Lion's Roar

REVIEWS

WHY RELIGION? A Personal Story

By Elaine Pagels

Ecco 2018; 240 pp., $27.99 (cloth)

A renowned academic and bestselling religion author, Elaine Pagels grew up in an aloof, scientifically-minded family. Then, when she was fifteen years old, she tagged along with some friends to hear Billy Graham preach. She was so astounded by his passion that she converted, secretly thrilled to rebel against her parents. Since then her faith has ebbed and flowed, but she still remains, as she puts it, “incorrigibly religious.” In Pagels unpacks the relevance of religion in the twenty-first century—how religious traditions continue to shape the way we understand ourselves and the world and provide a framework for facing our most painful losses. Indeed, Pagels has been heavily informed by her own experience of loss—first the death heal,” says Pagels, “through what I can only call grace.”

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