takes him around the world as he samples different belief systems. Sometimes humorous, but always honest, Weiner bears his soul as he searches for a resonating truth. ( )
  poetreegirl | Jan 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
“Looking for a levelheaded partner and noble truth teller who has been here before. Please, enlighten me.” After postings like this, Weiner spends time with witches, Franciscan monks, whirling dervishes, shamans and other true believers, managing both to generate one-liners and stimulate inquiry into the nature of faith. He’s Woody Allen channeling Karen Armstrong.
 

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Epigraph
Faith is indeed quixotic. It is absurd. Let us admit it. Let us concede everything!

-- Miguel de Unamuno
Dedication
for Sharon
First words
No body likes hospitals, but I like them less than most. (Introduction)
I motor north toward Mendocino, venturing deep into California pot country, listening to the Doors and wondering what I've gotten myself into.
Quotations
In this regard I'm with Martin Gardner. Gardner was a fideist. Fideists can't prove the existence of God, don't even try, but they believe in God anyway. They believe because it makes them feel good. I find this refreshingly honest. Gardner was no fan of Buddhism, or of any religion that defines God in fuzzy terms, like “the universe” or “the unfathomable.” We need an anthropomorphic God, he argued, because you can worship, love, thank, confess to, seek forgiveness from, make requests of, a person. You cannot do any of these things with a potato or a galaxy or a God who is a 6,000-foot-tall jelly bean.” (p.119)
What little else I knew about them I liked: their quixotic spirit; their uncompromised Christianity that takes Jesus's words, especially the difficult ones, seriously. Not that Franciscans care much for verbiage. As their founder, Saint Francis of Assissi, famously advised: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” And so the Franciscans do: owning nothing, feeding and housing the poor, and doing so not in secluded monasteries but in intensely urban settings, the sort of neighborhoods people like me only witness when we take a wrong turn or our car breaks down. (p.124)
I ask about gratitude. Are the men in the shelter grateful? No exactly. The friars receive very little in the way of thanks. […] “Sometimes you get a thank-you, but there is a lot of ingratitude and a sense of entitlement. That was, and still is, difficult. You find yourself trying to love someone who doesn't want to be loved.” That would drive me nuts. I don't know how they sustain it. (p.148)
The Raëlians are a legitimate religion, as recognized by the highest of authorities: the Internal Revenue Service. (p.167)
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After a health scare, an atheist travels the world searching for an experience of the divine, from meditating with Tibetan lamas in Nepal and unblocking his chi in China, to studying the Kabbalah in Israel.

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Book description
CONTENTS:

Introduction

An Uncomfortable Question

Chapter One

God is Love: Sufism

Chapter Two

God is a State of Mind: Buddhism

Chapter Three

God is Personal: Franciscans

Chapter Four

God is Far Out: Raëlism

Chapter Five

God is Nothing: Taoism

Chapter Six

God is Magical: Wicca

Chapter Seven

God is an Animal: Shamanism

Chapter Eight

God is Complicated: Kabbalah

Epilogue

God: Some Assembly Required

Acknowledgements

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About the Author
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