When Religion Becomes Evil: Five Warning Signs

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$11.10
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (80) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $45.00   
  • Used (79) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$45.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(181)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by

Overview

Top Religion Book of 2002—Publishers Weekly

The Five Warning Signs of Corruption in Religion

  1. Absolute Truth Claims
  2. Blind Obedience
  3. Establishing the "Ideal" Time
  4. The End Justifies Any Means
  5. Declaring Holy War
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Arthur Hertzberg
“Charles Kimball has uttered a cry that resonates like ‘a fire bell in the night.’ ”
Wayne Holst
“Well-reasoned and focused.”
Cecile S. Holmes
“[A] thought-provoking analysis.”
Rev. Ken Sehested
“Effectively confronts, analyzes and explores the maddeningly diffuse forms of religious impulse...”
Mike Smith
“[R]eadable, well researched, well written and compelling.”
Clifton Kirkpatrick
“I cannot imagine a more timely or insightful book for the time in whichwe live.”
Bill J. Leonard
“Dr. Kimball writes insightfully and prophetically... The book will inform and stimulate...”
John L. Esposito
“Required reading for all who would understand the age in which we live.”
Hardy Clemons
“There are few people as uniquely equipped to speak to our need for understanding world religions and faith.”
Kenneth Cracknell
“Exactly the book that is needed right now.....Clear, passionate, and full of wisdom...”
Carl W. Ernst
“A powerful and even-handed moral analysis of the abuses that are found in all major religious traditions.”
John Berthrong
“A great deal of insight ....”
Robert Neralich
“As long as there are writers as relentlessly honest as Kimball, there will always be ground for hope...”
Walter Harrelson
“A wise, perceptive, and fair assessment ... Just the book for today’s and tomorrow’s journey of faith.”
Diana L. Eck
“A bold, powerful, truth-telling analysis of the ways in which religions can become destructive.”
Chicago Tribune
“Kimball is well suited to his task, writing with a perspective forged in experience.”
Fellowship Magazine
“[T]imely and persuasive . . . . deserves to be widely read.”
Baptists Today
“Kimball...displays a fair hand in assessing how the world’s leading religions can be used for both good and evil.”
Publishers Weekly
By now it's commonplace to remark that more violence than good has been committed in the name of religion. The terrorist attacks of September 11 and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian strife confirm this age-old aphorism. Wake Forest religion professor Kimball has made something of a career out of speaking about the ways in which religion becomes evil. Every religion has the capacity to work either for good or evil, and he contends that there are five warning signs that we can recognize when religion moves toward the latter. Whenever a religion emphasizes that it holds the absolute truth-the one path to God or the only correct way of reading a sacred text-to the exclusion of the truth claims of all other religions and cultures, that religion is becoming evil. Other warning signs include blind obedience to religious leaders, apocalyptic belief that the end time will occur through a particular religion, the use of malevolent ends to achieve religious goals (e.g., the Crusades) and the declaration of holy war. Kimball focuses primarily on the three major Western monotheistic religions, although his examples also include new religious movements such as the People's Temple, Aum Shinrikyo and the Branch Davidians. Religion can resist becoming evil by practicing an inclusiveness that allows each tradition to retain its distinctiveness while it works for the common good. Kimball's clear and steady voice provides a helpful guide for those trying to understand why evil is perpetrated in the name of religion. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Reverend - Ken Sehested
"Effectively confronts, analyzes and explores the maddeningly diffuse forms of religious impulse..."
Mike Smith
“[R]eadable, well researched, well written and compelling.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060556105
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/14/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Kimball is a professor of comparative religion at Wake Forest University. An ordained Baptist minister who received his doctorate from Harvard University in comparative religion with specialization in Islamic studies, Dr. Kimball is the author of three books about religion in the Middle East.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

When Religion Becomes Evil

Five Warning Signs
By Charles Kimball

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Charles Kimball All right reserved. ISBN: 0060556102

Chapter One

Is Religion the Problem?

Religion is a central feature of human life. We all see many indications of it every day, and we all know it when we see it. But religion is surprisingly difficult to define adequately. To illustrate the complex, multidimensional nature of religion, I sometimes present students in my Introduction to Religion course with the following assignment on the first day of class: "Take the next few minutes and write a brief definition for religion." What happens next is predictable. After excitedly removing paper from a backpack or notebook and placing pen in hand, the confident facial expressions begin to give way to awkward puzzlement. Some smile nervously; many avoid eye contact. Clearly, these bright students know what religion is. Many seem to be embarrassed by their inability to articulate a cogent definition.

