Not in God's Name

Not in God's Name

Confronting Religious Violence

eBook - 2015
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In this groundbreaking work of biblical analysis and interpretation, one of the most admired religious leaders of our time shows that religiously inspired violence has as its source misreadings of the texts of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Koran. 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"--violence between peoples of different beliefs is the only natural outcome, argues Rabbi Sacks. But by looking anew at seminal biblical texts in the Book of Genesis--in which we find the foundational stories of all three Abrahamic faiths--Rabbi Sacks offers an entirely different understanding of God's multiple relationships: with Jacob, patriarch of Judaism; with Ishmael, patriarch of Islam; and with Esau, whose blessing is understood to confirm God's relationship with monotheists from other faiths and overarching relationship with all of humanity. By analyzing the texts that recount how Abraham's immediate descendants resolved their various sibling rivalries, Rabbi Sacks teaches us a powerful lesson in the existence of multiple pathways to God. "We are not all the same," he declares. "There is no one faith that encompasses the plenary truth of human wisdom . . . The belief that one faith--ours--holds the key to salvation deserves to be challenged, not just because it has led to so much persecution and bloodshed in the name of God, but because it attempts to confine God to one religion, one way, one image of mankind. God cannot be so confined and remain the God of transcendence, the God-without-an-image who systematically defies our attempts to capture Him in categories of human understanding . . . Making space for that which is other than myself is not a doctrine of religious relativism. It is, rather, the humility that says there are things I will not, cannot, understand and that I must leave to God." Rabbi Sacks's bold statement of our need to look with new eyes at specific scriptural passages from within each of the Abrahamic monotheisms--passages that, when interpreted literally, can lead to hatred, violence, and war--is an eloquent, clarion call for people of goodwill from all faiths to join together to end the misunderstandings that threaten to destroy us all.
Publisher: [New York, New York] : Schocken, [2015]
ISBN: 9780805243352
0805243356
Branch Call Number: Overdrive eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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RCA48
Feb 16, 2016

A profound work. I cannot recommend it more highly. I found the second part, "Siblings," especially valuable. In it Sacks leads the reader through a careful reading of the four stories of sibling rivalry in the book of Genesis: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and his brothers. He shows the deep relevance of these stories for overcoming conflict today. -- Important in this regard is the opening statement to the chapter, "Hard Texts": "Never say I hate, I kill, because my religion says so. Every text needs interpretation. Every interpretation needs wisdom. Every wisdom needs careful negotiation between the timeless and time."

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