If one were seeking an ideal text to assign as required reading for first year religious studies students or better yet, first year seminary students, one would be hard pressed to find a more appropriate selection than T. M. Luhrmann’s How God Becomes Real. In this eminently accessible, thoroughly thought-provoking and enjoyable text, Luhrmann argues that the question of how faith is generated and maintained is too often treated by scholars as a settled one: people of faith do not entertain serious doubt as to the existence and presence of God. She believes this assumption is mistaken and has the effect of obscuring possibly the most important and perplexing feature of faith: how individuals experience and maintain a day-to-day relationship with an invisible other.

Luhrmann’s hypothesis is that in order “to have a sustained commitment to the reality of invisible agents, the deeply held feeling that gods and spirits...

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