Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Jonathan Sacks

“Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Jonathan Sacks

This wouldn’t normally be the type of book I would pick up, but the title intrigued me. The book was also on sale, so the rest is history now.

Rabbi Sacks makes theological arguments using scriptures and philosophers to make his various points of why we shouldn’t do violence unto others to convert them or because ‘our holy book’ tells us so. I really enjoyed the theological arguments he made, and learned a great deal about different Bible stories, and his interpretation of them. It’s great how he picks out the original Hebrew translations of certain parts of the bible to bring out the more nuanced meaning of some verses that seem to have been muddled over time.

I’m not sure I agree with his societal predictions or thinking, but they are certainly interesting. He believes there will be more, and more religious violence in the future. Religious groups have more babies than atheists (True I believe!). Western Liberal Democracy’s have abdicated the morals they used to espouse which leads people to search out for their own ‘tribe’, whether this be religion, or ISIS, or an Alt-Right groups.

I also found it galling that a book about religious violence, written by a Jewish rabbi, made absolutely no mention of the religious violence that has been occurring in Palestine/Jerusalem/the West Bank for the last 70+ years. The fighting over the temple in Jerusalem between the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith. He didn’t mention how Israel is dispossessing Palestinians of their land and rights inch by inch and committing slow genocide with their settle colonialism. He did mention that most anti-semite’s use anti-Zionism as cover for their anti-semitism. Ha! That’s the same line Israel uses to cover up their crimes. The Holocaust is still in recent memory and Israel is doing this to another people? Shame on them.

It was a bit hard to take Sacks seriously at times with this major omission. He talked a lot about antisemitism, which he argued was the easiest example to draw an example of religious violence, and a lot about Islamic fundamentalists though.

Rabbi Sacks should re-read this verse from the bible and contemplate on the religious violence the Israeli/Jewish state is commiting:

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye. *Luke 6:42, New King James Version

The real title of this book should be Not in God’s Name: Confronting (non Jewish) Religious Violence.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #93 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge #BookReview #Books #JonathanSacks #NonFiction #Religion”,

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