Book Review: “Live’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious” by David Dark

David Dark, the author of “The Sacredness of Question Everything”, “The Gospel According to America”, “Everyday Apocalypse”, and “Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious” is currently the assistant professor of Religion and the Arts in the College of Theology at Belmont University and teaches at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Prior to his university teaching career, Dark was a high school English teacher and preceding those years he received his doctorate in 2011. Given Darks teaching background he has experience in presenting his religious and spiritual philosophies in a very conservative manner. By doing so, he is able to discuss religion with little risk of conversation being shut off. Therefore, this book is for those who know proclaim their religion without shame and is for those who are on the fence about being religious and is for those who are completely against religion. Before the introduction and table of contents, Dark shares with us “this [book] goes out to those for whom: Religion is violence backed by divinity…is a backward step in human evolution…kills joy…is why you can’t talk to your family…is the state of being hopelessly stuck…is brainwash…is the old relative who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject…is a cage around reason…is the thorn in the side of common sense…will not house complexity, mystery, the unknown or contradiction…represents death of the imagination, invention and seeing yourself in someone else…is the elaborate disguise for Fear that gets him a seat at the table of survival. This also goes out to those for whom: Religion is peace backed by divinity…is a forward step in human evolution…gives joy…is the call to somehow honor the revere your family…sings songs to the silenced and forgotten…illuminates the invisible threads of comic connection…is in the moral memory of humankind…is an ancient intelligence summoning us to choose humility over hubris and love over fear…dresses the wounds of alienation, isolation, oppression, desertion, haste and hierarchy…is the lexicon of mystery…brings the dead back to tell stories…is the library of love and longing, candor and liveliness.” This book was written for everyone from every walk of life.
Content and Methodology
Dark argues against the popular view of not being religious, for whenever the subject of religion is brought up in normal conversation the conversation is then ended immediately. Dark supports his argument by explaining that everyone is religious in one way or another depending on how religion is defined. He defines religion as a relationship, morals, and a story; “religion is nothing if not a relationship” (122). Two relationships make up religion, your relationship with God and your relationship with other humans. As one relationship strengthens the other must strengthen as well, to maintain an equilateral triangle.
The “relationship triangle” is applicable to everyone, because it effects everyone, because everyone is connected; we are all interconnected. The relationship you have with your friends affects the relationship they have with theirs. If you have a strong relationship with Christ than that relationship is effecting your relationship with others. You impact others’ lives rather you relies it or not. For, everyone does religious activity, everything shapes you, and religion is why you are who you are. Dark explains this throughout the book very subtly, without the in-your-face “religious” aspect, appealing to people from all walks of life. Using Si-Fi and various pop culture references to reinforce that religion is in every aspect of every one’s life.

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