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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—i.

Dispatches: In God's Name

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. That idea, ignored for many of the intervening centuries, remains the simplest definition of Abrahamic faith.

Skillet's John Cooper: What in God's Name is Happening in Christianity? | Todd Starnes

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. He is a frequent and respected contributor to radio, television, and the press around the world and teaches at universities in Britain,… More about Jonathan Sacks.

His reading of the Hebrew Bible is astute, illuminating layers of meaning too often missed. Sacks is a clear-eyed and compelling illuminator, and his methodical deconstruction, which routs out flawed understandings of the Bible, drives us emphatically toward hope, toward a theology that lets go of hate.

He is careful to document that wars of religion are not unique to Islam. He believes that to persuade religious people of the Abrahamic faiths, arguments against religious violence must be rooted in theology, not in secular ideas alone.

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Dionne Jr. The book is a wondrous and valuable probe of our current world of violence that invites us to rethink and rehear the founding texts that are invoked to fund crusades. It points authoritatively toward an alternative practice of public life grounded in a common humanity that subverts all tribal temptations. Wise and important.

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His brilliance as a theologian radiates. Africa's new rulers nationalised the Christian mission schools that had taught them.


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In retrospect, the turning point came long before Osama bin Laden declared his jihad on Jews and Crusaders. For Timothy Shah, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York who is writing a book on secularism, the symbolic turning point was the six-day war of In the same year a Hindu nationalist party won 9.

By the end of the s this counter-revolution was in full swing. America had elected its first proudly born-again Christian, Jimmy Carter; Jerry Falwell had founded the Moral Majority; Iran had replaced the worldly shah with Ayatollah Khomeini; Zia ul Haq was busy Islamising Pakistan; Buddhism had been formally granted the foremost place in Sri Lanka's constitution; and an anti-communist Pole had become head of the Catholic church. What caused this shift? Believers inevitably see a populist revolt against the overreach of elitist secularism—be it America's Supreme Court legalising pornography or Indira Gandhi harrying Hindus.

By then, the Soviet Union's evils had made a mockery of Marxism, and capitalism had also hit some buffers the oil shocks, hyperinflation.


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More generally, politicians' ability to solve problems such as crime or unemployment was questioned: faith in government tumbled just about everywhere in the s—and has stayed low since. But why has religion's power seemed to keep on increasing? The first reason is a series of reactions and counter-reactions.


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Fundamentalist Islam, for instance, has helped spur radical Judaism and Hinduism, which in turn have reinforced the mullahs' fervour. Hamas owes much to Israel's settlers. Without Falwell, Messrs Hitchens and Dawkins would have smaller royalties. Second, the latest form of modernity—globalisation—has propelled religion forward. For traditionalists, faith has acted as a barrier against change. For prosperous suburbanites, faith has become something of a lifestyle coach. Whatever the exact cause, two groups of people in particular have struggled to come to terms with this new world.

The first is politicians, especially practitioners of foreign policy. Realpolitik does not easily cope with the irrational. Mr Kissinger is not alone. The Economist was so confident of the Almighty's demise that we published His obituary in our millennium issue. September 11th has changed that. But mistakes are still made. When America went into Iraq, people worried about George Bush's God-directed foreign policy; in fact it would have helped if Donald Rumsfeld et al had understood more about religion—especially the difference between Shias and Sunnis.

The other group struggling to deal with religion's role in public life are liberals. When religious belief is plainly unreasonable—for instance, when schools teach creationism—it is easy to fight. But in many disputes there are liberal answers on both sides. Those who are embracing religion nowadays are doing so out of choice.

Is it liberal to stop a British Airways worker from wearing a crucifix? Whose rights are being infringed when a majority of people on a Turkish bus ask the driver to stop so they can pray?

In God's name

A schism in Western liberalism that dates back to its two founding revolutions seems to have reopened. By contrast, America's Founding Fathers, used to many competing faiths, took a more benign view. They divided church from state not least to protect the former from the latter. This special report is an attempt to tease out these conflicts. It comes with three health warnings. First, many numbers in religion are dodgy: most churches inflate their support and many governments do not record religion in their censuses in Nigeria the best source is health records.

Second, in a field where many believers claim to know all the answers, it poses mainly questions. And lastly, given the emotion the subject arouses, the chances are that some of what follows will offend you. Join them. Subscribe to The Economist today. For as long as anyone can remember, the founder and CEO known in some circles as "God" has been phoning it in. Lately, he's been spending most of his time on the golf course.

And when he does show up at work, it's not to resolve wars or end famines, but to Google himself and read what humans have been blogging about him. When God decides to retire to pursue his lifelong dream of opening an Asian Fusion restaurant , he also decides to destroy Earth. His employees take the news in stride, except for Craig and Eliza, two underpaid angels in the lowly Department of Miracles. Unlike their boss, Craig and Eliza love their jobs - uncapping city fire hydrants on hot days, revealing lost keys in snow banks - and they refuse to accept that earth is going under.

The angels manage to strike a deal with their boss. He'll call off his Armageddon, if they can solve their toughest miracle yet: getting the two most socially awkward humans on the planet to fall in love. With doomsday fast approaching, and the humans ignoring every chance for happiness thrown their way, Craig and Eliza must move heaven and earth to rescue them - and the rest of us, too. Product Details About the Author.

About the Author. Simon Rich "is still the freshest, funniest new writer today," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. His first novel, Elliot Allagash , was optioned for a film by Jason Reitman. Rich lives in Brooklyn.

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Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. Elliot Allagash. Simon Rich dazzled readers with his absurdist sense of humor in his hilarious collections Ant Simon Rich dazzled readers with his absurdist sense of humor in his hilarious collections Ant Farm and Free-Range Chickens. View Product.