Is Religion Dangerous? Paperback – 1 Sep 2006
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This book, unlike many religious books, is very clearly written. I wish I could explain myself as clearly as he does. I think a good way to approach the book could be to regard it as a series of essays on topics such as Life after Death, Morality and the Bible, and Faith and Reason, which can be read independently of each other. -- Christopher Vane The Lance --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Keith Ward is one of Britain's foremost philosopher-theologians. Former Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford and Joint President of the World Congress of Faiths, he is now Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London and a Fellow of the British Acadamy. He is also a well-known broadcaster and author of over twenty books, including God: A Guide for the Perplexed, and Pascal's Fire: Scientific Faith and Religious Understanding.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a short book written to set some relatively straight forward but forgotten or misinterpreted facts in their right place. In light of the fashionable debate between atheists and religous figures about the danger of religious belief (refer to Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins for the atheist perspective), this is a very welcome sober contribution. Religion is not so easy to reduce to the status of a dangerous superstition, it turns out.
Framed simply, how is religion dangerous? If your first answer harks back to the Crusades, there's something in this book for you for sure. Though the value of Ward's work here shines through beyond that.
Having recently heard Ward speak on his promotional tour, I found out that he is an open and smart man. He speaks and writes clearly for the masses, which is valuable in itself, regardless of his conclusions, which incidentally aren't too far off the mark.
If you've been seduced by Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennet, give this a go. It won't cost you much, and it will certainly give you an alternative perspective. This is a defence of religion without asking you to convert. It is therefore a smart, ballsy and much needed addition to the ongoing theist - anti-theist debate.
I liked the way that he drew examples from all aspects of life and history - Christianity, Islam, Nazi Germany, the Crusades, Iraq, Quakers, Buddhism and more. This wide-ranging look at the world and the religions that are part of it, their history and form today and ways in which their followers can be dangerous was excellently portrayed.
His conclusion - that it's the human within the religion that is dangerous, not the religion itself - is perhaps not a surprise but his masterly arguments are well worth reading. A useful book to encourage thought and dialogue within Christianity and other religions.
I soon warmed to the author with his frank admission that Christianity has perpetrated some horrors in the past. This openness strikes me as an important basis for dialogue. It is refreshing not to encounter a defensive attitude.
This was balanced by times when I felt I was being subjected to a sales pitch for the author's version of a moderate, loving and reasonable Christianity. Some sections did have the feel of a personal credo.
He draws out an interesting contrast between Nazism and religions in that religions contain something which is potentially self-correcting where Nazism did not. Whereas Nazism was never likely to change its spots, religious atrocities might, potentially, be stopped from within.
At other points in the book I was reminded of the oft repeated phrase, `Communism is fine in theory but it doesn't work in practice.' I think it was Karl Popper who pointed out that this isn't really possible. If a theory doesn't work in practice then it was a poor theory to start with!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is unlikely that this or any other book on this subject will sway anyone at either ends of the belief spectrum. Read morePublished on 16 May 2009 by pauljimmyn