Author: Jonathan Sacks
Publisher: Schocken Books Incorporated
Release Date: 2017-02-07
In this groundbreaking work of biblical analysis and interpretation, one of the most admired religious leaders of our time shows that religiously inspired violence has as its source misreadings of the texts of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Koran. When religion becomes a zero-sum conceit--i.e., my religion is the only "right" path to God, therefore your religion is by definition "wrong"--Violence between peoples of different beliefs is the only natural outcome, argues Rabbi Sacks. But by looking anew at seminal biblical texts in the Book of Genesis--in which we find the foundational stories of all three Abrahamic faiths--Rabbi Sacks offers an entirely different understanding of God's multiple relationships: with Jacob, patriarch of Judaism; with Ishmael, patriarch of Islam; and with Esau, whose blessing is understood to confirm God's relationship with monotheists from other faiths and overarching relationship with all of humanity. By analyzing the texts that recount how Abraham's immediate descendants resolved their various sibling rivalries, Rabbi Sacks teaches us a powerful lesson in the existence of multiple pathways to God. "We are not all the same," he declares. "There is no one faith that encompasses the plenary truth of human wisdom ... The belief that one faith--ours--holds the key to salvation deserves to be challenged, not just because it has led to so much persecution and bloodshed in the name of God, but because it attempts to confine God to one religion, one way, one image of mankind. God cannot be so confined and remain the God of transcendence, the God-without-an-image who systematically defies our attempts to capture Him in categories of human understanding ... Making space for that which is other than myself is not a doctrine of religious relativism. It is, rather, the humility that says there are things I will not, cannot, understand and that I must leave to God." Rabbi Sacks's bold statement of our need to look with new eyes at specific scriptural passages from within each of the Abrahamic monotheisms--passages that, when interpreted literally, can lead to hatred, violence, and war--is an eloquent, clarion call for people of goodwill from all faiths to join together to end the misunderstandings that threaten to destroy us all.--Publisher description.
***2015 National Jewish Book Award Winner*** In this powerful and timely book, one of the most admired and authoritative religious leaders of our time tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God. If religion is perceived as being part of the problem, Rabbi Sacks argues, then it must also form part of the solution. When religion becomes a zero-sum conceit—that is, my religion is the only right path to God, therefore your religion is by definition wrong—and individuals are motivated by what Rabbi Sacks calls “altruistic evil,” violence between peoples of different beliefs appears to be the only natural outcome. But through an exploration of the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, and employing groundbreaking biblical analysis and interpretation, Rabbi Sacks shows that religiously inspired violence has as its source misreadings of biblical texts at the heart of all three Abrahamic faiths. By looking anew at the book of Genesis, with its foundational stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Rabbi Sacks offers a radical rereading of many of the Bible’s seminal stories of sibling rivalry: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Rachel and Leah. “Abraham himself,” writes Rabbi Sacks, “sought to be a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That idea, ignored for many of the intervening centuries, remains the simplest definition of Abrahamic faith. It is not our task to conquer or convert the world or enforce uniformity of belief. It is our task to be a blessing to the world. The use of religion for political ends is not righteousness but idolatry . . . To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege.” Here is an eloquent call for people of goodwill from all faiths and none to stand together, confront the religious extremism that threatens to destroy us, and declare: Not in God’s Name. From the Hardcover edition.
Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God. In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem. This book is a rebuke to all those who kill in the name of the God of life, wage war in the name of the God of peace, hate in the name of the God of love, and practise cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. For the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare: Not In God's Name.
A renowned author and rabbi discusses the relationship between science and religion and the importance of the coexistence of both in that religion is the search for meaning and science is the search for explanation. 20,000 first printing.
