Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Review of THE SEARCHER

Here is the first review of my most recent book, THE SEARCHER.

Marie Alena Castle

The Searcher
Xlibris.com, amazon.com
93 pages HB $27.89; PB $17.84

Here is something different in atheist books. Written as a prose poem in chapters, it is offered as an antidote for the spirituality blatherings of The Prophet, published in 1923 by Kahlil Gibran.

The Searcher is an intriguing little book presented as a dialogue between a man and a woman engaging in late-night musings about life. No heavy philosophy here, just thought-provoking observations on themes long associated with religion, but which religion has never understood, sidetracked as it is in a make-believe supernatural fantasy. You can read it in an hour.

Dan Culberson introduces the dialogue with three questions, then uses the number 7, which religion has made significant for some incomprehensible reason, to divide his chapters and bring religion's hot-air balloons down to Earth.

"Seven Noble Themes" covers Sex, Love, Religion, War, Grace, Humility and Wisdom. "Seven Deadly Sins" takes on Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth and Wrath. "Seven Virtues" dissects Charity, Faith, Fortitude, Hope, Justice, Prudence and Temperance. "Seven Corporal Senses" discusses Animation, Feeling, Hearing, Sight, Smell, Speech and Taste. A chapter on "Life and Love" winds up the book.

The Searcher is a good book to leave out on a coffee table. The topics are easy to grasp by a curious visitor and might stimulate some productive outside-the-book dialogue.

Try the chapter on "Pride," for example:

So what is the next Deadly Sin that we can dissect and examine.

That would be Pride, he said, something I fear we find ourselves coming close to being guilty of,

Or, more exactly, elation over an act or possession, haughty behavior, or disdain in an ostentatious display.

That describes a public display of Pride, she said, but would not an inner feeling of Pride be not so repulsive to our Creators of Sin.

Once again, he said, our Creators of Sin were not thinking in terms of an offense against society but of an offense against God,

And if, in fact, Pride of an act or a possession is a sin, you do not have to display it openly to your fellow sinners,

But you can keep it secretly to yourself and still be guilty of the sin.

For the purposes of discussion, she said, let us assume that there is no God,

Let us assume that the concept of God was created to help humankind become better people in their struggle throughout life,

And that instead of God creating mankind in God's image, mankind created God in mankind's image,

That being the case, then why are we encouraged to take Pride in our work, Pride in our behavior, Pride in our appearance in order to succeed and become better people.

Interesting, he said, and the only answer I can think of at the moment is that, assuming that the Creators of Sin were correct, even in the absence of God,

Perhaps a certain amount of Pride is beneficial in one's life struggle,

But we must be wary of indulging ourselves too much,

We must be cautious and avoid letting too much Pride, either public or private, interfere with that struggle,

Which we also must assume is the purpose of living.

Self-discipline in everything, she said.

Moderation in all, he finished.

(Marie Alena Castle is the communications director for Atheists for Human Rights in Minneapolis, MN.)

To order the book directly from the publisher & review copies:
Book page: www.xlibris.com/TheSearcher.html
Author page: www.xlibris.com/Culberson.html
Official page: http://dan-culberson.com

The Searcher
Dan Culberson
ISBN: 978-1-4415-2009-8 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-4415-2008-1 (Softcover)

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