The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs: Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth: Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs is a passionate yet analytical critique of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural fundamentalists. Schimmel examines the ways in which otherwise intelligent and bright Jews, Christians, and Muslims defend their belief in the divine authorship of the Bible or of the Koran, and other religious beliefs derived from those claims, against overwhelming evidence and argument to the contrary from science, scholarship, common sense, and rational analysis. He also examines the ...
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The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs: Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth: Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth

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Overview

The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs is a passionate yet analytical critique of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural fundamentalists. Schimmel examines the ways in which otherwise intelligent and bright Jews, Christians, and Muslims defend their belief in the divine authorship of the Bible or of the Koran, and other religious beliefs derived from those claims, against overwhelming evidence and argument to the contrary from science, scholarship, common sense, and rational analysis. He also examines the motives, fears, and anxieties of scriptural fundamentalists that induce them to cling so tenaciously to their unreasonable beliefs.

Schimmel begins with reflections on his own journey from commitment to Orthodox Judaism, through doubts about its theological dogmas and doctrines, to eventual denial of their truth. He follows this with an examination of theological and philosophical debates about the proper relationships between faith, reason, and revelation. Schimmel then devotes separate chapters to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural fundamentalism, noting their similarities and differences. He analyzes in depth the psychological and social reasons why people acquire, maintain, and protect unreasonable religious beliefs, and how they do so. Schimmel also discusses unethical and immoral consequences of scriptural fundamentalism, such as gender inequality, homophobia, lack of intellectual honesty, self-righteousness, intolerance, propagation of falsehood, and in some instances, the advocacy of violence and terrorism. He concludes with a discussion of why, when, and where it is appropriate to critique, challenge, and combat scriptural fundamentalists. The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs is thoughtful and provocative, written to encourage self-reflection and self-criticism, and to stimulate and to enlighten all who are interested in the psychology of religion and in religious fundamentalism.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Many books have appeared recently on religious fundamentalism, with most of them focusing on Islam. Schimmel (Jewish education & psychology, Hebrew Coll.) here deals with fundamentalism as found in all three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The author was raised as an Orthodox Jew and later came to reject its rigid and dogmatic components, finding them to be unreasonable. As a psychologist, he turns his attention to those who continue to affirm religious fundamentalism, even as abundant evidence indicates many of its tenets are incorrect. Schimmel devotes a chapter to fundamentalism as expressed in each of the three religions, and he then addresses the reasons why adherents seem to hold to their views so strenuously, even as reason and evidence would seem to invalidate them. He considers fear to be the core basis for their resistance to letting go of their beliefs. This is a well-researched and thoughtfully presented book; however, it would have been better if the author had included some studies and surveys from the social sciences and psychology of religion that addressed attitudes and perceptions of religious fundamentalists.
—John Jaeger

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199720026
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/18/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 622 KB

Meet the Author



Solomon Schimmel is Professor of Jewish Education and Psychology at Hebrew College. He is the author of The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology and Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Why this book? : autobiographical reflections 3

Ch. 2 Faith, revelation, and reason 17

Ch. 3 Jewish Biblical fundamentalism 39

Ch. 4 Christian Biblical fundamentalism 101

Ch. 5 Muslim Koranic fundamentalism 135

Ch. 6 Acquiring and protecting unreasonable beliefs 167

Ch. 7 On "defundamentalizing" fundamentalists 221

Notes 229

Bibliography 263

Index 275

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