Not in God's Name
: There are many conflicts around the world at present which claim to be in the name of God - in Iraq, in Syria, in Gaza, as well as elsewhere. However, Rabbi Lord Sacks argues forcefully that a true understanding...
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There are many conflicts around the world at present which claim to be in the name of God - in Iraq, in Syria, in Gaza, as well as elsewhere. However, Rabbi Lord Sacks argues forcefully that a true understanding of religion will enable and inspire us to bring peace, not war - that far from leaving religion on the sidelines, we must put it at the heart of our peacemaking efforts.
From Darwinian evolution to game theory, Sacks shows how the common human problem - that we pass on our genes as individuals, but can only survive in groups - drives a tendency to violence which can subvert even the most loving of religions; but as he explores the biblical stories that underpin monotheism he uncovers the hidden truth that even as God establishes his own chosen people, so his sympathies and his protection are as much or more upon the losers and the apparently disadvantaged.
As we see the world moving not - as so many western philosophers, historians and politicians alike had predicted - towards ever-increasing secularism, but instead a new age of religious enthusiasm, Jonathan Sacks' key argument is that we cannot any longer rely on government to keep the peace.
What is needed is for those of all religions is to find new ways to fight the violent tendencies we see in our own particular religion and to recognise the over-riding imperative to love those who are not like us - because only when refracted through the imperfect lenses of our lives and actions can the divine peace we all long for be brought to pass.
Sir Jonathan Sacks is Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Britain and the Commonwealth. He is the author of numerous books, including Celebrating Life, From Optimism to Hope, The Persistence of Faith and The Dignity of Difference, for which he won a Grawemeyer Award in Religion.