Dangerous Religious Ideas: The Deep Roots of Self-Critical Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Beacon. Nov. 2020. 264p. ISBN 9780807051870. $28. REL
how all three monotheistic faiths affirm ideas that can be dangerous and frequently cause significant damage to societies at large, Mikva (Chicago Theological Seminary) argues that certain concepts found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be used either for evil or for good. She specifically focuses on three dangerous religious ideas: ones associated with scripture, election, and justice. She examines how the religions have interpreted their scripture and traditions throughout history, and finds that all three of them often have multiple interpretations of this material, with some of them affirming more aggressive behavior, and others not. Mikva explores how scriptural texts came to be understood, and believes each religion contains resources to combat the negative interpretations, and an important part of this is developing ongoing critical self-assessment. The religions then, in similar ways, could address current social problems related to such areas as intolerance, inequity, injustice, and oppression.
VERDICT Those interested in scriptural interpretation, monotheistic religions, and interfaith dialog will find this book to be highly informative, well-researched, and relevant to contemporary culture.
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