Thursday, November 26, 2015

Religion and Violence

I have found this an incredibly useful book. No easy answers but lots of excellent analysis and insightful stories and illustrations.

The central section revisits some of the Genesis family narratives with great gentleness and scholarship. What did the compilers of the stories of Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel and Joseph and his brothers think they were doing? And have we, in going down the road of the scandal of particularity where God apparently chooses one over another, missed the point that always both parties get a blessing. And apart from the first example, where one party dies, they do not become enemies.

Wisdom usually whispers. The hard work of interpretation is to be preferred over the fundamentalist desire that religious texts be simple and taken at face value.

Islam, Judaism and Christianity have a common ancestor in Abraham - our future peace may well come from looking at these texts together and seeing what we have missed.

'When religion divests itself of power, it is freed from the burden of rearranging the deckchairs on the ship of state and returns to its real task: changing lives.'

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