Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the 21st 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 toward 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 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.
©2016 Jonathan Sacks (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book - an apologetics based dissertation I think. But although it could be read as such, it is a much deeper, historic and educational document covering so many aspects (factual and perception) of the Abrahamic faiths, that are of interest to anyone who is a believer of those 3 faiths as well as Atheists, Agnostics and New Agers!
I have listened to it in its entirety 1 ½ times. I intend to listen to it again, and I'm minded to purchase the Kindle edition, because there are SO MANY quotable quotes, that are on point and worthy of repeating.
This is a very current edition, up to 2015, so it's very relevant to today's events. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Everyone should hear it.
Jonathan Sacks has a marvellous voice. Loved it on the radio, said I could listen for hours. Now I have. He is a man of broad learning and on matters ecumenical he is always intelligent, considered and persuasive.
This analysis of the causes of violence executed "in the name of God", as well as in pursuit of a pseudo-religious ideology is convincing, wide-ranging, and sometimes surprising.
Unfortunately this book will not be read by fundamentalists of any stripe, and militant atheists will continue to regard people of faith as culpable of every atrocity in history (including those of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao, maybe even Attila the Hun and Nero) on the basis of a disingenuous reading of the Bible.
Sacks makes a sound case for human diversity, for the wisdom of avoiding hatred of former oppressors (Moses tells the Israelites not to bear rancour against Egyptians), and rejecting hatred, which destroys the hater more than the hated. He draws on 3000 years of history, psychology, ethnology, philosophy, writings from Jewish, Christian and Islamic sources, recent events, to inform where things went wrong, are still going wrong and point out that all these horrors are human failures, for which God weeps.
This is an excellent book that provides us with a thoughtful insight into the relationships of the Abrahamic faiths, where it all started and how we are affected today by the decisions and consequences of those in the book of Genesis. Jonathan Sachs challenges our preconceived ideas and brings to our attention how we might respond better to our brothers and sisters in the world today.
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