In this powerful and timely book, one of the most admired and authoritative religious leaders of our time tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God. 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.e., my religion is the only right path to God, therefore your religion is by definition wrong—and when individuals are motivated by what Rabbi Sacks calls “altruistic evil,” violence between peoples of different beliefs appears to be the inevitable outcome. 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. By looking anew at the book of Genesis, with its foundational stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Rabbi Sacks offers a radical rereading of many of the Bible’s seminal stories of sibling rivalry: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Rachel and Leah.
Here is an eloquent call for people of goodwill from all faiths and none to stand together, confront the religious extremism that threatens to destroy us all, and declare: Not in God’s Name.
RABBI LORD JONATHAN SACKS is the award-winning author of more than thirty books. He is a frequent and respected contributor to radio, television, and the press around the world and teaches at universities in Britain, the United States, and Israel. Rabbi Sacks holds sixteen honorary degrees and has received many awards in recognition of his work, including the Jerusalem Prize and, in 2016, the Templeton Prize. He served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.
Read an Excerpt
When religion turns men into murderers, God weeps. (Continues…)
I: Bad Faith 1. Altruistic Evil 3 2. Violence and Identity 27 3. Dualism 44 4. The Scapegoat 66 5. Sibling Rivalry 87
II: Siblings 6. The Half-Brothers 107 7. Wrestling with the Angel 125 8. Role Reversal 144 9. The Rejection of Rejection 161
III: The Open Heart 10. The Stranger 177 11. The Universality of Justice, the Particularity of Love 189 12. Hard Texts 207 13. Relinquishing Power 220 14. Letting Go of Hate 238 15. The Will to Power or the Will to Life 252
Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. I was initially surprised at the extensive analysis of stories from the Hebrew Bible. But it all came together with the author's sensitivity and compassion. Well written.
More than 1 year ago
Amazing book. Just amazing. This book is absolutely worth reading. Rabbi Sacks is a model of what a religious leader should be... a seeker of truth rather than a purveyor of dogma. It is very insightful, original, and useful biblical commentary. This alone is worth the price of the book. This is probably the best book I read since Author R.A. Clark's book, When God Stopped Keeping Score, which takes a surprisingly moving look at the power of God and forgiveness.
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