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The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Condensed and Updated Edition (Psychology, Religion & Spirituality) [Hardcover]

J. Harold Ellens
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 May 2007 Psychology, Religion & Spirituality
Whether they fly airplanes into the World Trade Center or Pentagon; blow up ships, ports, and federal buildings, kill doctors and nurses at abortion clinics, exterminate contemporary Palestinians, or kill Israeli soldiers with suicide bombs, destructive religionists are all shaped by the same unconscious apocalyptic metaphors, and by the divine example and imperative to violence. In this condensed edition of a multivolume set covering how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all incorporate core metaphors that can spur violence, experts explain religious notions that fuel terrorism and other horrific actions. The contributors warn that until destructive metaphors are removed from the Western psyche, an end to religious violence will not be possible. Hailed in reviews as unsettling but thought-provoking, compelling, and critical coverage, the set from which these chapters were drawn has a core theme that demonstrates the three major religions share the ancient notion that history and the human soul are caught in a cosmic conflict between good and evil, or God and devil, which cannot be resolved without violence, a cataclysmic final solution such as the extermination of nations, the execution of humans, or even the death of God's own son. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote, This is a groundbreaking work with tremendous insight.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; Condensed and Updated Ed edition (30 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275997081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275997083
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,822,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Recommended for collections missing the earlier set." - Library Journal "The four-volume mother volume was published in 2004, when the Iraq war was about to end, and peace hovered low over the Middle East eager to settle her soft wings at last. Desmond Tutu has contributed a testimony to these 16 selected and updated essays on the history and practice of institutionalized violence by the Children of Abraham." - Reference & Research Book News

About the Author

J. Harold Ellens is a Research Scholar at the University of Michigan, Department of Near Eastern Studies. He is a retired Presbyterian theologian and ordained minister, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, and a retired Professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Edition 17 Aug 2013
By Foxy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed by the poor quality of the paper used in this book, a book costing 25 should be printed on decent paper.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be required reading 22 Nov 2011
By Alan Sondheim - Published on Amazon.com
I generally don't review Amazon.com books but I couldn't let the first review stay. The four volume set is absolutely critical today for an understanding of the relationship between monotheisms and violence; Bishop Tutu wrote an introduction to it. It's not anti-religion; it does point out inconsistencies in various religious texts, as well as violent passages, that may be interpreted as call to action. Too much has been done in the name of religion, of course. I found one of the essays, dealing with Jesus' Third Way, particularly useful for the practical philosophy of nonviolence and amorphous action (such as occurs in the current Occupy Wall Street encounters). I think these books should be required reading in the United States, where religion is used for everything from hate crimes to anti-Gay legislation. In any case, give them a read and decide for yourself. I'm glad a one-volume edition has come out; the price is prohibitive for many people, for the four-volume set.
3 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absurd Islamic misdirection 26 Aug 2011
By Opera Ghost - Published on Amazon.com
The implication that since "all the 'children of Abraham" have committed violence, all three "Abrahamic" religions -- Christianity, Judaism, and Islam -- are morally and theologically equal and equally likely to inspire violence is absurd.

First, only Islam's "sacred" texts contain open-ended, universal commands to "kill the pagans wherever you find them" (Qur'an 9:5). Nowhere will you find Moses or His Christ commanding the faithful to war against Gentiles to make the world Israel.

Second, the phrase "children of Abraham" accepts implicitly the lie that Muhammad and his followers have been telling for more than a millennium in order to get Christians and Jews to convert and non-Muslims in general to let their guard down. After all, if Islam is just like Christianity and Judaism, then it is just as innocuous. But even virulent Christ-haters put the lie to that fantasy, attacking only Jews and Christians but not Muslims, proving by their actions that they too recognize the real threat.

That threat is Islam.

The God of the Bible is in no way Muhammad's vile "deity," since Christ committed no sin, spoke only the truth, healed the sick, raised the dead, died for the sins of the whole world, and resurrected, commanding His followers to love even their enemies.

On the other hand, Muhammad "sacralized" the violation of all Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, preaching and practicing genocide, pedophilia, rape, slavery, torture, mutilation, theft, extortion, polygyny, wife-beating, religious and gender apartheid, deceit, treason, and blasphemy, claiming that, "Allah made me do it, and you will too, or else!"

If Muslims were Abraham's spiritual descendants, they would do what Abraham did rather than emulate Muhammad's vile example.
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