Luke Pemberton – How to See Religion Differently: What questioning your beliefs can reveal, and why it can lead to a healthy mind

Luke Pemberton‘s booklet How to See Religion Differently What questioning your beliefs can reveal, and why it can lead to a healthy mind is a short read on how he said goodbye to the Roman Catholic Church and a series of its theological tenets. The book title and the introduction suggest that you can extrapolate this easily to other Abrahamic religions like the Judaism and Islam. Well, that’s a conclusion not founded in this work.

The 200 hand-drawn graphics cannot be enlarged in the Kindle version and had to be ignored while reading. In the paperback version these graphics are functional, sometimes hilarious, often blunt and in your face. If you skip the drawings you’re left with a 20-minute read. Sorry, that’s not enough to dig into a single theological question, have a serious conversation, and refrain from jumping to conclusions. Pemberton frequently states that he studies level A Theology in the Roman Catholic Church. I miss references, quotes from the Bible, any reflection or comparison. To equate Roman Catholicism with religion, in general, is stupid. The author only superficially clarifies his inspiration: “The views of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche are particular revelatory for me.”  Does that include Nietzsche’s perspective on Jesus Christ, Buddhism, and denouncing Judaism without becoming anti-Semitic? I can’t find that in the book.

Pemberton is drawn to Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitches, and Bart D. Ehrman, well-known atheists and authors seeking to deconstruct or strip institutional religion, Roman Catholicism in particular by taking a very narrow look at biblical sources and valuing bold statements over personal conversations. Their quest to get to terms with religion, however, takes many more pages. If I would apply the same advertising standard guidelines the author did on religion in his book, I would claim a refund being misled by the book cover. Hmm, that’s applicable for many self-help books 😉

About the author

Luke Pemberton suffered for most of his life from chronic emotional insecurity which led ultimately to depression and burnout in his forties, until he learned how to manage his problems and eventually overcome them. His experiences are chronicled in his first book How to Find the Way Out when in despair which includes a series of over 200 drawings depicting his emotional journey.

I received a free review copy from the publisher Silverwood Books through Netgalley in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.