SOURCE: Aldus Books

April 23, 2008 13:50 ET

Religion vs. Science: Publisher Announces Unusual Essay Contest

MENLO PARK, CA--(Marketwire - April 23, 2008) - Is the Bible true? Can one be a person of faith and not believe in the literal word of the Bible? Is religious fundamentalism a slippery slope, and a threat to personal freedom?

Religion plays a major role in this year's presidential election campaigns, and young people are registering to vote in unprecedented numbers. What are their thoughts, their concerns, about religion in society?

Publishing house Aldus Books is sponsoring an essay contest. Designed to stimulate intelligent discussion among college students in the United States about THE NATURE -- AND DANGER -- OF FUNDAMENTALISM, the contest is based on arguments raised in R. D. Gold's groundbreaking new book, "Bondage of the Mind: How Old Testament Fundamentalism Shackles the Mind and Enslaves the Spirit." There has been much talk in classrooms about the nature and role of religion, but little of it gives the floor to students themselves.

Gold's thesis is that the doctrines of Orthodox Judaism -- and, by extension, the doctrines of all religious fundamentalism -- are false. Therefore, it makes no sense for an individual to exchange much of his or her personal freedom for the straightjacket of enforced obedience to a strict religious law based on demonstrably false dogma.

The essay question is straightforward: Explain, in 1,500 to 2,000 words, why you agree or disagree with Gold's thesis.

From all the entries, the judges will select five Regional Winners. Of these, four will receive a prize of $1,000, and one, the National Winner, will receive a Grand Prize of $5,000.

Aldus Books aims to spark curiosity and debate, and to foster a deeper understanding of the sources of human conflict. To that end, ALDUS BOOKS WILL MAKE A MATCHING GRANT for every prize awarded, to the college, place of worship, or non-profit organization designated by the winning students. This means a matching grant of $1,000 for each of the four Regional Winners and of $5,000 for the National Grand Prize Winner.

Entries must be submitted no later than August 31, 2008. Students are asked to visit for official details.

For more information on the contest or to request a review copy of "Bondage of the Mind" -- please contact Zak Nelson at or 206-669- 6357.

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