The Problem of Definitions and the Limits of Our Perspectives

The problem of defining religion is a good point of departure for this book as well. The word religion evokes a wide variety of images, ideas, practices, beliefs, and experiences - some positive and some negative. Putting these disparate elements into a coherent frame ofreference is no small task. It takes some effort. It forces us to step back and reflect on our presuppositions. Most people, for instance, assume that religion involves human thinking about or engagement with God, gods, or some less personal understanding of ultimate reality. They might well envision individual or communal responses to the transcendent, such as prayer, worship services, rituals, moral codes, and so on. Some people naturally think immediately of the life and teachings of Jesus or the Buddha when they think of religion; others might picture the pope or Billy Graham or Mother Teresa in their mind's eye. To complicate the picture further, personal experiences factor in as well. An individual may think of her confirmation or his bar mitzvah. If she or he has had some negative personal history with "organized" religion, then that, too, will surely figure prominently into the presuppositions.

The word religion also conjures up images of destructive or even cruel behavior. Assumptions about religion now include violent actions rooted in intolerance or abuse of power. During the year following the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, Americans were inundated with media images of Islamic suicide bombers, Hindu fanatics attacking Muslims (and vice versa) in Northern India, and Christian clergy being arrested and escorted to jail on charges of criminal sexual misconduct.

Many of our current associations with religion are changing, in part because our vantage point is significantly different from that of the generations before us. Although the world has always been religiously diverse, we have a much more conscious awareness of religious pluralism today. Unlike a nineteenth-century Christian living in Europe or the United States, who may only have heard or read about people called Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists, a twenty-first-century Western Christian experiences their presence through social interaction and television images that pour in daily. Put another way, Rudyard Kipling's famous line "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet" may have made sense in the nineteenth century but not today. North and South have joined East and West in a system of globalization Kipling could not have imagined.

Whether or not we have wrestled consciously with issues of particularity and pluralism, at some level we are aware that religion is a complex component of human life. We know that religion encompasses much more than our own particular tradition or personal experience. Like the students in Religion 101, most of us have many ideas and images about religion. Some come from experience; some come from personal observation or media images; some ideas have been passed on culturally in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Putting the diverse elements into a broader framework for understanding, however, turns out to be more challenging than most people expect. Many of us don't make a concerted effort until we feel the need to do so. Frequently, we operate instead with a kind of "detailed ignorance" about religion.

The field of economics provides a good analogy for our understanding of religion and its role in the world. Many of us know a fair bit about economic realities. We invest enough time and energy, hopefully, to avoid making poor economic decisions about homes, investments, and retirement plans. Few of us have PhDs in economics, however. Few of us are able to make sense of the daily onslaught of economic numbers and at the same time place those in a larger, global, economic context. When something destabilizing occurs, it may force us to look again at how we have allocated our retirement funds or whether it is wise to buy a new house or car in a volatile market. Uncertainty exposes the gaps in our understanding, and so we tend to pay more attention, to ask more questions, to think more broadly about the economic realm and how it affects us personally. We may not become experts, but many of us will certainly make a concerted effort to learn enough about the details and the bigger picture so we don't make costly decisions unwittingly.

World events at the outset of the new millennium provide an impetus to take a step back and think more broadly about religion and the turbulent forces connected with religion in our world.

Regardless of one's personal views about religion, the comparative study of religion offers an effective way to tackle the problem of detailed ignorance.

Help From the Comparative Study of Religion

A common method for understanding world religions involves a fair-minded, descriptive approach. Gathering data and organizing the facts about a particular religion is a reasonable place to start. We witnessed this in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Journalists, religious and political leaders, and many non-Muslim citizens were anxious to understand what was going on and why. Although Islam is a global religion and Muslim activists and countries have appeared often in the news for several decades, many people discovered how little they actually knew about the world's second largest religion.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball
Copyright © 2003 by Charles Kimball
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition     v
Introduction     1
Is Religion the Problem?     15
Absolute Truth Claims     49
Blind Obedience     81
Establishing the "Ideal" Time     110
The End Justifies Any Means     137
Declaring Holy War     166
An Inclusive Faith Rooted in a Tradition     199
Acknowledgments     229
Glossary of Key Terms     233
Notes     245
Selected Bibliography     267
Index     269
Plus     281
Afterword     282
Reader's Guide     290
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One

Is Religion the Problem?

Religion is a central feature of human life. We all see many indications of it every day, and we all know it when we see it. But religion is surprisingly difficult to define adequately. To illustrate the complex, multidimensional nature of religion, I sometimes present students in my Introduction to Religion course with the following assignment on the first day of class: "Take the next few minutes and write a brief definition for religion." What happens next is predictable. After excitedly removing paper from a backpack or notebook and placing pen in hand, the confident facial expressions begin to give way to awkward puzzlement. Some smile nervously; many avoid eye contact. Clearly, these bright students know what religion is. Many seem to be embarrassed by their inability to articulate a cogent definition.

