In this intriguing dialogue, an established pagan and a respected Christian theologian engage in open, honest conversations about human spirituality and belief. Paganism is a rapidly expanding belief system, and this helpful exchange both introduces novices to its basic tenets and compares them to the beliefs and ideals behind Christianity. Such topics as the nature of spirituality, who or what is deity, how humans relate to the divine, the sacred feminine, gender, and sexuality are all addressed, along with specific debates involving the teachings and claims of Jesus. Offering a fair assessment and valuable insights into both faith systems, this is an engaging look at the state of belief in the modern world.
Beyond The Burning Times
A Pagan and Christian in Dialogue
“. . . a very useful, timely, intelligent and compassionate dialogue.”
- Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol, UK
“Not only is this a model of respectful and constructive conversation, but it is an enjoyable read. I warmly commend it.”
– Christopher Partridge, Lancaster University, UK
“I think I can whole-heartedly state that this is the best book of its kind (so far), and should be read by as many Pagans and Christians as possible. It represents a quantum leap forward in Pagan-Christian relations.
I’m very pleased that Gus diZerega was chosen to represent a Pagan perspective and treated as an equal. His history of interfaith work, and deep understanding of Pagan theologies, makes him a perfect representative. Obviously, as a Pagan, I agree far more often with Gus than I do with Philip, but that is to be expected. I appreciated Philip Johnson’s calm and even-handed responses to Gus, and his love-centered view of the gospels. There were a few instances where each”talked past” the other, but I suspect that is a normal hazard of such dialogs.
If you are a Pagan with Christian relatives, this is a great “first book” to give them. Likewise, if you are a Christian trying to understand a Pagan friend or relative I would urge you to turn to “Beyond the Burning Times” before heading to some of the more sensationalistic Christian-penned works.”
- Jason Pitzi-Waters
Democratic theory extends at least as far back as Aristotle and came into its own after the American Revolution. Yet despite this antiquity, it’s has been hamstrung by being viewed through the lenses crafted for studying undemocratic states. Yet states are organizations whereby some people dominate others whereas democracies are means by which a political community seeks to be self-governing. A careful reading of Aristotle and the leading thinkers of the American Revolution makes the importance of this distinction clear, and with it, the inadequacy of most theoretical writing on the subject.
F. A. Hayek and Michael Polanyi’s concept of “spontaneous order” offers a far better framework for understanding modern democracy than do traditional state centered models. DiZerega demonstrates how once this distinction is grasped, age old issues in the study of democracies take on a new and more comprehensible look and crucial ways in which democracies differ from other governments take on renewed importance. In addition, this framework opens new vistas as to how reforms within democratic polities might resolve some of the most long standing problems in democratic practice.
Persuasion, Power and Polity
A Theory of Democratic Self-Organization
“The is political philosophy as it should be but rarely is.”
– Nelson Polsby, Director, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
“Original. Rewarding. Accessible. . . . The book is a stunning application of the ideas of Hume, Michael Polanyi, and Hayek to democratic theory. It is first rate and persuasive.”
– William K. Muir, Jr. UC Berkeley
“diZerega is one of the most original and interesting of the new generation of political theorists.”
– Charles Anderson, University of Wisconsin
“Not only is diZerega’s case well argued at the theoretical level, but he also provides a detailed account of the kind of noncoercive institutions that are needed to revitalize democratic practices on a human scale. . . . Truly a formidable achievement.”
– Laurent Dobuzinskis, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Winner of the 2001 Coalition of Visionary Resources (COVR) Award for Best Non-fiction Book
Although Christianity is still a major religious force, there are growing numbers of people in other faiths, including the various Pagan traditions. Some Christians have responded to this trend with fear and derision, while some Pagans have reacted to that fear with anger and mistrust.
Much of the problem is due to misunderstandings and lack of communication. This can change with Gus diZerega’s Pagans & Christians. Here you will find a penetrating and illuminating comparison, showing that neither path has the single correct approach to the Divine. Rather, either or both can be authentic and legitimate expressions of the appreciation of the Ultimate Source of All.
Pagans & Christians is an ideal way to help bridge what at time seems a wide chasm between Christian and Pagan beliefs. By sharing core ideas of both paths, this book provides a way to give deeper mutual understanding and unity among the religions of the world.
Although Pagans & Christians accepts both paths as valid, the book provides a more in-depth explanation of Paganism ó the minority religion because in some ways, Paganism demands a greater defense and explanation of its beliefs and ideas to dispel misunderstandings. The author is a Third Degree Gardenerian Elder and in Pagans & Christians has presented nothing less than a brilliant defense of Paganism, clearly showing how it should stand beside all of the major religions of the world as an equal. As part of this defense, diZerega gives a listing of biblical contradictions and Christian philosophical difficulties which can help any Pagan responding to a negative attack, and will help any Christian to view his or her religion as a way, not the way.
Pagans & Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience
“With erudite wisdom and penetrating insight, Gus diZerega has pierced through the veil of common rhetoric to question and examine the deepest core of spiritual experience.”
- Anodea Judith
“This wonderful book is a rich dialogue between the Pagan and the Christian approaches to the Sacred, pointing out, quite rightly I believe, that neither has the single correct approach to the Divine, but that both can be, and are, legitimate expressions of the ever-present Spirit which is the fountain of all genuine devotion, release, harmony, and fulfillment. . . . this book is highly recommended for all spiritual seekers. . . “
- Ken Wilber