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Not in God's Name

Confronting Religious Violence
Narrated by: Jonathan Sacks
Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

Non-member price: $39.02

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Publisher's Summary

Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the 21st century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God.

In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency toward violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.

This book is a rebuke to all those who kill in the name of the God of life, wage war in the name of the God of peace, hate in the name of the God of love and practise cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.

For the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare: Not in God's Name.

©2016 Jonathan Sacks (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

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  • Eve
  • 21-03-2019

Wonderful, insightful and greatly needed in today’s climate

Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, has done a tremendous job of advocating for peace and tolerance in our world - regardless of faith and belief. Sadly as I was reading (listening to) this book, the NZ terror attack occurred, shortly followed by one in Holland. It struck home that this book is greatly needed in today’s climate. Rabbi Sacks does a brilliant job of linking the holy texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam together. Clearly as a rabbi he is Jewish, but he does not admonish the other monotheist faiths, rather embraces them respectfully in an eloquent manner. The first part of the book focuses not only on biblical texts but also on contemporary sociology, psychology and evolutionary theories. He has clearly studied, collated and understood key contemporary texts and weaved them into his book. The second part focuses on sibling rivalry found in the Torah and he provides really insightful and sometimes surprising interpretations of these biblical stories we are all familiar with. It was this part I enjoyed most. Rabbi Sacks also examines hatred and terrorism and uses anti-semitism as an example. I don’t think he needs to apologise for using this (he does several times in his book). Anti-semitism is an ongoing and extremely problematic issue and one that has been present in most, if not all, societies for thousands of years. Sadly, we find that what happens to the Jewish People, will often happen to other nations/groups later on. History has shown this. The book really does make you question your self talk and your own prejudices. He encourages us to see each other as human and not “us” and “them”. He argues that faith in G-d should unite us and we can embrace difference. I know I’ve caught my thoughts recently and self talking - why do I think that about group X? Why do I feel that about group Y? Overall, I think this is a well-researched, thorough and meaningful book that I would highly recommend! I am looking forward to the Audible book release of Morality also by Rabbi Sacks soon!

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One of the best books I have listened to

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I thoroughly enjoyed this audible book.
Fairly new to Girardian though as well and this just put the icing on the cake so to speak.
I loved the Jewishness, history and wisdom as also the stories of the other.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Not in God's Name?

The concept of meta-narrative and subversion to sibling rivalry.
Inclusion and otherness as paramount to us moving forward.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

That Egypt is your brother. Wow!

Any additional comments?

Beautiful book, one I have gifted already three times to others. I would say that for me it is the best book I have read or listened to.

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  • Haim Shalom
  • 18-03-2020

Sacks does it again.

One of our generations most sensible and clear sighted jewish thinkers takes a look at religion and violence. Dafka his presentation of the more general issues around the human urge to violence are better than the Jewish bits, because he's trying to do too much by showing the Jewish tradition in light of his liberal values. But it's all great.

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  • Carôle
  • 16-07-2016

Informative, Enlightening and Worth Re-reading

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book - an apologetics based dissertation I think. But although it could be read as such, it is a much deeper, historic and educational document covering so many aspects (factual and perception) of the Abrahamic faiths, that are of interest to anyone who is a believer of those 3 faiths as well as Atheists, Agnostics and New Agers!

I have listened to it in its entirety 1 ½ times. I intend to listen to it again, and I'm minded to purchase the Kindle edition, because there are SO MANY quotable quotes, that are on point and worthy of repeating.

This is a very current edition, up to 2015, so it's very relevant to today's events. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Everyone should hear it.

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  • Michael Allen
  • 01-10-2019

Theologically dishonest.

We don't really need any more books about religious violence... One needs only look at the news. What one does need in a book like this is honesty and self reflection. The author, himself jewish, lectures endlessly about the evils of Islam and Christianity but neglects to mention the historic and modern violence of the jewish people... People who, incidentally sew the seeds of dualism into their own religion by regarding themselves as superior to non jews whom they call goy (cattle). When today the Gaza strip looks like the Warsaw ghetto while Israel is shielded from criticism by the US. Armed to the teeth with illegally held nuclear weapons and stirring up trouble throughout the entire middle east I am expected to join the author in an 11 hour 'petty the poor jew' party. This level of dishonesty is absolutely breathtaking and completely negates the rest of the books content. So in the unlikely event that Audible actually publish this review I would strongly advise you to save your money. Because I certainly wish I had.

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 04-04-2017

Important book, wise and timely

Jonathan Sacks has a marvellous voice. Loved it on the radio, said I could listen for hours. Now I have. He is a man of broad learning and on matters ecumenical he is always intelligent, considered and persuasive.
This analysis of the causes of violence executed "in the name of God", as well as in pursuit of a pseudo-religious ideology is convincing, wide-ranging, and sometimes surprising.
Unfortunately this book will not be read by fundamentalists of any stripe, and militant atheists will continue to regard people of faith as culpable of every atrocity in history (including those of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao, maybe even Attila the Hun and Nero) on the basis of a disingenuous reading of the Bible.
Sacks makes a sound case for human diversity, for the wisdom of avoiding hatred of former oppressors (Moses tells the Israelites not to bear rancour against Egyptians), and rejecting hatred, which destroys the hater more than the hated. He draws on 3000 years of history, psychology, ethnology, philosophy, writings from Jewish, Christian and Islamic sources, recent events, to inform where things went wrong, are still going wrong and point out that all these horrors are human failures, for which God weeps.

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  • CAM
  • 21-03-2017

Brilliant and thought provoking

This is an excellent book that provides us with a thoughtful insight into the relationships of the Abrahamic faiths, where it all started and how we are affected today by the decisions and consequences of those in the book of Genesis. Jonathan Sachs challenges our preconceived ideas and brings to our attention how we might respond better to our brothers and sisters in the world today.

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  • Krzysztof-Pietro Pawel Matejak
  • 21-12-2016

highly recommended

highly recommended for anyone who is questioning our current times and the state the world is in.

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  • Dr J
  • 08-03-2018

Exceptional book from an exceptional man.

This is arguably the most important book of this century, written by the most coherent moral voice of our time.