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In today's world of unending global conflict, the most fundamental religious differences can lead to cataclysmic consequences. But do the world's faiths offer any similarities worth embracing? In this highly entertaining, brilliant book -- part travelogue, part comparative religious and cultural history -- Kriwaczek masterfully limns the weighty impact felt on contemporary Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by the teachings of Zarathustra, the ancient prophet of Zoroastrianism.
Kriwaczek brings a vibrant currency and vitality to subject matter that might have been leaden in less dexterous hands, inviting readers along on a fascinating journey of religious exploration and a deeper understanding of conflicts old and new. His subject, the prophet Zarathustra, first began teaching circa 1200 B.C., grounding his followers in the belief that the "world is a battleground between good and evil." But this fundamental ideology serves as the basis for all monotheistic faiths; in fact, it is common in the war cries of leaders on both sides of current conflicts as each seeks to rid the world of the "unjust."
In his final analysis, Kriwaczek is convinced that the underestimation of the power of religious conviction is a more formidable danger than any weapon; and that a thorough exploration of belief systems -- as well as their hidden underpinnings -- is a necessity whose price can never be too high. (Spring 2003 Selection)