Now, The Life of Pi by Yann Martel is one you really should read. I'll admit I "read" it by listening to the audio version, but I also have the hard copy and actually pull it out to look up passages sometimes. It's that good.
The most beautiful and the most funny writing about religion and faith I've ever read is in this book. Pi comes from a secular Hindu family and yet by the age of sixteen has become, without his parents' knowledge, a devoutly practicing Hindu, Christian, and Muslim. And also feels a "kinship" with his atheist teacher, saying "...atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them -- and then they leap."
I often feel like Pi upon his first introduction to Christianity - after a kindly Catholic priest relates the christian narrative to this curious boy, his irate reaction is, "What a downright weird story. What peculiar psychology," followed by several other pages of total hilarity - you really should read it.
Pi is ultimately won over by the astonishing humanity of God made flesh in Jesus, and by the priest's only answer to all of his logical questions: "Love," repeated again and again. Which are also the reasons I call myself a christian (is that supposed to be capitalized?), even though I have only tenuous ties to any organized religion at this point and I never know quite what to say to those people who actually ask you, "Are you a Christian?" (I figure they, at least, are capitalizing it.)
It's a good story, too, in its own right. A big adventure. A bit of a riddle. And if you don't laugh out loud at the scene where Pi's family is converged upon at the beach by the priest, the pandit, and the imam, each (unbeknownst to the other) bent on praising Pi's parents for the ardent religious devotion of their son... well, if you don't laugh out loud at the fallout, I don't know what you would laugh at!
That's it for my little influential books series, thanks for playing along and don't be shy about chiming in! Don't forget to come back tomorrow, either! (Can anyone guess what it is?)
Here's Shmoogie showing off her new waving talent (it's making her so happy!) and, with a mist in my eyes, I have to admit we're waving bye bye to the babyness of Shmoogie. I remember with Mr. I'mBiggerNowPants, I couldn't imagine how he'd ever turn into a toddler and then, all of a sudden, it happened. Now I can feel it coming. And in the meantime, Mr. I'mBiggerNowPants is turning into a real kid.