2001 began as the United Nations Year of Dialogue between Civilizations. By its end, the phrase most widely quoted was 'the clash of civilizations'. The tragedy of 11 September intensified the danger posed by religious differences throughout the world. As the politics of identity replaces the politics of ideology, can religion overcome its conflict-ridden past and become a force for peace? The Dignity of Difference is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' radical proposal for reframing the terms of this important debate. The first major statement by a Jewish leader on the ethics of globalization, it introduces a new paradigm into the search for co-existence. Sacks argues that we must do more than search for common human values. We must also learn to make space for difference, even and especially at the heart of the monotheistic imagination. The global future will call for something stronger than earlier doctrines of toleration or pluralism. It needs a new understanding that the unity of the Creator is expressed in the diversity of creation.
Author: Sam Harris
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2015-10-06
In this dialogue between a famous atheist and a former radical, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz invite you to join an urgently needed conversation: Is Islam a religion of peace or war? Is it amenable to reform? Why do so many Muslims seem drawn to extremism? The authors demonstrate how two people with very different views can find common ground.
Author: Reza Aslan
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2010-04-06
“A very persuasive argument for the best way to counter jihadism” (The Washington Post) from the bestselling author of Zealot and host of CNN’s Believer The wars in the Middle East have become religious wars in which God is believed to be directly engaged on behalf of one side against the other. The hijackers who attacked America on September 11, 2001, thought they were fighting in the name of God. According to award-winning writer and scholar of religions Reza Aslan, the United States, by infusing the War on Terror with its own religiously polarizing rhetoric, is fighting a similar war—a war that can’t be won. Beyond Fundamentalism is both an in-depth study of the ideology fueling militants throughout the Muslim world and an exploration of religious violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At a time when religion and politics increasingly share the same vocabulary and function in the same sphere, Aslan writes that we must strip the conflicts of our world of their religious connotations and address the earthly grievances that always lie at its root. How do you win a religious war? By refusing to fight in one. Featuring new content and updated analysis • Originally published as How to Win a Cosmic War “[A] thoughtful analysis of America’s War on Terror.” —The New Yorker “Offers a very persuasive argument for the best way to counter jihadism.”—The Washington Post “[Reza] Aslan dissects a complex subject (terrorism and globalization) and distills it with a mix of narrative writing, personal anecdotes, reportage and historical analysis.”—San Francisco Chronicle “Aslan is not only a perspicuous, thoughtful interpreter of the Muslim world but also a subtle psychologist of the call to jihad.”—Los Angeles Times “[A] meaty analysis of the rise of Jihadism . . . dispels common misconceptions of the War on Terror age.”—San Jose Mercury News “It is Aslan’s great gift to see things clearly, and to say them clearly, and in this important new work he offers us a way forward. He is prescriptive and passionate, and his book will make you think.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion
For four years, Jessica Stern interviewed extremist members of three religions around the world: Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Traveling extensively—to refugee camps in Lebanon, to religious schools in Pakistan, to prisons in Amman, Asqelon, and Pensacola—she discovered that the Islamic jihadi in the mountains of Pakistan and the Christian fundamentalist bomber in Oklahoma have much in common. Based on her vast research, Stern lucidly explains how terrorist organizations are formed by opportunistic leaders who—using religion as both motivation and justification—recruit the disenfranchised. She depicts how moral fervor is transformed into sophisticated organizations that strive for money, power, and attention. Jessica Stern's extensive interaction with the faces behind the terror provide unprecedented insight into acts of inexplicable horror, and enable her to suggest how terrorism can most effectively be countered. A crucial book on terrorism, Terror in the Name of God is a brilliant and thought-provoking work.
Author: Stanley Hauerwas
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
Release Date: 1997-10-28
Narrative Theology is still with us, to the delight of some and to the chagrin of others. 'Why Narrative?Ó is in reprint because it represents what is still a very important question. This diverse collection of essays on narrative theology has proven very useful in university and seminary theology classes. It is also of great use as a primer for the educated layperson or church study group. Jones and Hauerwas have done an excellent job of selecting representative essays that deal with appeals to narrative in areas such as personal identity and human action, biblical hermeneutics, epistemology, and theological and ethical method.
