I love books and the ways they can inform and teach and enlarge our sensibilities. Here’s a book that I’ve enjoyed reading that I pass along for your consideration with a bit about what I found to be worthwhile:
Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (Schrocken Books, 2015)
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes an insightful and timely book about the ways in which religion has been used as a rational for violence. Speaking as Jew, Sacks invites Jews, Christians and Muslims to reconsider their common origin as children of Abraham. He shows that violence carried out in the name of God is based on a misleading reading of the foundational stores from the Book of Genesis that all three of these world religions call scripture. The stories of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac tell us a great deal about who we are and what we have in common.
“Abraham himself, writes Rabbi Sacks, “sought to be a blessing to other 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 religiousness but idolatry. To invoke God is to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but sacrilege.”
And ”At the core of the Bible’s value system is that cultures, like individual, are judged by their willingness to extend care beyond the boundary of family, tribe, ethnicity and nation.” The authors calls the people of each of these three world religion to re-examine the practices of their faith and stand together to confront religious extremism that condones violence, and declare: “Not in God’s Name.”
Grace and peace, Pastor Steve