The Problem of Definitions and the Limits of Our Perspectives

The problem of defining religion is a good point of departure for this book as well. The word religion evokes a wide variety of images, ideas, practices, beliefs, and experiences -- some positive and some negative. Putting these disparate elements into a coherent frame of reference is no small task. It takes some effort. It forces us to step back and reflect on our presuppositions. Most people, for instance, assume that religion involves human thinking about or engagement with God, gods, or some less personal understanding of ultimate reality. They might well envision individual or communal responses to the transcendent, such as prayer, worship services, rituals, moral codes, and so on. Some people naturally think immediately of the life and teachings of Jesus or the Buddha when they think of religion; others might picture the pope or Billy Graham or Mother Teresa in their mind's eye. To complicate the picture further, personal experiences factor in as well. An individual may think of her confirmation or his bar mitzvah. If she or he has had some negative personal history with "organized" religion, then that, too, will surely figure prominently into the presuppositions.

The word religion also conjures up images of destructive or even cruel behavior. Assumptions about religion now include violent actions rooted in intolerance or abuse of power. During the year following the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, Americans were inundated with media images of Islamic suicide bombers, Hindu fanatics attacking Muslims (and vice versa) in Northern India, and Christian clergy being arrested and escorted to jail on charges of criminal sexual misconduct.

Many of our current associations with religion are changing, in part because our vantage point is significantly different from that of the generations before us. Although the world has always been religiously diverse, we have a much more conscious awareness of religious pluralism today. Unlike a nineteenth-century Christian living in Europe or the United States, who may only have heard or read about people called Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists, a twenty-first-century Western Christian experiences their presence through social interaction and television images that pour in daily. Put another way, Rudyard Kipling's famous line "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet" may have made sense in the nineteenth century but not today. North and South have joined East and West in a system of globalization Kipling could not have imagined.

Whether or not we have wrestled consciously with issues of particularity and pluralism, at some level we are aware that religion is a complex component of human life. We know that religion encompasses much more than our own particular tradition or personal experience. Like the students in Religion 101, most of us have many ideas and images about religion. Some come from experience; some come from personal observation or media images; some ideas have been passed on culturally in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Putting the diverse elements into a broader framework for understanding, however, turns out to be more challenging than most people expect. Many of us don't make a concerted effort until we feel the need to do so. Frequently, we operate instead with a kind of "detailed ignorance" about religion.

The field of economics provides a good analogy for our understanding of religion and its role in the world. Many of us know a fair bit about economic realities. We invest enough time and energy, hopefully, to avoid making poor economic decisions about homes, investments, and retirement plans. Few of us have PhDs in economics, however. Few of us are able to make sense of the daily onslaught of economic numbers and at the same time place those in a larger, global, economic context. When something destabilizing occurs, it may force us to look again at how we have allocated our retirement funds or whether it is wise to buy a new house or car in a volatile market. Uncertainty exposes the gaps in our understanding, and so we tend to pay more attention, to ask more questions, to think more broadly about the economic realm and how it affects us personally. We may not become experts, but many of us will certainly make a concerted effort to learn enough about the details and the bigger picture so we don't make costly decisions unwittingly.

World events at the outset of the new millennium provide an impetus to take a step back and think more broadly about religion and the turbulent forces connected with religion in our world.

Regardless of one's personal views about religion, the comparative study of religion offers an effective way to tackle the problem of detailed ignorance.

Help From the Comparative Study of Religion

A common method for understanding world religions involves a fair-minded, descriptive approach. Gathering data and organizing the facts about a particular religion is a reasonable place to start. We witnessed this in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Journalists, religious and political leaders, and many non-Muslim citizens were anxious to understand what was going on and why. Although Islam is a global religion and Muslim activists and countries have appeared often in the news for several decades, many people discovered how little they actually knew about the world's second largest religion.

When Religion Becomes Evil. Copyright © by Charles Kimball. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    I read this book after listening to an interview on the Charley Rose show. It was written prior to 9/11 and if you read the book, you will understand that it was written from decades of observation of man's justification to use God as an excuse to wage holy wars, physically, militarily or politically. Having had direct international experience for almost 20 years, I know that cultural and religious differences are often misunderstandings. This book profiles those and actually groups the various stages of religious conflict. If you are open minded, you will glean many important points to investigate, understand and reflect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2006

    Hypocracy

    The author uses selected historical events to stress the point that it is not the religiuos theolgoy that is in error. He blames the adherents, suggesting tht a change of attitude might be of value. However, this begs the question the adherents are the product of their respective religion, a point he does not make. There is a evident bias. He negates theoringin of the first two commandments anad credits christianity with having offered this hope to humanity. Finally, his list should include missionary imperialism, the most onerous of all as an example in support of the five metioned by the author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2006

    Politically and Theologically Correct

    Although the author indicates five very valid indicators of cult-like hateful behavior, his analysis of Islam is more of the apologist rhetoric one expects from other Western academics and the current administration.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    Mr. Kimball has touched the right buttons of reality in the human mind.

    Mr. Kimball has touched the right buttons of reality in the human mind. I hope he will continue with this awesome path to the clear understanding of human perception.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2004

    Excellent...You wont regret reading this!!!

    This is for anyone who is curious why religion has such a bad name. He is not bashing religion neither is he praising it. He gives you the info step by step. A definite read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)