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Not in God's Name

Confronting Religious Violence
Narrated by: Jonathan Sacks
Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2015 National Jewish Book Award Winner

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 - that is, my religion is the only right path to God, therefore your religion is by definition wrong - and individuals are motivated by what Rabbi Sacks calls "altruistic evil", violence between peoples of different beliefs appears to be the only natural 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.

"Abraham himself," writes Rabbi Sacks, "sought to be a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That idea, ignored for many of the intervening centuries, remains the simplest definition of Abrahamic faith. It is not our task to conquer or convert the world or enforce uniformity of belief. It is our task to be a blessing to the world. The use of religion for political ends is not righteousness but idolatry... To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege." 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, and declare: not in God's name.

©2015 Jonathan Sacks (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Sacks's sobering yet soul-stirring new book... [offers] an ingenious rereading of Genesis.... His brilliance as a theologian radiates." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"Sacks believes that Islamic violence, like Jewish and Christian violence, flows from a misunderstanding of sacred text. In Not in God's Name he illuminates a wiser faith and a gentler God. It's a perceptive, poignant, and beautifully written book." ( The Wall Street Journal)
"A remarkable exploration of the reasons behind religious violence and solutions for stopping it.... A humane, literate, and sincere book, one with something truly new to say." ( Kirkus Reviews)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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best book ever

one of the most important books of our time. he gets to heart of what the problem really amounts to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This book should be mandatory reading

I have read this book once and listened to this Audible book. Words can’t express how I feel about Rabbi Sacks. I’ve never read or heard anything from him that wasn’t excellent and much of it mind stretching. But this book tops them all in my opinion. If we would all read and then apply what we have read this world would be a much better place to live.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Hard reading yet powerful.

Slightly hard to understand during the first initial reading but holds a very powerful meaning.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Informative

The book starts out telling about wars & such, but not in a boring way. Then, it goes into history of people, why we’ve come to the point of hatred, etc. I learned a lot of excellent information about mankind, how we operate, Jewish history, etc. Excellent book.

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The Answer to Terror and Hate

This is a compelling and coherent argument against preaching hate as religion. It shows that no tradition stemming from Abraham could believe or justify fratricide. It is a call to our better angels.