Author: Mark Juergensmeyer
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Political Science
This well-regarded look at the connection between religion and terrorism has been updated to include events of September 11, 2001. Its focus is to better understand how and why some people are willing to commit acts of violence in the name of their god(s) and a greater good.
Author: Dean and Professor of Biblical Interpretation Richard A Burridge
Release Date: 2018-10
Sunni and Shia in Iran, Iraq, or Syria. Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Afrikaners and black churches in South Africa. The rising tide of anti-Semitism across Europe. Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land. The fear of immigrants and those who are different. The surge of nationalism. Violence, religious violence, violence done in the name of religion. Religious violence must be understood--its history, its relationship to sacred texts and communities, and its consequences. Religious violence must also be confronted. Another story must be told, a different story, a counternarrative other than the one which grips the world today. In Confronting Religious Violence, twelve international experts from a variety of theological, philosophical, and scientific fields address the issue of religious violence in today's world. The first part of the book focuses on the historical rise of religious conflict, beginning with whether the New Testament leads to supersessionism, and looks at the growth of anti-Semitism in the later Roman Empire. The second part comprises field-report studies of xenophobia, radicalism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia surrounding the conflicts in the Middle East. The third part reflects on moral, philosophical, legal, and evolutionary influences of religious freedom and how they harm or help the advancement of peace. The final part of the volume turns to theological reflections, discussing monotheism, nationalism, the perpetuation of violence, the role of mercy laws and freedom in combating hate, and practical approaches to dealing with pluralism in theological education. Edited by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Richard Burridge, Confronting Religious Violence contains insights from international experts that form essential reading for politicians, diplomats, business leaders, academics, theologians, church and faith leaders, commentators, and military strategists--anyone concerned with a harmonious future of human life together on this planet.
From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence. For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present. While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity’s Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith—not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism—in its totality over time. As she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, then the only real source of wealth. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred. In each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir. And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name. Industrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion. Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence—and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time. At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent, the dangers of action based on misunderstanding never greater. Informed by Armstrong’s sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem.
Author: Mark Juergensmeyer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2011-10-10
This groundbreaking anthology provides the most comprehensive overview for understanding the fascinating relationship between religion and violence--historically, culturally, and in the contemporary world. Bringing together writings from scholarly and religious traditions, it is the first volume to unite primary sources--justifications for violence from religious texts, theologians, and activists--with invaluable essays by authoritative scholars. The first half of the collection includes original source materials justifying violence from various religious perspectives: Hindu, Chinese, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist. Showing that religious violence is found in every tradition, these sources include ancient texts and scriptures along with thoughtful essays from theologians wrestling with such issues as military protection and pacifism. The collection also includes the writings of modern-day activists involved in suicide bombings, attacks on abortion clinics, and nerve gas assaults. The book's second half features well-known thinkers reflecting on why religion and violence are so intimately related and includes excerpts from early social theorists such as Durkheim, Marx, and Freud, as well as contemporary thinkers who view the issue of religious violence from literary, anthropological, postcolonial, and feminist perspectives. The editors' brief introductions to each essay provide important historical and conceptual contexts and relate the readings to one another. The diversity of selections and their accessible length make this volume ideal for both students and general readers.
Author: Jonathan Sacks
Publisher: Vintage Books
Release Date: 2001-01-23
Genre: Civil society
The argument of this book can be stated simply. Ther are two concepts of a free society, one liberal, the other libertarian. For the past fifty years the libertarian view has prevailed. Shared by politicians of the left and right, it maintains that a free society is ideally one in which individuals are free to pursue their own choices, both political and moral. The view has been tried and failed and has given rise to a social disorder more bleak than any within living memory. In 'The Politics of Hope' Jonathon Sacks proposes a new politics of responsibility in which families, neighborhoods, communities, voluntary organisations and religious groups have all part to play, a politics not of interest, but of involvement. How, he asks, as a society, do we move from the politics of despair to the politics of hope?